By Robin Pedrelli In most organizations, diversity and inclusion is best approached with a top-down, bottom-up strategy. While it’s imperative that D&I efforts are...

By Robin Pedrelli

Robin Pedrelli, co-founder and partner of VisionSpring, Inc

Robin Pedrelli,
co-founder and partner of VisionSpring, Inc

In most organizations, diversity and inclusion is best approached with a top-down, bottom-up strategy. While it’s imperative that D&I efforts are supported by the CEO and actively engages leaders, one cannot discount the impact of employee involvement. Engaging employees at all levels is the most effective way to reach critical mass and communicate the import of diveristy and inclusion. Often employees are eager to join in the process but lack the know-how and confidence to take action. It is important to let employees know that there are many ways to contribute and support D&I efforts and does not necessarily require expertise in the field.

This article offers some concrete tips that are designed to engage employees at all levels within the organization. Remember it is important to commit to the process, value the thoughts and ideas of everyone, and celebrate along the way.

How Employees Can Support Diversity and Inclusion

  1. Know the diversity goals and vision of your organization and its connection to the overall business objectives. Commit to the process by understanding how diversity impacts your role, and how your role impacts the success of the diversity initiative.
  2. Participate in employee engagement surveys and respond as openly and honestly as possible. Finding an internal champion with whom you can comfortably express concerns and/or elicit advice can be instrumental in supporting your efforts.
  3. Actively engage in the diversity effort. You can take part in or start an Employee Resource Group, or volunteer to chair or serve on committees that organize diversity-related events and activities. Consider becoming a mentor, mentee, or part of a co-mentoring relationship. These activities require a commitment of time, but represent a valuable opportunity for personal and professional development.
  4. Become culturally competent. Take the time to learn about different cultures, races, religions and backgrounds represented by your colleagues. Ask your coworkers to share some of the customs and practices associated with their cultures. Become familiar with diversity-related terms and, if you err, apologize and ask for help.
  5. Treat people in a way they wish to be treated rather than the way you wish to be treated. Common social activities and practices that are comfortable for you may not be comfortable for everyone. Do not tell offensive jokes that may alienate those who are different from you — even if they are not present at the time. Most importantly, be respectful always. Diversity exists everywhere — not just in the office. Take these diversity principles into your community and your home.
  6. Drive positive change in the organization. Be a spokesperson for diversity issues that are not necessarily your own. Any organization will find it difficult to ignore the powerful voice created when groups representing different diversity dimensions unite.
  7. Welcome ideas that are different from your own, and support fellow teammates. The creativity that comes with diversity can help you generate new ideas or improve a process already in place. It can also make work more interesting, engaging, and fun.
  8. Understand the diversity elements you personally bring to the organization. Diversity comes not only in the form of culture, race, and gender but also includes elements such as socio-economic background, education level, geographic location, sexual orientation, thought, and many others. Each of us brings to the table a lifetime of experiences and knowledge. Each of us is different and adds value to the organization because of these differences.
  9. Commit to continuous improvement. Be willing to learn, accept feedback, and listen to the concerns of those around you. Even the most enlightened individual can find opportunities for growth.
  10. Communicate and educate. Diversity work is a journey, not a destination. It takes time, patience, and perseverance. Be tolerant of coworkers who do not yet appreciate the value of diversity or who may not always behave respectfully. Often, negative behavior comes from ignorance rather than malice. A willingness to educate can go along way.

Robin Pedrelli is the co-founder and partner of VisionSpring, Inc. VisionSpring, Inc. is a WBENC certified, women owned and operated diversity and inclusion consulting firm offering fully integrated strategy development, workforce planning, training and continuous learning solutions to leverage diversity and inclusion to drive innovation and improved business outcomes. We provide customized strategic solutions that address the specific needs of each client and blend workforce, workplace, marketplace and community related goals.

  • university assignment help

    October 10, 2014 #2 Author

    However, several students missing admission in order to their Dream College as well as university but not buying the essential attention to write down That essay, a admission essay.

    Reply

  • Harold M. Frost, III, Ph.D.

    October 27, 2014 #3 Author

    Thank
    you, Ms. Robin Pedrelli, for your Guest Blog. Unfortunately it does not mention
    “disability” or the “disabled” as a component of the
    D&I spectrum. And, mention of disability at the web
    site as accessed today (October 27, 2014) for your company VisionSpring, Inc.
    was limited to its
    online calendar for “FEBRUARY 2013 – CULTURAL COMPETENCE,” viz.,
    Articles/White Papers on “Including People with Disabilities in D&I
    Efforts,” plus Research on “Costs and Benefits of Workers with
    Disabilities” and “Effective Strategies to Recruit and Retain Employees
    with Disabilities.” To integrate disability, especially mental
    disability, into your article, perhaps your approach #10 would be where to
    start, such as with communicating with and educating those who initially are
    unwilling to work with the disabled or with certain categories of the disabled,
    with disability being understood, for example, in terms of U.S. statutory laws
    like the ADA of 1990 and the ADAAA of 2008, plus the corresponding provisions in the CFR.

