10+ Ways Inclusion and Diversity Becomes Organic In Your Organization

Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace

Because women owned businesses are sensitive to diversity and inclusion matters, we’re expected to know everything there is to know about the ins and outs of the subject and its challenges. Well the truth is that the topic is vast and because of that small business owners with good intentions sometimes don’t know where to start. {BTW, I keep adding to this Pinterest Board dedicated to #DiversityAndInclusionInTheWorkplace, follow here}

I started with figuring out the best way to explain it – and Entrepreneur Magazine does a fabulous job of getting to the crux of the matter, so I thought I’d quote their article:

Inclusion gives everyone an opportunity to contribute, and divergent perspectives and approaches can be discussed openly.

Here are some ideas to consider when you’re thinking about improving your diversity and inclusion efforts:

  • Add an inclusion statement to your mission statement, your capabilities statement and vision statements.
  • Know the definitions of diversity and inclusion: race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religious affiliation, generation, disability, socio-economic background, education level.
  • Encourage leaders and managers to model diversity and inclusion.  Does the make-up of your management team reflect your commitment to diversity?
  • Include non-traditional in brainstorming – someone who wouldn’t normally be a part of the conversation – for example, ask someone in procurement about a marketing idea.
  • Convert your employee manuals and job descriptions to gender neutral pronouns.
  • Ensure equal pay and recognition.
  • Conduct a review of your vendors/suppliers and make sure that your bids are open and inclusive. Give special recognition to vendors/suppliers who promote diversity and inclusion in their business practices.
  • Start employee resource groups.
  • Change your perspective by changing your scenery – do your work in a different part of the office to experience your day a little differently. The interactions you have will likely by atypical and perhaps spark a new idea or a solution to one you’ve been pondering.
  • Rotate who runs your meetings – I love this idea! It’s sure to breathe some life into an unintended monotony. Everyone has a unique presentation style and perspective. Having a variety of people lead meetings could be just what the doctor ordered to avoid the all too common fallback: ‘we’ve always done it that way.’
  • Set up a mentoring program Have participants sign “expectation contracts” and offer assistance and resources to make the program work.
  • Take a pulse-check: is your business as inclusive as it can be? One simple way to find out is to do an anonymous survey. Two questions to consider asking:
  • Does your team feel their voice and concerns are heard? Is there a process they can follow to share their concerns? Is the information on how to share a grievance accessible and shared?
  • Acknowledge and be mindful of all religious and cultural holidays celebrated by your employees. Allow for personal time off around those holidays.
  • Consider including inclusion as a part of performance metrics.

The good news is that research shows that diversity and inclusion are actually very good for business. The more a company can reflect its actual and target market, the more consumer trust it builds. Diversity and inclusion are key ingredients for innovation, research and development, don’t you agree? Different voices lead to different perspectives and very often to different outcomes that can expand markets or create new ones – just by allowing creativity and collaboration to take the driver’s seat.

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G. Nancy Allen is an international speaker, coach, consultant and expert on women’s business issues. Nancy has over 30 years of experience helping small business owners at all stages of growth. As President and CEO of WBDC Florida/Her Company Incorporated, Nancy manages and leads an incredible team of staff, sponsors, partners and women business leaders who are dedicated to certifying, connecting and championing women in business. Nancy has been recognized for her work on behalf of women in business through numerous prestigious awards: -Nancy was recently honored by the International Career and Business Alliance (ICABA) as one of South Florida’s 100 most accomplished Caribbean Americans. She is especially proud of this award because it highlights her heritage as well as her professional accomplishments. -Nancy is the recipient of the World Women Leadership Achievement Award from the World Women Leadership Congress -Nancy is also the proud recipient of the Association Marketing Award from Women in ECommerce. -Most recently Nancy was named Honorary Ambassador of Cascais, Portugal by the Ambassador’s Club of the Industry Sector of Cascais and the Estoril Coast. Nancy’s personal motto is Connections, Creativity and Courage in all endeavors. She holds a Master’s Degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS, 1982). She was born in Haiti and raised in South Florida. Nancy is bi-lingual in English and French and is fluent in Spanish and Creole.




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