With Black History Month happening now, it’s a great opportunity to have conversations within your organization about diversity and what that really means to your team and how that translates into building a better workplace. As a person of color who has worked in diverse corporate environments and has seen many attempts to tackle this topic, here are my suggestions for being an advocate for diverse workplaces.
It Has to be Important to Management
In order to make any change in an organization, leadership has to take these topics seriously. If it isn’t important to the top people in the company, it will become painfully obvious to everyone down the hierarchy. Leadership needs to become the real champions of diversity and continuously think about how to solve the issues that come with having a diverse workplace.
Leaders have to lead.
Have a Committee
That said, it will definitely help to bring in people within the organization to be advocates to help leadership drive home the messages and solutions that need to implemented. This committee also needs to be as diverse as possible and you can achieve this by finding “representatives” for all the different groups that form your workplace. However, please be careful in being sensitive to subtle differences within those groups as well – for example, lumping all Asian groups under one umbrella group doesn’t always make sense.
Have Conversations and Cultural Exchanges
By bringing all these groups together, you create a platform for conversation between them that helps foster understanding and empathy. Being exposed to more ideas and learning more about a group or individual’s history can only help to make people more aware and appreciative of the differences between us.
Find Ways to Educate
Lastly, bring in outside resources to help facilitate discussion or to give talks on how diversity has affected them in their lives. Explore all the different angles to talk about diversity within your organizations – bring in filmmakers, documentaries, authors, even personal accounts from within the workplace.
Let’s learn more about each other!
If you need help finding these resources, FitPros is happy to help with our roster of great speakers – send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help get the discussions started!