Diversity & Inclusion Efforts That Really Work


David Pedulla writes in the Harvard Business, May 12, 2020

In a recent symposium led by Stanford and Harvard professors, the most effective strategies for enhancing diversity and inclusion in organizations were explored. In this comprehensive article, David Pedulla highlights the key findings that emerged from the discussions.

To begin with, it is crucial for organizations to establish clear goals, gather relevant data, and hold individuals accountable for driving diversity improvements within the company. By setting tangible objectives and implementing measurement systems, progress can be tracked and meaningful change can be achieved.

Traditional discrimination and harassment reporting systems often result in retaliation, hindering progress in fostering inclusion. Therefore, it is recommended that organizations shift away from such systems and instead embrace alternative approaches. Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs), ombuds offices, and transformative dispute resolution systems not only reduce the likelihood of retaliation but also serve as catalysts for organizational transformation.

Another critical aspect is ensuring that technologies used in hiring and promotion processes are not inherently biased. By thoroughly examining and testing these tools, organizations can eliminate bias and promote equal opportunities for all individuals.

Tokenism should be avoided at all costs. Merely fulfilling diversity quotas without providing genuine support and opportunities for underrepresented individuals undermines the integrity of diversity and inclusion efforts. Companies must prioritize creating an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive based on their merits.

Lastly, involving managers and leaders from the outset of diversity programs is vital. By engaging these key individuals early on, their buy-in is secured, which leads to seamless implementation and successful integration of diversity initiatives throughout the organization.

He outlines the Five Best Practices as

  1. Collect, Count, and Compare
  2. Deploy Alternative Complaint Systems
  3. Test for Biased Technology
  4. Beware of the Small-N Problem
  5. Involve Managers from the Start

In summary, the symposium's best practices for effective diversity and inclusion efforts can be condensed into five core principles: collecting, counting, and comparing data; implementing alternative complaint systems; testing for biased technology; avoiding tokenism; and engaging managers and leaders from the beginning. By following these guidelines, organizations can truly drive positive change and foster an inclusive environment for all employees.

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