There is no single “one-size-fits-all” approach to diversity. Corporate leaders should be aware of each group’s similarities, differences, wants, and needs. If diversity has not been a high priority for the organization, there are a few steps, however, that CEOs can ask for and HR and talent management professionals can take to begin to improve diversity in their workplaces and in their investor and customer bases.
- Conduct a diversity needs assessment to ensure the workforce, board, and leadership reflects the communities and customers it serves. If it doesn’t, target recruiting efforts to include local organizations with connections to minority groups the organization is seeking, such as the Urban League and LaRaza.
- Obtain CEO support. Each of the top three organizations topping DiversityInc’s 2014 list note the importance of senior-level support. The information found in this white paper can be used to make the business case for diversity in organizations.
- Develop a diverse leadership pipeline now. HR professionals should review their organization’s talent development and succession plans to include diversity. If there is a lack of diversity in these plans, consider adding mentorships, sponsorships, and other targeted programs that simultaneously accelerate diversity and bench strength. Organizations may want to consider tying significant bonus compensation to progress at the management and senior levels.
- To bring out the best and to capitalize on the benefits a diverse workforce brings to an organization, develop a corporate culture that allows everyone to be who they are while working together to achieve organizational strategies and plans. Foster an organizational attitude of open thinking and encourage employees to express their ideas and opinions in their own cultural context.