How Diversity and Inclusion Strategies Can Improve Your Work Environment

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are imperatives of a successful workforce. A good leader who can foster a feeling of unity and set themselves up as an ally to mistreated or marginalized employees can help improve the overall workplace environment.

An ally is generally seen as someone who identifies with a mistreated or marginalized group in solidarity or gives support to that group in the ongoing effort to affect change. Naturally, an ally only requires an open mind and a compassionate heart to become one. America is a cosmopolitan society that experiences the challenge of workplace discrimination and mistreatment, even in the tiniest form. You need to be a better ally as a leader to help reduce and ultimately eliminate these issues.

Allies in history have typically assisted movements formed by marginalized groups. They have used their status, access, and privilege to help some mistreated groups gain emancipation from oppression imposed due to the societal, political, or legal status quo of their time. Interestingly, some of the original allies were the lawmakers who passed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. They were 516 white congressmen and just 14 women and five black men of the 88th Congress. This minority formed just 3.5% of the entire 535-man congress and became allies involved in the passing of this landmark employment law.

Today, the 117th Congress has transformed to include 143 women, 59 Black men, and 333 White congressmen. Also, between 1950 and 2010, the percentage of women in the workforce grew from 34% to 60%, indicating the impact of a group of allies who stepped in to make a difference in the transformation of the workforce demographics.

Importance of Diversity to Business

The strategic business model requires deliberate integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). Diversity of talent that serves a variety of markets has proven to make many companies successful. To be a better ally, a leader plays a pivotal role in integrating DE&I. Allies are the trainers, educators, and sponsors of the strategic work that is done daily to achieve the goals and objectives of an inclusive organization. At the tables of decision, their representation has broadened global ideas and helped in the development of robust management structures in companies across the globe.

Challenges to Implementing DE&I

Three important challenges confront leaders, allies, and marginalized individuals and groups, in driving for a more diverse and inclusive organization. These include:

  • The overwhelming nature of the massive amount of work to be done.
  • Delay in the tangible impact of partnerships needed to advance the strategic diversity initiatives.
  • Sabotage by leaders who are not willing to create a more inclusive workplace.

How to Overcome These Challenges

Leaders of mistreated groups and allied leaders must remain committed to create a more inclusive environment. Here are some strategies to overcome work-related challenges:

  • Develop an inclusive relationship that extends beyond the corporate leadership with the relevant executive-level managers in the organization.
  • Target the buy-ins and support of the C-Suite with a compelling and beneficial business case presentation.
  • Present a fact-finding and audit report of the organization’s DE&I practices to the C-Suite.

Benefits of Allyship to Leaders

  • The skills and competencies developed as an allied leader are universal and transferable.
  • Personal branding and reputation of allies may be enhanced due to their impact in the DE&I space.
  • The direction of an organization may transform towards a more inclusive DE&I as a result of the leadership demonstrated by allies.

As a leader, making a case for DE&I in your organization requires tenacity, development, and partnership. The strategies outlined will help you be a better ally and promote workforce DE&I. For more in-depth insights on non-profit insurance coverage, contact the experts at Colorado Nonprofit Insurance Agency, part of HUB International in Denver, Colorado at 303-894-0298. We will help you find the best coverage for your organization.