These days, many organizations are on a journey to become more diverse and inclusive. But how can we as individuals go on our own journey — and help our organizations too?
Those are big questions, but thankfully we’ve got some big thinkers here to help us work through them. This week on #WorkTrends we’re joined by Damon Klotz, Culture Amp’s work culture evangelist, and Steven Huang, the head of D&I at Culture Amp. Together they provided a D&I road map that all of us can follow.
Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.
What You Need to Know to Start Your D&I Journey
Are you a little nervous to dip your toes into the D&I waters? You’re not alone, Huang says. “A lot of people, particularly leaders, are scared to start their D&I journey, and I can completely understand why,” he says. “It is a really difficult topic, and unfortunately I can’t comfort you and tell you that it’s going to be easy or simple.”
But what’s most important, Huang says, is that you get started as soon as you can, because the world is changing — 2019 will be the first year in history that over 50% of the children born in the U.S. will be non-white, he says. The conversations around D&I will only grow more important as this trend continues — and they’ll also help your organization get a better competitive advantage.
Beginning your personal D&I journey also requires you to look inward. “One of the core topics that has really opened my eyes and helped me see the world differently is the idea of intersectionality,” Klotz says. “It’s thinking about the effects of multiple forms of discrimination and how they combine and overlap.”
So how can you embrace an intersectional mindset to help you build a better workplace? Klotz says it’s all about thinking intentionally. Think tactically about how you can improve the employee experience for all groups within your organization, he says. Also, be conscious of the privilege your position puts you in. And if you’re feeling like the odds are stacked against you, don’t. “I always go back to the African proverb [that says] if you think you’re too small to have an impact on the world, spend a night with a mosquito,” Klotz says. “We can be that glimmer and hope and change if we are conscious.”
How Smaller Companies Can Tackle D&I
A lot of tech companies discuss D&I a lot, and for good reason — their locations along the coasts mean they’re going to naturally attract a more diverse workforce. But what about smaller companies or companies that aren’t in areas that are as diverse? What can they do to create a more diverse and inclusive environment?
Huang says first that companies shouldn’t compare themselves with others. Instead, he says, companies should aspire to be “the best version of yourself.” To help your organization achieve this, Huang recommends using a D&I survey. “It gives all of your employees a chance to answer questions about how they’re feeling about the state of D&I in your organization,” he says. Culture Amp has used these internally, and it has begun to give the surveys away for free. “It’s been used by hundreds of companies,” Huang says.
Klotz echoes Huang’s points, and adds that companies need to go a step beyond benchmarks when thinking about their own D&I efforts. Companies also need to consider another question: “What are the changes you can make inside of your company that are actually going to improve the experience that you’re giving to your employees every single day?” This will help you create more customized solutions for issues that arise, so that your organizational culture will be everything you want it to be.