A diverse and inclusive workplace reflects a changing world and marketplace—and diverse teams bring high value to organizations. Diversity can be conceptualized in different ways depending on the context. When it comes to T-ROC, we conceptualize diversity as embracing the unique experiences, strengths, and ideas each employee brings to our workplace. I know diversity is a hot-button topic right now, and that’s for a good reason. People need to do a lot better. Here’s how we actively work to make T-ROC an inclusive workplace for our incredible team.
A lot of diversity “mistakes” happen because people aren’t as thoughtful as they could be. The solution boils down to education. As a leader, it is your responsibility to make sure your company is actively educating its employees about diversity and building an inclusive environment that celebrates differences rather than alienating them.
When we incorporate varied perspectives into our own and offer new ways of looking at other people’s points of view, we are helping to create an inclusive workplace. These differences can be along dimensions of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, socio-economic status, age, ability, religious or political beliefs, or other different ideologies.
Inclusivity and diversity should be a part of your organization’s onboarding and ongoing education. Create or expand training so that all employees understand and welcome multiple perspectives and ideas—you never know where you might find your next competitive advantage!
When evaluating diversity in your company, the most important people to turn to are the ones that live in your workplace culture day in and day out. At T-ROC, we have an inclusion committee that is made up of diverse individuals who have demonstrated an interest in helping us mold and craft our diversity awareness campaigns and communications. This group is made up of people from all different races, age groups, genders, and cultures. We rely heavily on them to help guide us in becoming a place that is better, smarter, faster, and more enjoyable to work.
To create an inclusion committee of your own, reach out to your employees with an open offer. Our inclusion committee runs the gamut of individuals, with black, white, Latin, men, women, disabled veterans, LGBTQ+ individuals, and more. Make sure you have a diverse group of individuals. Hold informal meetings regularly to review industry statistics, implement campaigns to celebrate diversity, discuss successful efforts at other companies, and most importantly, evaluate your own inclusion initiatives. As your committee grows, so will the variety of perspectives. Work as a group to define goals to drive your diversity and inclusion plan forward.
The twenty-first century workplace features much greater diversity than was common a few generations ago – and we need to keep an active focus on ensuring the workplace continues to diversify. People who might once have faced employment challenges because of religious beliefs, ability differences, or sexual orientation now regularly join their peers in interview pools and on the job. Each brings a new outlook and different information to the table; employees can no longer take for granted that their coworkers think the same way they do. This pushes them to question their own assumptions, expand their understanding, and appreciate alternate viewpoints.
The result is more creative ideas, approaches, and solutions. In fact, this type of diversity may also enhance corporate decision-making. This concept is similar to the reason companies hold important strategy meetings offsite, or why a change in pace can help you solve that problem you’ve been stuck on for days. New circumstances and environments are known to spark fresh ideas.
Diversity is not something to be afraid of, but something to celebrate and embrace. The more we listen to each other and work to understand those around us, the better our workplace is for everyone.
Honoring diverse ethnicities, faiths, beliefs, and lived experiences can help to bridge the gap between everyone and highlight how much we really do have in common. Trust is built when respect is felt.
For more on how to integrate diversity into your company, check out my piece featured in the South Florida Business Journal: How to Create Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace.