Many companies are focused—and rightfully so—on ensuring that they are recruiting and hiring staff members who reflect their markets.
As we continually stress, this focus goes well beyond the traditional model of diversity as a numbers game and gets to the relevance of inclusion from a business perspective: we simply cannot succeed in markets when our leaders and our staff members do not mirror those markets. So, that focus is important.
But, unfortunately, despite their best efforts to attract, engage and hire diverse employees who reflect their market realities, many organizations miss the boat when it comes to creating an inclusive environment in which these staff members will survive and thrive.
It’s not just about recruiting diverse candidates; it is also about including and engaging these diverse candidates once they are on board so that they feel that they belong, that they are valuable contributions and that their contributions are recognized.
Let’s suppose your market is comprised of a large number of Asian Americans and so your recruitment efforts have been focused on ensuring that you have Asian Americans in senior leadership roles as well as in other positions throughout your organization. That’s great. But, what are you doing to help these Asian Americans feel included and important once on board, especially if you’re at an early point in this process and the majority of your staff members do not represent your market?
If you’re like a lot of organizations we encounter, the answer is “nothing.” But, you can turn this around effectively through a number of actions that can be put into place upon hiring, through orientation and–importantly–on an ongoing basis. Because it’s not just about hiring and orientation. It’s about inclusion over the employee’s entire employment life cycle.
So, what can you do:
- Recognize that you need to do something!
- Have conversations with your new staff members about what is important to them and what it takes to make them feel included and valued.
- Listen to the input from these employees.
- Develop opportunities to acclimate new staff into the culture through formal and informal interactions that might include mentoring and sponsorship, or the use of Employee Resource Groups.
- Pay close attention to retention data to determine if you’re losing an inordinate number of employees who represent your market.
Be inclusive! Value all perspectives and inputs from your staff members, and be alert to areas in which you may not be leveraging employee contributions effectively.
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