10 tips for diversity and inclusion

In no particular order…… What else would you add?

  1. Put some resource into working on diversity and inclusion. This means funds and time and power to make change happen. Don’t leave it to ‘volunteers’, who often end up being members of the disenfranchised  groups themselves. This only doubles down on the emotional work already required by them.
  2. Embed diversity and inclusion work – but don’t allow that to mean it disappears! Make D+I part of all decision-making and record and monitor how it contributes to your decisions and actions.
  3. Consult with your workforce/clients/customers – ask them how they feel about your organisation in terms of diversity and inclusion and what might work better. This might take the form of conducting surveys/focus groups/interviews or it might be regular opportunities for them to feed in through online or offline fora.
  4. Know your stats: monitor the diversity of your employees/customers/client base wherever you can. What groups are you not reaching? How might you reach out to diverse groups? Evaluate any initiatives you put in place.
  5. Assess where you are, think where you can do better and have a strategy and an action plan to get there. Be realistic. It’s not a quick fix – there may be some quick wins but you are in it for the long game.
  6. Celebrate the various diversity days/months BUT don’t let that be all you do. It’s a long-term, embedded commitment that brings about meaningful change.
  7. Boost your employees’ confidence in being allies by providing them with training on diversity and inclusion issues. Ensure that the training is relevant to their context.
  8. Be aware of your own privilege – this simply means that if you are, for example, white and heterosexual, your race and sexual orientation are not areas of identity that are likely to cause you harassment or discrimination.
  9. Take responsibility to learn about the experiences of people in demographic groups different to you. Listen to people non-judgmentally. Read an article/book or watch something or listen to a podcast. The more we educate ourselves about our differences, the more we build empathy, understanding and trust and break down harmful stereotypes.
  10. If you mess up and use a phrase that offends someone or you make some another kind of mistake, apologise and move on. We’ve all done this. Don’t make it about you by drawing attention to your embarrassment. Just apologise, learn from it, and move on.   

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