Learn how your organization can increase its inclusion efforts. In this video, Dr. Stefanie Johnson covers how leading companies are able to scale up their inclusion strategies.
- There are many ways that companies can increase inclusion efforts. Many companies offer mentoring and coaching programs to help create an equal playing field for women and minorities. For example, German industrial manufacturing firm Siemens offers a program called women and their path within the company. It uses training, mentoring and coaching to help women attain leadership roles. Programs like this can increase retention of talented women. In one study of my own I found that putting women in high potential pools also decreased turn over, but only if they had women above them, like a female boss.
The finding really points to the importance of having some women in top leadership in the organization as a signal to other women that there is the opportunity for advancement. Another way to increase inclusion is to remove one of the major institutional biases that make it difficult for women to compete in the workforce. Family responsibility. Companies like Colgate Palmolive make work life programs such as having flexible work time or compressed work weeks part of their talent strategy. They offer emergency in home daycare for dependents and tuition assistance to promote work-life balance.
All of these efforts allow women to bring their full selves to work. But they're also useful to retracting and retaining millennials who tend to want greater workplace flexibility. Most companies also have some type of ERGs, or Employer Resource Groups. Sometimes called affinity groups. They might be focused on LGBTQ, women, ethnic minority groups, or even parents. My personal favorite, Salesforce, calls there ERGs Ohana groups. Other companies like Deloitte have diversity councils which has replaced their ERGs.
The purpose of all of these groups is to offer social support by helping similar individuals connect with each other. But they usually offer some type of instrumental support as well. They might offer a connection between the ERG and top leadership, a way to get voices heard, or even access to special mentoring or training programs. One idea that I really like is using a diverse and interdisciplinary, or cross functional task force to solve an organizational issue. Although the focus is not on diversity per say, they really do bring together diverse people and enhance inclusion.
One of my favorites is Medtronic. This is one of the worlds largest medical device companies. It has a program called culture circles. Teams work to solve an organizational issue, and then they meet for a big competition on the best ideas. I've attended these culture circles and I can tell you the attendees are super engaged. In the most recent year the culture challenge was to increase productivity. One group came up with an idea of putting a sign on your door or cubicle to deter people from bothering you. It says innovating, please come back later, or email me.
I want this sign for my door so bad so I can get work done. Coaching, mentoring programs, ERGs and diverse task forces are all great ways of making sure that everyone's voice is heard within your organization.
- How prioritizing diversity and inclusion is good for business
- Establishing accountability
- Creating a global diversity strategy
- Creating a localized strategy
- Using benchmarks to track the progress of your efforts
- Measuring diversity program success
- Diversity and inclusion in Brazil, Russia, India, and China