WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU REALIZE YOU’RE NOT DIVERSE?
WELL OF COURSE YOU’RE NOT but there is no need to panic. Whatever it is you’re doing, stop, calm down, grab some bourbon (because it’s the answer to most problems) and take a deep breath. The reality is, that although we’re all talking about diversity, and although we’ve been talking about if for some time now, unfortunately, many companies aren’t truly diverse organizations. Not because they don’t want to be or they’re resisting change, but rather because change doesn’t happen all at once. It happens slowly and over time, and ripping out every white, able bodied individual in your business is not really going to help anyone. Not to mention, when we talk about diversity we’re not just talking about gender and race, but socio-economic backgrounds, sexuality and disabilities to name a few. The answer instead, is to take a look at your business and start implementing change now that will ready your company for diversity, to both attract and retain it. Here’s a few things you could start with:
KNOW YOUR BIAS
Everyone has bias whether we like it or not. We’re all products of our environment and the societies we grew up, so it’s natural that some of those hooks will be ingrained in us. It is knowing where your bias lies that is the first step to doing anything about it. You can only fix a problem once you know what it is. Harvard university developed a test to pinpoint a person’s unconscious bias and understand it and it’s worth getting everyone in your business, especially hiring managers, to take the test so they can start understanding and combatting their own inherent bias. Awareness is always the first step towards action.
This might be interview process or onboarding, or even internal policy. Without structure there is often room for personal bias to come into the equation and change behaviors. With set procedures for everyone, it eliminates things like likability factor.
Stagnant and similar environments often breed a reluctance to interact with anyone outside of that environment, so constantly switch things up for your employees. That might be through social or CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) work, but constantly have them move out of their comfort zone and into spaces with people they might not normally come into contact with. It’s also a great way to keep your team engaged and motivated.
HAVE MORE THAN ONE DECISION MAKER
Absolute power corrupts absolutely, we all know the saying and it’s no different for the business world. Which is not to say you need to have two CEOs, definitely not, but involve more than one person in hiring decisions. You could have forums, peer groups or collective meetings that discuss big company moves and even your hiring cycle. Getting more people involved at these stages means you’re not always hiring someone that is an archetype of the person who hired them. Of course, we’re naturally drawn to people who look like us, talk like us and think like us, but that doesn’t mean they’re always the best person for the job. Having a circle of people with different opinions will dramatically reduce bias in your organization.