Diversity initiatives @ work

Updated: Mar 18

Increasing the diversity of your workforce is easy, they said.

Step 1 - choose your area

Pick an area of diversity that you are 1. passionate about, and 2. would be relatively easy to do in your business (aka. low hanging fruit). Some options:-

. gender - a lot of dudes in top management positions?

. ethnicity - not a lot of colour in the room?

. age - a lot of people retiring in a few years?

. sexuality - know any queer people in the office?

. ability - does your building only have stair access?

While it can be tempting to want to do everything at once, we highly recommend just starting with one area first. People can get overwhelmed and confused easily so better to keep it simple.

If you do eventually want to do every area, it's a good idea to say something simple when implementing your first area e.g. "while we are focusing on ethnicity first, other diversity initiatives will be coming up soon" so no one feels left out / second best.

Step 2 - get everyone into it

Introduce your chosen area to your staff. The way you do this will depend on the size of your organisation and how you usually make announcements or communicate with your staff.

Some options could be:-

. email

. internal intranet announcement

. boardroom announcement

. posters around the office

. videos

Use at least two options to make the announcement so that no one misses the memo. Be sure to introduce the topic in a collaborative way e.g. "we will be talking to everyone over the next month or so to gather your opinions and get your feedback". Which brings us to the next step...

Step 3 - feedback feedback feedback

This is absolutely essential to the success of any new initiatives. People do not like being told what to do with no say in the matter, and when it comes to diversity, people have a huge range of opinions.

The easiest place to start is a good old survey. Create a short survey based on your chosen area with a few questions about some initiatives e.g. "would you take part in a mentoring program for younger staff", make all answers anonymous, then email it out. To encourage people to actually complete it, give them an incentive e.g. "once 75% of staff have completed this there will be an ice cream shout in the boardroom". Mmm ice cream.

Gather the results of your survey, put them into a pretty spreadsheet / graph / info graphic (there are apps that do this for you), then send that out as well. Adjust your initiatives / ideas based on the results. Make sure that anything you are going to introduce will be well received and actually be used. There is nothing worse than investing time and energy into something that is a flop with staff.

Step 4 - get champions

As part of your survey, include a tick box at the end along the lines of "are you interested in this area and what to get more involved?" Contact the staff who ticked the box (hopefully there will be at least 2-3) and invite them to attend a focus group.

At the focus group, talk in more detail about your chosen area, the initiatives that you have planned and get in depth feedback from them. Have a group brainstorm and come up with an action plan TOGETHER. Hopefully the participants will be from a range of different divisions within your organisation (and if not, think about actively inviting people to represent their division), so you will get a sense of how the initiatives might be received by different staff.

Finalise the action plan at the end of the session and assign 'to do' items to participants, even something as small as 'introduce this area to your team' or 'put this poster up by your desk'.

Step 5 - implement

Now the difficult part ... just kidding. Kind of. Simply start your initiatives (for some ideas on actual initiatives & to download a template initiative action plan contact us!). Keep them simple and doable. Make sure people can see them all somewhere e.g. in a policy / written on a board / set out on your intranet.


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