A Guide to Diversity Management

June 20, 2022 | Maureen Frank

Studies show that companies that use diversity management practices produce 20% higher revenue than those that don’t.  

Clearly, diversity management is the key to unlock the potential of your diverse employees and translate it into tangible outcomes.  

But what is diversity management in the first place? 

Diversity management is the art that helps your company nurture inclusion, use policies and strategies to promote equality in the workplace, and create a work environment in which diverse employees can thrive.  

Simply put, it’s the secret sauce to leveraging diverse employees!  

And when it comes to diversity and inclusion policy it’s all about decoupling the two concepts to focus on inclusion first. Once we understand the dimensions of diversity we then return to diversity management principles. 

We’ve outlined five steps you can follow to ensure you’re ticking all the boxes while managing diversity at your company.  

Let’s dive in. 

1. Have a dedicated leadership team for managing diversity 

If you really want to manage diversity seriously, you need a dedicated team that’s got nothing on its agenda apart from creating and implementing an effective diversity and inclusion strategy.  

Many companies choose to ensure they have dedicated functional leads on an executive team, such as the CEO, CFO, and COO. 

Go one step further to make inclusion a functional reality. 

A dedicated diversity leader brings commitment and a focus to diversity management, which isn’t always possible for other functional leaders who are too busy with mainstream activity. At the very least, ensuring you have a Chief Diversity Officer on your executive team who takes a proactive role in supporting diverse employees and championing inclusion is a positive step in the right direction.  

Supporting diversity and inclusion at the highest levels of management is almost like a prerequisite for it to flourish, and take shape at your company.  

And as always, it’s the demonstrated leadership direction that will trickle down through all levels of employees, making diversity management a holistic endeavour that works.  

2. Collect and measure diversity data across your company 

What gets measured, gets managed. Diversity management is no different!  

Pick KPIs and metrics for diversity management that allow you to assess where you stand, where you need to be, and how much room for improvement there is in the context of your diversity and inclusion agenda.   

Some examples of metrics to measure include: 

  • How many women are employed in your company? 
  • How many women hold senior leadership roles at your company?  
  • How many races make up your workforce?  
  • How many people of a different sexual orientation work at your company?  
  • How much money do you invest in diversity and inclusion training?  
  • How much revenue is attributable to your diversity and inclusion experiments?  
  • How many cross-cultural events did you conduct?  
  • How many staff members do you have working on your diversity & inclusion program? 

While this may not be an exhaustive list of metrics/information to collect, you need to decide what’s right for your company to collect and measure over time. 

However, it’s not just about tokenistic ticking and flicking, it’s also about ensuring that the diversity within your company is continuously included. 

When inclusion is high you will see the outcomes flow through to: 

  1. Customer engagement 
  1. Diversity 
  1. Safety and wellbeing 
  1. Employee engagement 
  1. Innovation 
  1. Collaboration 
  1. Productivity 
  1. Agile leadership 
  1. Talent pipeline 
  1. Asset leverage 
  1. Psychological safety 

3. Have a recruitment policy that hires diverse applicants 

Your diversity policy should clearly state what sort of diversity goals your company is working towards. Do you want more women in your company to hold leadership roles? Or are you focusing on hiring people with a different sexual orientation?  

Ideally, your diversity policy and procedures should be geared towards having a good balance between men and women in key roles at your company. Your employees should come from different cultural backgrounds and races and a conscious effort should be made to attract applicants from different diversity groups to achieve a workforce that’s diverse across all levels.  

Another thing to keep in mind while designing your diversity policy is to focus on ensuring that your recruits are inclusive in their behaviours and interactions. 

Always remember to hire for the future, because progressive companies realise how much of a difference a good team can make to their bottom line.  

4. Invest in diversity and inclusion training 

You must allocate a certain portion of your company’s budget towards diversity and inclusion training. Your leaders and employees may have several unconscious biases that they need to be made aware of, before they can start being more inclusive.  

This is where the expertise of an external leadership coaching company comes in handy.  

Make sure you link your diversity and inclusion training to your business goals. When your employees and leaders see that you’re interested in making diversity work in a business sense, they’ll start taking training more seriously, and view D&I goals and objectives as an important part of their responsibilities.  

Your goal should be to train the leaders in your organisation to become change agents and role models for diversity and inclusion. 

5. Monitor and evaluate your diversity initiatives and experiments 

Diversity management should be viewed as an ongoing process. There’s no point collecting and measuring data, if you don’t make the time to reflect on how your diversity initiatives are performing.  

At the end of the day, diversity is important and should not be about fluffy events, talks, and promises, but a real exercise to boost business results in every little way. Know when to iterate, pivot or adapt your diversity management strategies, while remaining focused on the end goal is the key!   

Take the first step today 

Start by assessing your current diversity management status by taking our questionnaire. You’ll get a sense of whether our inclusive course for leaders is perfectly placed to help you disrupt your culture with more inclusiveness!  

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