Over the last few months, I have spent some time reflecting on what I have learned throughout my life and career. On my YouTube channel I have published a series of my reflections on the importance of everything from being who you say you are to compassion and understanding.
It has often surprised me how organizations repeatedly forget that every customer helps form a diverse audience. These individuals will all have something unique about them. If your company lacks a diversity of thought, how can it expect to genuinely serve such a diverse audience?
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are all topics very close to my heart. I have seen many organizations with the best intentions that want to be known as diversity inclusion leaders. But they often learn the hard way that it’s not as simple as implementing a training program or any half-hearted cookie-cutter approach.
Organizations need to understand why they are embarking on the journey before thinking about the next steps. Rather than rushing into solution mode, they should begin by simply listening to the diverse voices within their organization. These are just a few reasons why I advise leadership teams to use the voice of their employees to really gauge the proper direction of their organization.
Only by listening and looking beyond the four walls of your boardroom can you begin to define what diversity means in your organization. The process can easily be kickstarted by taking a cultural audit via a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging survey. The results will enable you to gather the essential themes from your employees and drive meaningful change forward together with a strategic plan.
Remember, creating a diverse and inclusive culture is a journey, not a destination. Your focus should be on continuous improvement rather than perfection. But you cannot achieve any of your goals with departmental silos. Your organizational journey of self-discovery requires every employee at every level to come together.
Your customers want to do business with people who look, and sound like them. In 2021 and beyond, every organization will need to be as diverse as its audience to thrive and survive in an increasingly competitive environment. A diverse workforce where everyone feels included and enjoys a sense of belonging will not only transform your culture, it will improve your business too.
Transforming diversity, inclusion, and belonging within your organization is not going to happen overnight. It will take time and careful planning. But the ROI of this initiative can drive innovation, increase creativity, make recruitment easier, and prevent a high turnover of staff. It’s time to think bigger and enable your teams to collectively unlock the endless opportunities available.
Every organization has access to a globalized economy that never sleeps. To appeal to a broader customer base, teams will need to embrace their entire audience’s diverse insights, experiences, and worldviews, not just a small percentage of those. It’s not just about being fair. It’s about being business smart too.
You can explore all of the themes discussed in this article and more in my Friday Reflections on my YouTube channel.