    Reply

    • Suryi

      October 1, 2019 #4 Author

      I believe this entry is outdated, the law has been dramatically changed thru time my friend.
      To integrate disability, especially mental
      disability, into your article, perhaps your approach #10 would be where to
      start, such as with communicating with and educating those who initially are
      unwilling to work with the disabled or with certain categories of the disabled,
      with disability being understood, for example, in terms of U.S. statutory laws
      like the ADA of 1990 and the ADAAA of 2008, plus the corresponding provisions in the CFR.

      Reply

  • EssayTrust

    July 3, 2015 #5 Author

    Once an organization has successfully modified their recruitment and hiring practices to reach a more diverse audience, the next step is to successfully engage and support them as employees.

    Reply

  • Carlene Forbes

    October 26, 2018 #6 Author

    Why bother with the notion of inclusiveness and I say notion because the newly appointed Judge will soon tear it down with guidance from #45. Any strides made will soon disappear.

    Reply

  • SaraDVL

    December 10, 2018 #7 Author

    For diversity practices to be successful, you also need to facilitate an inclusive work culture.

    Reply

  • JOE JOHNSON

    December 26, 2018 #8 Author

    Does anyone there know that the root word for diversity is DIVIDE ? This is truly a divided or diverse country. We are divided by color of the skin, language, religion and culture. Diversity is not what made this country great it was Unity. Comments from a black perspective.

    Reply

  • Paul Rudewicz

    August 15, 2019 #9 Author

    Unfortunately, my experience in diversity resulted in off shoring and loss of jobs locally. That was easily predicted by the employees but the management lied and many lost jobs. Diversity is only the beginning of off shoring and job losses, layoffs etc.

    Reply

  • Tutorialogue

    August 19, 2019 #10 Author

    Diversity on unity

    Reply

  • Behl

    October 1, 2019 #11 Author

    Being culturally competent is I think the most practical for me, I've been working with the most diversified work place in the country and this what works best.

    Reply

    • Scotty

      October 28, 2019 #12 Author

      Communicating with and educating those who initially are
      unwilling to work with the disabled or with certain categories of the disabled,
      with disability being understood, for example, in terms of U.S. statutory laws.

      Reply

  • Scotty

    October 16, 2019 #13 Author

    Treat people in a way they wish to be treated rather than the way you wish to be treated. Common social activities and practices that are comfortable for you may not be comfortable for everyone. Do not tell offensive jokes that may alienate those who are different from you — even if they are not present at the time. Most importantly, be respectful always. Diversity exists everywhere — not just in the office. Take these diversity principles into your community and your home.

    Reply

  • pauline patrick

    October 16, 2019 #14 Author

    Actively engage in the diversity effort. You can take part in or start an Employee Resource Group, or volunteer to chair or serve on committees that organize diversity-related events and activities. Consider becoming a mentor, mentee, or part of a co-mentoring relationship. These activities require a commitment of time, but represent a valuable opportunity for personal and professional development.

    Reply

  • Cleopatra Pamesa

    October 22, 2019 #15 Author

    If we couldn’t measure the impact of our diversity and inclusion efforts and programs, it would be a hard sell among company executives.

    Reply

  • Oliver

    November 4, 2019 #16 Author

    One way to build awareness of diversity and foster greater inclusivity is to be aware of and acknowledge a variety of upcoming religious and cultural holidays. When closing out a team call or meeting, if the audience isn’t too large, ask how people plan to celebrate the holiday. Use your company’s intranet to help employees be aware of and keep track of multicultural religious or holiday celebrations. Be respectful of these days when scheduling meetings, and understand that employees may have different needs and require flexibility.

    Reply

  • Kelsey Freimark

    November 6, 2019 #17 Author

    Diversity has always been an issue for some people especially in the workplace. It does not seem like people welcome different culture into their lives because it is different from theirs. As someone who loves to learn about new cultures and loves to indulge in new atmospheres, it is easy and exciting to meet new people who are different from myself. I think the ways you have addressed would help so much if that instance came along, however, including diversity in a business' agenda is not always the case.

    Reply

  • Dave Slate

    November 10, 2019 #18 Author

    Our recommendation for people who do survive the first day and then week, is to see through a whole year before making any decisions about whether to stay in the long-term. It is important to experience a full cycle of the business and its operations.

    Similarly, the very early days in your own new business have many pressures, excitements and issues with which to deal. We have been there and are thriving; we can help you address the pressing problems and open closed doors.

    Reply

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