Diversity: Unlock Your Workplace

Written by: on March 7, 2024

We want to work in successful workplaces. Data shows that the most successful are typically the most diverse. So, it makes sense to give workplace diversity the attention it deserves and needs. But you can so easily start off on the wrong foot.

Diversity: What to Know

Here are 5 things I have learnt while seeking to bring greater gender diversity to manufacturing workplaces:

1. Expecting all your efforts to pay back immediately is completely unrealistic. You need to be in it for the long haul. Yes, have some near-term targets that can show progress and motivate continued focus. But you need a plan that will deliver a sustainable foundation from which you can build over the medium to longer term.

2. Making diversity solely the responsibility of HR is a missed opportunity. Build diversity into the objectives of all your leaders. Give it equal weight to more familiar performance measures – that way it cannot be ignored! Talk about it at every team meeting so that its importance is present and felt and becomes an integral part of the core organisational activities. 

3. This is not a ‘once and done’ activity. Deployment of a single initiative will not, in isolation, change your diversity trajectory. However, it can be a key milestone on your journey forward. Be prepared to check and adjust your focus to ensure that you see the expected impact of your efforts; if you’re not, deep dive into why this is the case and be ready to adapt your approach.

4. Do not underestimate the available goodwill already within your organisation that is simply waiting to engage. Talk to your team about the importance of diversity. Help them see that it is not a threat to them but an opportunity to create a fairer workplace for all. There can be misunderstanding of the topic. In particular, diversity targets. Through discussion and engagement with your team, this can quickly be addressed. Then diversity allies start to emerge!

5. We have far more to gain by working collaboratively with other organisations on diversity than simply seeing them as competing for the same talent. Seek stimulus for your diversity focus by understanding what is being done elsewhere. Consider if it might be something you can adopt or adapt for your workplace. Be open to feedback and recognise that there is always something to learn. If more of us do this, we will naturally grow the diverse talent pool available to all of us.

What Next?

I firmly believe that the learnings I have shared here apply to all workplaces. 

Whether you work for a large multinational organisation or a smaller, more local operation, the progress towards a sustainably diverse workplace starts to accelerate when you bring together the goodwill of individuals with a clear workplace strategy.

This blog was written by Kathryn Martin, a member of Kimberly-Clark Corporation, one of InnovateHer’s Partners. To find out more about becoming an InnovateHer Partner, click here.

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