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Measuring Your Efforts—How to Sustain the Benefits of Inclusiveness!

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As we’ve discussed, your company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives need to be sustainable efforts in order to be successful. You might be asking “Why? What’s in it for my company?” The answer is simple, and it’s become our mantra: inclusion is a business imperative.

In her article “Three questions every organization should ask about diversity,” Shellye Archambeau, CEO of MetricStream, reveals that companies committing to increasing their diversity and inclusion efforts are “35% more likely to gain above-average financial returns.”

Taking this a step further, Archambeau said that in a Forbes survey of 321 of the largest companies across the world, 85 percent of those responding agreed “that diversity is crucial to fostering innovation in the workplace.”

Although these statistics build a pretty strong case for having a sustainable diversity and inclusion program in your workplace, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Archambeau posed three questions in her article that may be helpful in evaluating your current situation; these questions can also be used to conduct check-ups on your efforts over time.

  1. “Is the organization, in general and at the leadership level, diverse?” Take a look at who makes up your office. Do you see a variety of people, or do they look the same? We all know diversity isn’t just limited to race and gender, so consider whether your organization is comprised of a wide range of backgrounds, diverse ideas and perspectives. It’s also important to look at the diversity of leadership. If all leaders are white, middle class men, this might be an area to improve upon.  
  2. “Is a wide net being cast for talent?” The answer to this question depends on your answer to question one. If you look around and don’t see a lot of diversity, chances are your talent net is not wide enough. As Archambeau says, “Finding potential employees who differ from a gender, ethnic or nationality perspective requires looking beyond your traditional networks.” It may take extra effort to find diverse talent, but keep in mind that inclusion impacts your bottom line. Taking extra time to find a great employee will be worth it. But remember to ensure that your employees match your market—focus on key employee demographics required for growth.
  3. “Have you created an environment to support diversity?” This question comes down to the culture of your company. Have you fostered an environment that is warm toward and welcoming of differences and diversity? Do you encourage inclusion and continue the conversation of diversity through training opportunities? Though all three questions are important, this last question might be the most important in terms of sustaining diversity in your workplace. If the culture you create isn’t welcoming and inclusive of diversity, you probably won’t retain quality employees who are different.
     

With these questions in mind, it’s time to be proactive. Take steps to ensure you are building a sustainable environment where inclusion will thrive. Be inclusive! 

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