How to Create Diversity Policy and Procedures That Work 

May 9, 2022 | Maureen Frank

When it comes to creating your organisation’s diversity policy and procedures there are a couple of standard questions you should consider addressing:

  1. What procedures should you have in place to make diverse employees feel included?  
  2. How should you create a hiring policy that creates a workforce with a good mix of dimensions of diversity?  
  3. Where do inclusion strategies sit within your diversity policy?

While these questions should be answered, it’s also important to create an overarching strategy for any course of action. You need to work towards having a well-designed, comprehensive diversity and inclusion policy that documents your diversity and inclusion agenda.  

In this article, we’ll talk about how you can create a diversity policy and procedures that work. You’ll learn the things you need to do to ensure your policy gets put into action.  

Let’s jump straight in. 

Invest in diversity and inclusion training 

You must allocate a certain portion of your organisation’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.  

While the objective of unconscious bias training isn’t to make your people feel ashamed of their biases, it is imperative that we are all self-aware of our beliefs so that we can demonstrate better inclusive behaviours. 

Make sure you link your 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. 

For example, an organisation that’s invested seriously in D&I training is Vedanta. With their focus being on creating gender diversity in their company, they’ve created a series of workshops on ‘gender intelligence’ for all employees to attend and participate in, throughout the organisation. These workshops aim to improve the diversity management capability of existing leaders in the organisation, so everyone’s contributions can be valued and channelised.  

Decide the composition of your workforce 

Your diversity policy and procedures should clearly state what sort of diversity goals your organisation is working towards. Measurements of success are also important to articulate at this stage. 

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 policy and procedures should be geared towards having a good balance between men and women in key roles at your organisation. 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.  

Bear in mind though, that you need a critical mass of 30% before minority voices can begin to be heard. What this means is that you need at least 30% of a certain type of employee before they can start to have a say in the way things are done. For instance, if your company has 90% men, and 10% women, women may not be able to get their voices heard, but if you have 70% men, and 30% women, then women may collectively be able to get their point across and prevent themselves from being under-represented.  

Another thing to keep in mind is the local and national laws in place in your territory. 

You want to make sure you have a robust policy that complies with the relevant legislation of your territory in order to provide equal opportunities to all your employees, while minimising racism of any kind.  

Have specific diversity policy and procedures for inclusion  

It’s no longer not enough to simply say you’re inclusive! You must put your words into action by having specific procedures to ensure inclusion actually happens in your organisation. Ensure you consider social inclusion strategies as well. For example you can:  

  • Have strict anti-discrimation rules in place for protecting human rights. Anti-discrimation rules should be in place for age, sex, race, and disability. 
  • Pay close attention to dietary and cultural needs during company events. Make sure everyone is invited, and encouraged to participate in company social events.  
  • Invest in psychological safety to ensure that everyone has a sense of belonging. You can do this by conducting surveys to know if people feel psychologically safe at your company, and if not, then why.  
  • Have a code of ethics and business conduct that supports diversity and inclusion. Within this, you should have a statement of commitment to establish that the company is committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive work atmosphere. You should make it clear that everyone should treat employees with respect.  
  • Put some rules in place to celebrate the differences of your employees, with respect to their religion, race, colour, age, sex, gender, or nationality. You want employees to feel that their difference is what the company wants them to bring, and celebrating them is one way to encourage them to come forward with their uniqueness.  

Monitor, measure and iterate 

You don’t just create and implement a diversity policy and procedures and leave it at that. You need to constantly monitor them, measure the difference they’re making and then iterate on them, so they are perpetually refined.   

Be sure to let your employees know that they can report any conduct that conflicts with the policy. This way, everyone is constantly kept in check to ensure the policy and procedures are followed to a T. 

One way to measure the effectiveness is to conduct surveys. These can be internal surveys where you seek the opinions of your employees, or external surveys in the form of an external audit where you get a third party to come and audit your organisation’s diversity status. The number of awards your company gets for diversity and inclusion achievements can be another yardstick to investigate.  

Is it time for you to double down for better diversity and inclusion success? 

While you should absolutely always be monitoring and adjusting your diversity policy and procedures, remember to also look at D&I from the bottom line. 

Your organisation is in the business of being successful and to produce tangible outcomes you need to figure out what’s working and what’s not – from a D&I lens. 

If you think it’s time to invest in D&I training so your leaders are supported to be more inclusive and to ensure that your organisation is set up for long-term success, then consider completing our disruption questionnaire.  

It will help you to ascertain if our programs are positioned to help your specific organisational goals for D&I and, it’s completely obligation free. 

Take the questionnaire here

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