11 April 2023

How to Support Your Leaders with Diversity in the Workplace

Organisational diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging are integral parts of building successful teams. But greater support is needed. Uncover five crucial ways to empower your leaders to create diversity in the workplace.

The burden of diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging (DIEB) work often falls heavily on leaders, who are critical to helping organisations take new steps forward.

However, the journey to building diversity in the workplace isn’t their mission alone. It takes a level of support and understanding from the entire organisation.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of five ways to help your leaders make it happen sooner for your people.

What is diversity in the workplace?

There’s a lot of talk about inclusion and diversity in the workplace, but what does it actually mean?

To put it simply, workplace diversity is a term used in relation to a company recognising, respecting and valuing differences in people. A place where every mind is celebrated and empowered.

In today’s workplace, diversity is an essential part of DIEB – diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging. All these qualities help create a culture of diversity of thought, ideas, experience and perspectives. They’re the difference between creating a fruitful culture which attracts clients and helps you attract and retain new talent.

DIEB enables you to engage employees and build innovative working environments and cultures where every individual feels safe and valued, has a sense of belonging and can fulfil their true potential.

But workplace diversity needs to be prioritised, starting from the leaders.

5 ways to help leaders with diversity in the workplace

  1. Be intentional

It’s admirable to aspire for your diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging (DIEB) efforts to range far and wide.

For best results and sustainable change, it’s most useful to be intentional about who can realistically influence others and advocate effectively for better DIEB practices, based on their perspectives. You don’t need to make everyone a champion.

Focus on roles that have the clout to influence and effect change – prominent leadership positions, for example. Aim to diversify those key position holders and get their support.

Seed advocacy is in the right places of power, and it helps diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging radiate through the business.

  1. Bake it in

To really support leaders to advocate for DIEB in the workplace, you need to make it feel integral. Baked in, not sprinkled on top.

Build diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging practices into how you hire and retain new talent. Make it a foundational aspect of your overall business strategy. Look at your systems and processes through the DIEB lens and identify gaps and opportunities to do better.

Perhaps most importantly, consider how diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging show up in leadership training and evaluation. Effective leadership is inclusive leadership.

  1. Make it easy

It’s a well-worn assertion because it’s true: if you want people to do something, make it easy.

Support leaders and people in influential positions to surface diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging when it matters.

Create tools like templates and conversation checklists to help leaders have consistent and clear conversations with their teams. And importantly, invite and support leaders to reflect on their own journeys too.

  1. Share and care

Stories are a powerful tool for change. Share stories and examples of positive change and new perspectives from every level of the business, wherever you can.

Give leaders the licence to create an atmosphere for sharing and learning, so people feel able to be open about where things have gone wrong and what they’ve learned. And when things go right, recognise and reward people who live out your organisation’s DIEB practices and priorities.

  1. Accountability

Finally, motivate leaders and hold them accountable for DIEB issues by building them into the fabric of performance objectives.

Encourage leaders to create action plans for meaningful change on diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging, and tailor them to the needs and capabilities of their teams.

Make diversity in the workplace a priority

A strong DIEB practice touches every part of your organisation.

If you’re thinking harder about how to secure your DIEB business advantage, get in touch with Managing Director Gemma McGrattan at gemma.mcgrattan@mccannsynergy.com, or explore your next steps with our Employee Solutions Suite.

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