3 Key Ways to Evolve Workplace Diversity

Learn how to stop complying with diversity expectations and start growing with inclusive strategies.
3 Key Ways to Evolve Workplace Diversity
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Too often, diversity and inclusion initiatives are viewed through the lens of compliance. Rather than acknowledging the wealth of talent and opportunity, companies are cost center focused: “I need to hire more people of X Race or Y Ethnicity to make the company look better.” The truth is diversity and inclusion must be seen as an investment and be placed where it belongs -- in the center of all growth strategies. Here are three key ways to stop complying and start growing:

1. STOP treating diverse employees as problems to solve. When you do this, these diverse employees lose trust in your company. It puts them in a compliance box, limiting their skills and their own potential for growth, not to mention yours. Even diversity and inclusion officers fall into the compliance quota trap and therefore do just as much or more to push diverse employees and diversity initiatives on the fringe of organizations. Instead . . .

START acknowledging the authentic identities of your diverse employees and their ability to influence growth in your company. Why ignore study after study that shows workplaces with gender, racial and ethnic diversity perform better in so many categories? These efforts should be seen as growth opportunities rather than burdensome initiatives.

Related: The Myriad Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace

2. STOP looking at diversity and inclusion through a cost center lens. All this does is give organizations permission to destroy engagement and culture and build tension. When it comes to talent in the workplace and growth in the marketplace, compliance often leads to an excuse for doing the minimum. Plus, be forewarned: if you don’t acknowledge the diverse members of your market and audience now, someone else will. Instead . . .

START moving diversity initiatives into your profit center. The moment you do this, change becomes a real opportunity for evolution company-wide. By including more people in leading diversity and inclusion as a growth strategy, you’ll drive greater influence and raise your bottom lines. Companies that have already been moving beyond compliance mode are already growing and reinventing the way their employees and customers are served.

Related: Cracking the Code on Diversity in Tech

3. STOP limiting the diversity conversation. Simply put, we have been having the wrong conversations about diversity and inclusion and have been for years. When you are combatting the diverse and non-diverse (or the diversity supporters and the diversity compliers) against each other, the result is loss of performance in the workplace and revenue declines in the marketplace. Instead . . .

START including everyone in the conversation. Just like we must welcome diverse populations into conversations about growth, we must welcome non-diverse perspectives as well. Truthfully, white men have had the greatest influence on profit centers in corporate America in the past, and they must be educated on the impact diversity can have and has had on profit centers and industries in the present. People who have had the most influence to change the conversations need to be involved.

Related: Why It's Still So Difficult to Hire Diverse Teams

Get beyond diversity compliance and embrace diversity of thought to propel diversity and inclusion into the center of strategy. Stop reacting and get ahead by acknowledging the opportunities right in front of you. Start leading your organization with an innovation mentality.