Fast Company: Five ways to cultivate a diverse workplace

HOW CAN COMPANIES TARGET TALENT OF ALL BACKGROUNDS AND BUILD MORE INCLUSIVE WORKPLACES? HERE ARE KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM A RECENT PANEL.

Here are five takeaways from the panel.

1. RECOGNIZE THAT DIVERSITY DOESN’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT

2. INCLUDE EXISTING EMPLOYEES IN THE CONVERSATION

As recently as five years ago, diversity was thought of as a recruitment issue, says Dawn Frazier-Bohnert, senior vice president, global diversity and inclusion officer at Liberty Mutual Insurance Group. Now, companies realize that developing a diverse workplace goes beyond hiring women and people of color. Companies must create an inclusive environment where employees continue to feel comfortable being themselves. “If you’re not thinking about the environment that you create for people to feel like they’re connected, you miss a lot of the opportunity to retain people and really get the best out of folks,” Frazier-Bohnert said.

3. GIVE EMPLOYEES THE TOOLS TO TALK DIVERSITY

Education is key to encouraging company-wide inclusion, in part because it provides employees with the vocabulary to discuss important issues. Frazier-Bohnert’s team even created a lexicon to help employees avoid verbal landmines when topics of diversity come up in conversation. “People would say to me, ‘Dawn, I don’t know what words to say.… Should I say black? Should I say African American? And LGBTQ—what does that mean?’”

Tools like these were helpful during the company’s first eLearning program on unconscious bias. “I really think that helped people feel like there’s no shame, blame, and attack here around the fact that they need to grow in this space, that it is about process,’” Frazier-Bohnert said.

4. ENCOURAGE EMPLOYEES TO CONNECT

5. MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS

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