Many small and medium-sized businesses do not have a focus on diversity and inclusion within their organizations.  Most do not have any internal Human Resources position not to mention a role focused on diversity.  This type of effort for smaller businesses is usually led by a “leader” who determines why it is important for the organization and decides to champion this effort.

We here at AAIM have been helping businesses do just that, and while each organization’s journey is unique, there are shared themes related to the approaches that gain energy.  Essentially, diversity among employees means establishing a mix that reflects the cultural differences of customers, clients, and your organization’s overall audience.

While diversity is the “what”, inclusiveness is the “how” and refers to the ongoing activity as businesses adjust their behaviors, practices, and environment to incorporate diversity in all its forms.

Aside from being morally right, why should small businesses incorporate diversity and inclusion?  The clear answer is that if you get diversity and inclusion right in your organization, you stand to make considerable business gains no matter how big or small your business is.

 Here are 7 ways to start infusing D&I into the fabric of your organizational culture:

    1. Literally, write a diversity and inclusion statement into your business core values. This demonstrates to your external and internal customers that you are not only serious but sincere.
    2. Nothing will be successful without a plan. However, keep in mind that this is a long-term commitment- not an immediate win.
    3. Ask what regular meetings, events, and training does the business need?
    4. Address the “elephants in the room” – the unconscious biases that staff may have that will influence their ability to implement diversity and inclusion initiatives at work.
    5. Ensure that Team Leaders understand the “why”. It is essential that these behaviors and values are embraced from the top down.
    6. Evaluate recruitment efforts, onboarding sessions, marketing pieces, and promotion and disciplinary practices to echo the commitment to diversity and inclusion.
    7. Communicate! Spend time together! Listen to one another!  Team Build! Get to know the cultural backgrounds of your team!

Creating a better understanding is key.  There is a lot to gain by committing to drive diversity and inclusion as core values and behaviors in your business. Job satisfaction equals better business results.

For a more in-depth look at the subject, CLICK HERE to get more information about and sign up for “Developing a Diversity Initiative Plan”


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