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4 Ways Organizations Can Support Diversity Efforts Beyond Training

4 Ways Organizations Can Support Diversity Efforts Beyond Training

There’s no question that your organization can and should expand its diversity and inclusion efforts beyond a yearly training. As the HR administrator, it’s up to your discretion to consider the size and dynamics of your team to determine the best way to communicate with employees on workplace discrimination and promote diversity. Read on for a few actionable ways for employers to get started.


Working to Understand Workplace Discrimination

According to recent survey data from Clutch, a B2B ratings & reviews firm, “employees see racism and discrimination as an issue at workplaces in the U.S.—but not at their workplaces.” With that in mind, the survey also indicated that Black workers are more likely to see racism and discrimination as an issue in their own company or organization. 

Where does this discrepancy come from, and what can employers do to eliminate racism and other forms of discrimination within their places of work?

Discrimination comes in many forms. If overt, it’s more easily recognized as outright bigotry, and can include the use of slurs and explicitly targeting a group of people as a source of ridicule. Covert or aversive discrimination can be much subtler, but no less offensive. Understanding each is key to addressing issues and implementing meaningful change. The American Psychology Association (APA) lists a number of these types of insults for further reference. 

Anton Gunn, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama and leading authority on Socially Conscious Leadership, discussed reasons why organizations don’t address diversity and inclusion efforts at BerniePortal’s user conference Weekdays with Bernie. He pointed out that most of the time, organizations don’t know how to address these issues, they don’t have the tools or resources, leaders don’t have the time, and/or the organization is stuck.


Actionable Strategies to Promote Diversity Within Your Organization

While in no way an exhaustive list, here are a few actionable ideas to promote diversity within your organization:

  1. Get Involved with Historically Black Universities and Cultural Groups: Organizations can help diverse hiring strategies by participating in career fairs and cultural events, as well as developing relationships with career counselors at historically Black universities. Likewise, getting involved with different nonprofits and cultural associations in your city can help your organization’s diversity efforts as well. 
  2. Reevaluate Business Services and Subscriptions: Organizations should try looking at what businesses they support in their day-to-day operations and determine whether or not there’s an opportunity to support Black- and minority-owned businesses. For example, if you’re searching for a new vendor or business service, search for a Black or women-owned businesses to support.
  3. Audit Your Hiring Process: According to SHRM, research reported by Harvard Business Review indicates that “unconscious racism, ageism, and sexism play a big role in whom we hire.” The Harvard Business Review also recommends a few ways to combat these biases, including seeking to understand hiring prejudices, working to update language in job descriptions, and standardizing candidate interviews. 
  4. Actively Review Internal Policies: Are there policies in your employee handbook that are outdated or don’t properly address discrimination? Stay up-to-date—and request consultation if necessary—to ensure that your own practices align with the changes that you’re committed to making. Note: If you don’t have an anti-harassment policy, we strongly recommend that you develop one and use the following blog as a guide.

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