At Lucas Group, we’ve focused on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts, highlighting historical and contemporary trailblazers, and offering insights into building more inclusive and innovative workplaces.
These are five ways companies can continue building more inclusive company cultures, starting with a focus on diversity hiring:
Clearly state what diversity, equity and inclusion mean to your organization The idea that diversity is valuable for business is hardly new. Numerous studies show that a diverse workforce helps companies be more productive and innovative. But actually making diversity a core part of your company’s culture requires intentional action, not just symbolic gestures. This starts with articulating what DE&I means to your organization.At Lucas Group, we’ve updated our guiding principles to reflect our proactive and purposeful approach to DE&I. One way we live these values is through intentional partnerships and building internal and external teams that share our DE&I commitment. Consider opportunities for your organization to both clarify its values and bring these values to life, building a culture that will support your diversity hiring efforts.
Revisit company job descriptions When was the last time you looked at your company’s career descriptions? It’s likely been awhile, and those descriptions could contain outdated language. Consider everything from the types of verbiage to the media included within a listing.As surprising as this may sound in 2021, I’m still seeing job postings that aren’t gender neutral. I’ve also seen plenty of poorly worded postings that may alienate prospective candidates. Rather than using “he/she,” I recommend using “you,” a more inclusive way to address candidates. Some companies also include images with their postings, such as a fun “candid” shot from office life. But are the people in the picture reflective of the diverse candidate pool your company seeks? Word choice and images may seem like minor details, but they can subtly welcome or discourage entire groups of qualified candidates.
Expand the candidate pool Many companies are expanding their diversity recruitment efforts through new HBCU partnerships, and this is a great starting point. But it’s important to remember that there’s more to diversity hiring than just race or gender. Diversity hiring initiatives must also consider age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, neurodiversity and veteran status. Our lived experience isn’t limited to a single label: Intersectionality is key. If your company is struggling to expand its candidate pool, working with a recruiter may help. We can tap into a broad, diverse network to bring you the most qualified candidates that align with your DE&I goals.
Rethink your internship program With many companies continuing to be remote, now is the perfect time to rethink traditional internship programs. You aren’t limited to interns in your immediate geography for in-person positions. Consider opportunities to connect with a more diverse intern pool through national organizations like College Success Foundation and SMASH. In addition to traditional intern responsibilities, share your commitment to creating an inclusive company culture and invite interns to participate in your company’s DE&I initiatives. It’s easy to commit to change from the top down; refreshing your internship program will help drive this change from the bottom up.
Identify opportunities to improve the daily employee experience Hiring diverse candidates is just the start: how do you ensure they grow their careers at your company? Turnover is correlated closely to an employee’s daily experience, and unless you take the time to ask, it’s easy to assume everyone has an experience that’s similar to yours. Holding skip-level meetings between employees and upper management helps ensure your company is taking meaningful action to address real employee needs and retain your top talent.For example, these conversations might reveal the need for a more inclusive holiday policy. I celebrate Christmas and I’d be disappointed if I didn’t receive that time off. Employees who practice other religions may be working on days that have special meaning to them or dipping into limited PTO to take the day off. How can your company adjust its PTO policy to be fairer and more inclusive?
The more you can brand your company as a diverse place to work — and then take action to live those values — the more people will see your company as a place of inclusion, both internally and externally.
What are some steps your company is taking to build a more inclusive workplace? I invite you to share these steps with me in the comments below.