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Learn How to Increase Diversity at Your Company

Ha! The title caught your attention, but are you ready for what it will take to truly increase diversity? Increasing diversity at your company can happen easily. However, it will take self-reflection, intention, and action. You may be saying, “but, Netta, I thought you were going to tell me something I didn’t know!” Sorry, but many skip this this part in the process. Many focus only on recruitment, for example, and think the easy solution is to focus on HBCUs.

Everyone wants to know how to increase diversity, but not many want to dig deep into their current process, leadership, or mindsets that are hindering success. If you are truly ready to increase representation, then read all the tips below and apply them. And if you are guilty of solely focusing on recruitment, then implementing a holistic plan and measuring your own progress will be a good sign that you are truly committed.

Phase 1: Self-reflection

1. Define what diversity means. Who is under-represented or even missing from your company? Solve your code. Hint: your company data will tell you.

2. Identify who is in your personal network. Hint: look on LinkedIn and count the number of women, Black, Latinx, Indigenous and other People of Color. This is an exercise that will help you discover part of your issue.

3. Reflect on your past jobs. Are there people of color you can refer or any women you can refer? If not, then why didn’t you speak up then? When you think of a woman, which race or ethnicity immediately comes to mind?

Maybe you find that your network is homogenous and that you have been blaming recruiting when you could never really add value to the process. After taking these three steps, did you discover anything, especially on a personal level? You might have even learned if you are part of the problem.

Phase 2: Apply intention.

5. Set your commitment to connect with under-represented people you worked with in the past. Thoughtfully ask if they’d be willing to help you, and if so, ask them how they felt by your association, especially how they were treated by you.

6. Commit to creating a change within yourself.

7. Be intentional in your commitment to equity. Identify the inequitable practices at your company that would deter, prevent, or disadvantage someone from landing a role with you.

Phase 3: Take action based on what you’ve learned.

8. Attend conferences that are focused on people from systemically overlooked groups. (Including now – every industry has pivoted to virtual conferences and webinars.)

9. Retool your job requisitions for outdated discriminatory language.

10. Be intentional about connecting with folks from systemically overlooked groups. Start building your personal pipeline, so you have candidates at the ready the next time you’re filling a role.

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