Towards Building an Equitable Culture

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Building and reinforcing an inclusive and equitable culture is a worthwhile goal for many organizations.

When it comes to creating a more equitable workplace, we often focus on who gets hired, who is leaving, who gets promoted, or who receives a more significant bonus. 

While all these data points are essential, it is critical to look further than those numbers and focus on the potential root causes of these workplace inequalities. 

We need to have a better understanding and change our behaviors to deliver different results! Focusing on the root cause, the Why this is happening, will allow us to improve the organizational landscape to reflect true diversity. 

Building an equitable culture is important, and it is not simple to find the solution. Drilling down to the root cause of the diversity issue is challenging but worthwhile. Asking and finding answers to the following questions is a great start: 

  • What is our definition of Diversity and Inclusion?
  • Why is it difficult to get a diverse slate? 
  • Why are certain levels or roles not as diverse as we would like them to be? 
  • Why are promotions and bonuses not always a reflection of the best performance?  

In addition to these questions, we need to review our People processes and policies to evaluate whether they need to be changed to create a more equitable culture. Some ideas include:

Identify what Success Looks Like

Identify the skills, knowledge, behaviors, and experience that employees need to succeed in the organization and for their specific roles, and share it with potential candidates and employees.

Look for ways to Level the Playing Field

Do not expect employees to figure it out on their own, advise them on what precisely they will need to accomplish for them to be successful. Encourage formal and informal networking and mentoring across levels and functions.

Be Sensitive to Differences (both visible and not visible)

Assess whether all employees have equal access to opportunities. Pay attention to networking opportunities and career paths, especially for roles where early judgments about performance determine access to future opportunities. Training employees and managers on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity is essential.

Disparities can arise because employees may not be aware of which opportunities are relevant and how to be more visible. For example, a first-generation college graduate may need more guidance than someone whose parents went to college and understand the corporate world.  

 The bottom line: Building and reinforcing an inclusive and equitable culture requires diligence and focus. It is a worthwhile goal that results in a win-win for both the employees and the organization.

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