Achieve True Lasting Workplace Diversity

As a follow up to my previous post on Diversity, in these times of global competition it is critical that you build a diverse and inclusive culture, to ensure lasting competitive advantage.
Following is a list of 23 immediately actionable strategies that you can follow, in order to  create a diversity-driven and inclusive organizational culture:

  1. Review your existing talent acquisition plan with a renewed focus on where you have sourced talent from in the past (geographic focus) to find new talent sources/pools.

2. Help minority/underrepresented employees on-board and facilitate their integration into your organization’s pre-existing culture is an  absolute imperative.  You want (NEED) your new hires to feel included, welcome and part of the organization from their very first day of employment.
3. Expand your reach into a more diverse talent pool by leveraging local community organizations, such as the Urban League, National Council La Raza, etc.Utilize diversity driven websites such as
4. Emulate the best practices of organizations that have already achieved success in their diversity efforts such as: Ernst & Young, Deloitte, VISA, MasterCard, Duke Energy, Merck, Avon, Nissan, etc.  For a complete list of top firms for diversity, see the Diversity Inc. Top 50 2015.
5. Develop an employee “Refer-a-Friend” program.  As you find employees that fit your culture and expand your diversity base, take a “MORE OF THE SAME” hiring approach.  After all, what worked before surely will work again.
6. Create a well thought out Equal Opportunity Employment policy by following the guidelines/standards put forth by the federal EEOC (  Your GOAL in a DIVERSITY-driven hiring approach should be:
7. Create a “meritorious hiring practice that is…age, race, gender, and minority NEUTRAL.” To wit…

8. Develop and conduct DIVERSITY training.  Begin by teaching your management team all about diversity.
9. Learn from your past mistakes by conducting EXIT interviews for all of your employees. Perhaps the reason an employee left was that they did not feel included or that your organiztion cared about expanded its employee representation to reflect these changing times.

10. Understand the truism that diversity is driven from the top-down, yet it is felt from the bottom-up.  Plant the seeds for your organization’s future diversity growth by bringing in a diverse group of college/high School interns NOW.  Provide scholarships, fellowships, and co-op work experiences to help minorities in college.
11. Establish a diversity policy that is documented in your organization’s annual strategic plan on a recuring year in-year out basis.
12. Include diversity-based questions in your employee surveys, to learn how your peopel are feeling about your efforts towards building a workforce that mirrors the changing denographics of society at large.
13. Set up business resource ‘affinity’ groups in your organization (ex. African-americans, young professionals, Hispanic/Latinos, Gay/lesbian networks, etc.) and track your people retention across each group and by recruiting source.
14. Take a proactive stance to diversity-related public policy issues (ex. Microsoft supported a Washington state gay-rights bill.)
15. You have to serve as a change agent to change the behaviors of your hiring and promotion managers. Ask people in positions of power within your organization: “What/how do you think about ‘difference?’ “
16. Use assessment tools to gauge your people’s “intracultural sensitivity.”
17. Hold your managers accountable to diversity goals by making diversity part of their annual performance objectives. Organizations that set responsibility for diversity achieve better resukts from diversity training, evaluations, and mentoring.
18. Support flexible work arrangements, on-site child daycare, job sharing, and other options.
19. Set quotas in your hiring. Esp. women in engineering like Nissan in Japan.
20. Provide opportunities for rising stars/top performers to receive education and professional development.
21. Offer a formal coaching/mentoring program.
22. Assign a role for a full-time Diversity officer position and create a cross-functional diversity team tasked with achieving your organization’s diversity/inclusion goals.
And saving the most important requirement for last..
23. Your CEO must LEAD BY EXAMPLE. They need to set the tone and walk the walk.
What do you think? Have I missed anything? What do you do in YOUR organization to create a diversity-driven organizationalculture by leveraging inclusive hiring practices?
Here’s to your continued success in 2016 building a powerfully diverse workforce!
– Ethan