Written by terrahomme.global
Published in general topics

the basics

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using your favourite search engine, like google or bing for instance, you will be able to find legions of already published and (most probably) legally above board examples of policy documents covering diversity & inclusion aspects.

having said that though, we first want to highlight some aspects that we find essential to the foundation of a diversity & inclusion policy. i think in the older days as companies were just organisations concentrating on their cost business, it was sort of assumed that policies, guidelines and ordinances would 'evolve' when the actual need for such a document would actually present itself.

well, the world - and especially the business world - has evolved into a complex system with regulations, human resource nightmares and last, but least the change in the composition of the workforce. it was unthinkable that lgbt individuals could proclaim their 'alternative' lifestyle in the 1950's. back then it was all about 'sound family values', accepted partnership constellations (meaning being married, having children, etc,) and definitely not publicly acknowledging one's sexual preferences to any work colleague.

during the evolvement process - and the external pressure from external non-profit organisations (no names mentioned) - "businesses need to make a firm commitment and take action." we have compiled a summarised section to could assist and give guidance to build a strong foundation for diversity & inclusion within the organisation.

the role of leadership/management

as with most processes, plans, projects or initiatives, if there is no leadership role defined, the initiative is most likely to end up in some paper shredder at best. building and sustaining a diverse workforce is not the responsibility of one specific person within the organisation, but rather a shared responsibility, where buy-in on all levels of management (including line management) is adamant. management has to lead by example (i know it's a cliche, but an appropriate one) and make a definite commitment to diversity & inclusion in the organisation. getting the buy-in from decision makers (parts 1 & 2) can be nerve-wracking, but not impossible.

managers need a solid understanding and perception of the various cultures, sexual identification, religious traditions and of course the pressures associated with employees in certain 'advanced' age groups represented in their teams/environment to eliminate any stereotypes or preconceptions. open communication always offer a door for discussion bout different topics and help team members better understand the unique complexity/composition within the team, the benefits associated with having a diverse workforce, which then prompts discussion as to how these attributes can be incorporated into the work environment.

boards of directors, senior management teams and often middle-management need to set the tone and ensure that their own behavioural ethics are aligned with the published organisational values and missions. organisations' ability to attract, retain and support diverse employees also reflects the way the organisation is able to approach diversity & inclusion more broadly - with internal groups, a single point of contact and the assurance of anonymity.

following the introduction and the role of leadership/management in implementing a diversity & inclusion policy, the next step would be getting the ball rolling. senior management can initiate and facilitate the initial review/investigation of current diversity & inclusion statements, policies and challenges within the organisation. a quick analysis can be made by asking the following questions:

  • what is the composition of communities we serve? who are our clients?
  • what is the constellation and characteristics of the community we work in?
  • if, and how, has the organisation changed/evolved over the last five years?
  • which organisational changes are foreseen in the near and distant future?
  • if and how do our workforce/employees reflect the communities we work in and work with?
  • does our interpretation and implementation of d & i comply with country laws and guidelines?
  • are specific activities necessary to encourage d & i to ensure a safe and supportive environment?
  • does management share information about d & i within the organisation?
  • are previous d & i initiatives monitored and/or measured to be used as business intelligence?
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