If diversity can show me how I’m going to get everything done today, I’m there!
In part 1 of this 3-part series, if you are an executive, manager, or supervisor or are impacted in any way by D&I (diversity and inclusion) in the workplace (which you should be), I let you in on one of this industry’s best kept secrets: Get over yourself.
To ensure that your company’s D&I efforts are being implemented daily and to gauge whether your employees care or have better things to do, you have to get over any adverse feelings collectively. The demographics of those you serve are changing and your workforce needs to reflect that change to make sure that your company’s bottom line expands by being more intentionally inclusive.
So this time, I want to know, how did that work for you? If you began to make changes, you’re on your way to keeping your company relevant. If you did nothing, as I look into my crystal ball, let me predict your typical work day.
You get there early because you’re behind on so many things. Just as you start knocking things out, a co-worker pops into your office for an impromptu conversation about something you could care less about, later, you glance at the headlines in the newspaper and see that the competition released their new product ahead of schedule and as you sigh and get back to work, your boss pops in to remind you about a diversity and inclusion seminar today.
At this point, you grab your head and say, “Damn! I haven’t gotten anything done, my workload is overflowing and to top it off, our last quarter earnings were below our projections. I have so many more important things to focus on, but instead, I have to waste time going to a meeting about diversity. If diversity can show me how I’m going to get everything done today, I’m there!”
Having worked in diversity and inclusion for more than 15 years, I know this scenario to be true for a lot of people. And it’s a valid feeling if you have never taken the time to understand D&I as a business strength.
As I said earlier, it’s not this huge concept that must be implemented from scratch. It’s already there, represented in your entire workforce: age, sexuality, gender, race/ethnicity, etc. What has to be pulled out is not the diversity, but the inclusiveness.
As the leader of a company or department, we have to encourage and create an environment of creativity, open-mindedness and diversity of thought.
When asked, people will pull from their life experiences as being African American, Hispanic, gay, a young professional or over 60. We have to be open enough to accept those experiences as strengths that help us to create better products and offer better services.
Written by Risha Grant, CEO of Xposure, Inc
Copyright Xposure, Inc 2013Photo credit: Seana Wilkerson
What will she think of next? Be the first to tune into our CEO, Risha Grant’s innovative perspective on D&I. Her recurring blogs will also appear in the Journal Record. For more information about Risha, visit www.xposureinc.com.