How to Create a Macro Impact D&I Strategy Through Micro Action

January 17, 2022 | kelsey

 If there is one thing I’ve seen time and time again in my many conversations with leaders, it’s that not only is D&I fatigue very real, it also becomes transparent in a workplace when there is a lack of focus and awareness on micro action.  

Positive micro actions are evident in a workplace that is focused on holding leaders accountable to their daily words, behaviours and actions. It is in this repetition of their micro habits, where the whole picture comes together for inclusive leaders with an impactful D&I strategy.  

This is because when leaders focus on their inclusive habits the impact can be felt on the company’s ROI, employee retention, development of the talent pipeline, and ultimately business revenue.

Let’s explore more about micro actions to identify the impact on your D&I strategy for greater results. 

Why create a D&I workplace?

As would be expected, diversity and inclusion as individual concepts are actually closely intertwined and often interchangeable.  

It is this decoupling of diversity and inclusion that will have the most impact on a workplace where repetitive micro inequalities go unchecked. This is because, as I’ve discovered, leaders are often unaware of the impact their unconscious bias can have on diverse hires. 

Now, I’m not saying that we should all go out and undertake unconscious bias training in order to ‘fix’ our leaders.

What I’m proposing here is that we support our leaders to better understand how to be more inclusive of difference first. Then we support them to better understand dimensions of diversity

Consider tokenism for a moment.  

Both D&I are equally important in creating an authentic workplace that steers away from being a token hire-centric workplace. Tokenism is “the practice of doing something (such as hiring a person who belongs to a minority group) only to prevent criticism and give the appearance that people are being treated fairly.”  

What organisations need to really focus on is the intent of their diversity hire. Are leaders purposefully hiring because they genuinely want to increase the diversity of their staff – but their recruitment process hasn’t been successful? Or is the intent of the hire one where the organisation is giving an external appearance of prioritising diversity? 

In this example, the intent is important, and when there is an absence of pragmatic and checked micro aggressions, tokenism occurs. 

Supporting leaders instil inclusive micro behaviours will ensure greater inclusion in the workplace so that macro business impact is achieved.

What are micro aggressions and what impact do they have on diversity and inclusion?

Micro aggressions or behaviours sometimes go unnoticed, largely because those who are not affected don’t consider their impact. These actions are so small, however their constant repetition can add up and leave a mark on an individual.  

Such behaviours include gestures, actions, words or tone of voice that leave those who are different, feeling left out, overlooked, or ignored. It can look like ignoring junior staff members, never thanking people, or mispronouncing people’s names.  

The impact of unconscious bias through these actions can negatively affect performance, talent calibrations, and promotional structures. Correcting our human interactions through conscious habitual change and a willingness to be more inclusive leaders helps workplaces to better reap the rewards of their D&I strategy. 

Micro aggressions can be overcome 

A recent study by the American Psychology Association found that micro aggressions are easily overcome through micro interventions.  

The study outlines two key universal strategies that apply to pragmatism when evaluating micro habits –  

  1. Highlight the unacceptable – In order to see a D&I shift in micro actions and unconscious bias, we must highlight these wrong doings as they arise. 
  1. Educate to create change – This is about learning and growing. It is about educating on the unacceptable and building future relationships that have a basis of respect. 

Are you ready to reap the rewards of an impactful D&I strategy? 

A truly diverse and inclusive workplace is one where staff feel a sense of belonging and commitment to their workplace. It is through employing a diverse group of people and then developing and empowering them within the organisation. This is at the heart of every successful D&I story. 

Rewiring our brains that are conditioned for bias takes conscious and repetitive effort. It requires reflection and self-awareness.  

D&I strategies that are centred around embedding inclusion habits deliver successful outcomes across the board. We know this because we’ve seen it time and time again when leaders implement our training programs.  

When leaders are more inclusive the ripple effect is huge because their teams also feel:  

  • Safe or psychologically well  
  • Engaged  
  • Innovative  
  • Collaborative  
  • Productive 
  • Agile  
  • Talented  
  • Customer focussed 

It is no longer a hypothesis! Our small and intentional inclusion habits need to be practical in nature and undertaken daily. 

Make the necessary changes to your approach to D&I 

Move towards an inclusive workplace and enrol in our Inclusion Habits for Leaders program. We have worked with thousands of organisations to educate and implement strategies that work.  

Our pragmatic approach is designed to empower your workforce to achieve inclusivity and allow you to experience the ROI impact on the bottom line. 

Find out if your organisation is a good fit by completing our disruption questionnaire. It allows us to understand your specific goals for D&I. We will be in touch directly with your next steps. 

Take questionnaire here

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