Step By Step Approach To Diversity And Inclusion

From the outside, most companies look alike: offices, cubicles and conference rooms. But does your workplace have enough mirrors and windows? No, not the kind you look through.

“I think people love to be able to look up and see themselves reflected in an organization. And if I can see it, I can be it,” says Ralph de Chabert, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity and Global Community Relations Officer for Brown-Forman, one of the largest global beverage alcohol companies, which is based in Louisville, Kentucky. “Not only should we be able to see ourselves reflected within an organization, but we should also be able to look through windows to see other, different people reflected too.”

Diversity and inclusion are proven to be good for the bottom line too, from higher performance of individuals and better management practices to increases in productivity, innovation, and shareholder value.

The Challenges

But with everything in the workplace, D&I has its challenges, including measuring the impact and communicating it effectively across the organization. Another challenge is that “everyone has their own sense of what diversity means and what the implications are for them,” says de Chabert. In the “Shaping Culture” podcast, de Chabert describes a “scarcity mentality” where employees sense if someone else wins, they lose. He channels what an employee might feel. “I have a sense that I now have three pieces of pie. And if you’re asking me to share one, then I’m going to have only two, and I don’t want to have less.”

Top 5 Ways To Improve Diversity In The Workplace

  1. Make sure senior leaders are committed and dedicated to cultivating a diverse and inclusive culture.
  2. Reach down into the organization to make sure diverse voices are heard, perhaps by creating grassroots, employee resource groups so everyone feels represented and buys into the company culture.
  3. Encourage collaboration with the HR department and integrate Human Resources specialists into the highest positions of your company.
  4. Expand the talent pool for new hires. Recruiters need to expand their networks to find more women, people of color or with disabilities, and LGBTQ.
  5. Define the benefits of diversity and inclusion and alleviate employees’ fear that diversity and inclusion mean they’re losing something.

“I think it’s always exciting when the workplace responds positively to any of the things that we do. And I’ve been fortunate enough to be in some places where things work pretty well,” concludes de Chabert.

Listen to our conversation with Chabert in our “Shaping Culture” podcast.

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