Customers, suppliers and vendors increasingly expect their partners to have culturally relevant workforces. Ingram Micro Diversity Council member and U.S. VP of HR Kendra Angier provides 10 steps for building a diverse workplace.
1. Drive from the top. Diverse workforces are a strategic imperative and a strategic advantage. Leadership must champion diversity’s importance to ensure the desired outcome.
2. Examine your cultural relevance. Review your value chain, including suppliers, vendors and customers. Evaluate if your team mirrors the diversity of your partners. Develop strategies to become more culturally and socially relevant in the marketplace.
3. Audit your business. Does your culture embrace diversity and innovation? Identify leadership strengths and gaps. Create formal and informal vehicles for developing, retaining and promoting talent.
4. Consider your communities. Analyze the communities that serve as your talent pool, and identify forums, conferences, seminars or other professional activities where your firm’s participation will lead to diverse new hires.
5. Develop a blueprint. Create a formal diversity program or update your existing program. Include metrics and milestones to provide feedback on which activities are successful and where attention is needed.
6. Provide mentorships. Match diverse emerging talent with seasoned employees for assistance with navigating the workplace, making networking connections and encouraging career growth.
7. Establish an employee resource group. These groups have considerable impact on an organization’s ability to develop and mentor future leaders, increase employee engagement and expand marketplace reach. Employee resource groups can be a competitive differentiator, helping define strategies to shift market share within key ethnic and demographic areas.
8. Measure progress. To ensure diversity initiatives align with broader goals, apply meaningful metrics such as diverse employee participation in mentoring programs; a mix of diversity in key leadership or customer-facing roles; community outreach efforts; and leadership accountability for hiring and promoting diverse talent.
9. Celebrate accomplishments. From changes in your workforce demographics to community activities, honoring achievements is infectious and helps generate a positive diversity environment.
10. Evolve continuously. Workforce diversity isn’t a once-and-done initiative. Incorporating feedback from employees, customers and stakeholders is key. Ongoing leadership involvement and advocacy is also a must.