Join Catherine Mattice Zundel for an in-depth discussion in this video Implementing a corporate policy, part of Managing Diversity.
- So what does the diversity and inclusion policy look like at your company? It probably sounds something like this. We are committed to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion. This sounds nice, but what does this really mean for you and your co workers? What's your connection to it? Before we get too far let's first understand what a diversity and inclusion policy should be. A D&I policy outlines a company's commitment to a culture of diversity and inclusion. It provides information on general company practices and defines the responsibility all employees and leaders have in treating each other with respect and dignity.
As you think about creating or updating you own D&I policy I want you to do something crazy. Ask you employees to help you create the policy. You're likely to get much more buy in when a policy's created by the employees for the employees. There are five steps to implementing a D&I policy. First ask your employees how they would like to be treated by their peers and managers. Depending on how small or large your organization is you might do this in an all company meeting with everyone or you might charge you department heads to run this exercise within their own department meetings.
Whatever you choose, the exercise should be run like this. Break everyone up into groups of three or four. And ask them, how would you like to be treated by your peers and managers. Give them ten minutes to brain storm some answers and then ask each group to share their lists. As groups share, you either write the answers on a white board or type them in word doc projected onto a screen. The value in this exercise is that people can see that they want to be treated pretty much the same.
Next take this list back to your office and spend some time searching for themes among the answers. For example every group likely said gratitude, acknowledgment, or teamwork in some way. Whatever themes you find, now those behaviors become part of your D&I policy and the employees can feel good that they are being held accountable to a policy that they had a part in creating. Third, write your policy and be sure to include the list of behaviors collected from your employees. Another important step is to determine how you will communicate about the policy's implementation and what kind of training you can offer.
Note the communication should come from the organization's leaders. The leaders need to be transparent about their support for diversity and inclusion. Finally, deliver your training and use it as a time to facilitate conversations about similarities and differences. For example, if acknowledge each other for a job well done appears in your new policy, discuss what that means. You will find that some people want to be acknowledged publicly while others prefer a quiet thank you in passing.
This type of conversation reminds people that while we want to be treated relatively the same, what that looks like may vary from person to person and we have to respect that. On a final note, I suggest as you create and implement you D&I policy, you use this time to review your corporate values. If you don't have corporate values at all, you could use the behaviors your employees described to create them. If your corporate values were created by the C Suite and they appear on your website, but no one knows much about them beyond that now is a good time to change them up and start making them an integral part of your day to day operations.
If you do have values that are already a big part of your day to day, then compare what you have with what employees came up with and be prepared to make a revision or two or add in a new one. The point is these behaviors are behaviors your employees said they wanted. Those are the values that they want to live by. To help you get started on your D&I policy, I've included a template policy in the exercise files for this course. Download it, get together with you employees and work as a group to create your policy.
She outlines a process for creating a strategic plan and benchmarks for success. To bring your plan to life, she provides tips for implementing a diversity policy, recruiting and hiring, and asking diversity-related questions during interviews. (Compliance issues are also discussed along the way.) Catherine also explains how to integrate diversity within the performance management processes, including measuring employees on their ability to work well with others and measuring managers on their ability to drive and implement diversity initiatives.
Last, she covers "people practices," such as improving communication through open-door policies and ensuring work-life balance accommodates employees' lives and family responsibilities. When you're faced with organizational challenges, such as resistance to change, prejudice, or fear, Catherine provides tools to address them head-on.
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