Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2017 - 13

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
DR. SHAWN ANDREWS

INCLUSIVE
WORKPLACE
PRACTICES
When it comes to diversity and inclusion
(D&I), having an aligned strategy is of
critical importance. D&I are essentially
standalone concepts. Is it possible to
have diversity without inclusion? Yes.
Is it possible to have inclusion without
diversity? Not likely.
Diversity is the collective mixture of
differences that includes individual and
organizational characteristics such as
values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds
and behaviors. Many workforces today are
diverse simply as a reflection of society.
However, inclusion is the achievement of a
work environment in which all individuals
are treated fairly and respectfully, have
equal access to opportunities and
resources, and can contribute fully to the
organization's success. Most companies
today are not very inclusive, and without
an aligned strategy, the two concepts will
not integrate.

THERE NEEDS TO BE
A DEEP CONVICTION
IN THE IMPORTANCE
OF INCLUSION.
Many organizations have created a
new executive position, Chief Diversity
Officer (CDO), with the sole responsibility
of promoting workforce diversity. These
CDOs are implementing comprehensive
programs to help their company
boost diverse recruitment, help those
employees advance, implement diversity
training, and even forge relationships with
diverse vendors.
These types of diversity efforts are
what's known as diversity management
- the voluntary organizational actions

designed to create greater inclusion of
employees from various backgrounds into
the formal and informal organizational
structures through deliberate policies and
programs. It's important to remember that
diversity representation in the workforce
is only the initial step toward workplace
inclusion. Inclusion reflects the extent
to which employees perceive that they
are part of the communication systems,
informal networks and decision-making
processes. Therefore, increasing diversity
representation and achieving inclusion
is a two-stage process with each stage
affecting the other in a circular way. The
first stage is reactive: Organizations are
recruiting and employing a more diverse
workforce. The second stage is proactive:
Organizations are investing efforts in
active diversity management with the
aim of enhancing inclusion and fostering
organization effectiveness.
Questions organizations should ask
themselves are, "Is our organizational
culture
inclusive
and
culturally
competent?"; and, "To what extent
are employees from different identity
groups participating in formal and
informal networks and actively involved
in the decision-making process?" For
organizations to become truly inclusive,
it is not enough that they have policies
and guidelines in place; there needs to
be a deep conviction in the importance
of inclusion. This level of commitment to
D&I can only come from the very top of
the organization.
Here are some inclusive workplace
practices that companies can apply to
their own workforces.
* Leadership involvement: Assign a
top executive to lead and sponsor the

diversity program, and create a
diversity council from various levels
within the organization.
* Performance and accountability:
Establish diversity goals, quotas and
metrics. Develop action plans to meet
the goals of the organization. Hold
managers accountable to these goals
by linking diversity performance to
compensation.
* Policies and procedures: Create a
diversity mission statement, antidiscrimination policies, corporate
values, and behavioral standards that
reflect D&I. Create HR policies that
offer flexible work arrangements to
accommodate diverse needs.
* Employee networks: Create affinity
or employee resource groups and
mentoring programs to empower
employees of diverse backgrounds, and
to provide opportunities and visibility.
* Education and training: Offer
unconscious bias or sensitivity training
workshops to increase diversity
awareness and skill building.
These practices provide opportunities
for the future of work, and for training
professionals, this is good news. More
programs and a focus on reaching
broader, more diverse audiences means
more training opportunities. And
training will continue to be an important
component in helping organizations
become more inclusive.
Dr. Shawn Andrews is CEO of Andrews
Research International. Her dissertation
research focused on leadership, emotional
intelligence, gender and unconscious bias in
the workplace. Email Shawn.

T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MA GAZ INE - STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT 20 1 7 I WWW. T RAI NINGINDU S T RY . C OM/ MAGAZ I NE

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