This article is part of a series on improving organizational culture through greater inclusion. It focuses specifically on the responsibility that members of the C Suite have in advancing this goal. For information on additional job roles discussed in this series, click here: Senior Management | Supplier Diversity Managers | Managers & Supervisors
Recent events have thrown a spotlight on the significant equity gaps that exist within companies big and small. Many employers struggle to ensure fair treatment of all their employees and equitable distribution of internal resources. In a national culture that is increasingly aware and critical of these failings, it is more important than ever to develop business practices which prioritize diversity and enhance relationships with partner organizations owned by minorities, veterans, and women.
Members of the C-Suite and upper management within a company should be held accountable for fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. Here are a few insights about how to best improve your organization’s culture and inclusivity, while remaining focused on business objectives.
Encourage Diversity From The Inside Out
As a member of upper management, you are one of the faces of your company. People both within and outside of your organization will look to you as a model for how to approach issues of company culture and inclusivity. If you are displaying inclusive behavior, the rest of the organization will follow suit.
This isn’t just limited to your time in the boardroom or with your colleagues–because you are associated with the brand, you need to be a vocal proponent of inclusivity in all aspects of your life. Listen actively to the employees who approach you and avoid showing favoritism in the workplace. Take a firm stance against harassment and promote a comfortable and open dialogue with all your employees. Make sure to address issues frankly and let your team hold you accountable for maintaining the highest standards of diversity and inclusion.
Encourage Diversity From The Outside In
Diversity is important in all areas of your business, including your supply chain. Make sure you and your Supplier Diversity Manager are aligned on your goals and objectives surrounding a diverse supply chain, and then follow through on those goals. Be willing to sign off on measures that prioritize a diverse supply chain, and make sure every person on your team is committed to doing the same. Consider connecting diversity goals with compensation options for senior management.
Diversity Can Help a Company Thrive
Fostering diversity and inclusion within your organization will help make it more efficient, well-rounded, and attractive to prospective employees, clients, or partners. Your team members will work harder if they feel comfortable and respected in their work environment. Fostering psychological safety, or “an environment in which people believe that they can speak up candidly with ideas, questions, concerns, and even mistakes” is conducive to a productive workflow (Psychology Today). Allowing all of your employees to experience that safety and feel appreciated at work can inspire more creativity and dedication, reducing turnover and keeping everyone engaged with and passionate about their work.
This is just the beginning when it comes to the benefits of inclusivity in the workplace. For questions on how to get started on the journey to motivation and business growth, feel free to reach out!