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Diversity And Inclusion In The Workplace - The Role of Leaders

Updated: May 8, 2021

As a leader and business owner, you need to be aware that stating that you have diversity and inclusion policies in the workplace isn't enough. You need to actually have a strategy in place so it can be embraced by all employees and especially managers. After all, managers are the ones responsible for guiding and leading individuals and teams. If they're not on board with the strategy you developed, it won't get far.

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace involve:

  • Getting leaders and managers on board

  • Empowering managers to lead as inclusive leaders

  • Understanding how manager commitment impacts engagement

A recent Quantum Workplace survey was conducted where employees should finish the sentence: "When it comes to diversity and inclusion strategies, my immediate manager is…"

While almost 50% of employees saw their immediate managers supportive with both diversity and inclusion and 24% said their managers were committed to it, the truth is that more than one fourth still expressed that their managers are undecided, unaware, or opposed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

As you can understand, the role of the immediate manager has a tremendous impact on employee engagement. This means that companies need to define the experience they want employees to have.

Employees who believe their immediate managers are opposed to, unaware of, or undecided about diversity and inclusion strategies are less engaged than employees who believe their managers are supportive of or committed to those strategies. It's also important to note that employees are also less engaged when they have no idea about their immediate manager's ideas about diversity and inclusion.

While some managers aren't confident speaking about diversity and inclusion, they can show their real commitment in different forms such as:

  • Setting ground rules before meetings

  • Welcoming those topics during team discussions

  • Talking about topics openly

  • Sharing research and articles on diversity and inclusion

  • Asking for feedback from employees

Getting Leaders And Managers On Board With Diversity And Inclusion

As we mentioned above, the entire company or organization needs to embrace the strategy for diversity and inclusion. It needs to come from the top.

#1: Why Are Diversity And Inclusion Important?

Before you start talking about the subjects, it's important that you have a complete understanding of these topics and why they are important for your company. This will allow you to teach leaders and managers why it is important and why these goals should be pursued.

#2: Offer Diversity And Inclusion Sessions, Workshops, Or Training:

One of the best ways to talk about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace is through sessions, workshops, or training. These should be specifically tailored to leaders and managers, so they can understand the impact of their decisions on diverse employees as well as the challenges employees face.

#3: Implement Diversity And Inclusion Activities:

Another thing you can do is to implement diversity and inclusion activities. To make sure managers understand how they can make an impact, you can allow them to create cross-functional teams to make decisions and problem solve as a unit. This will allow them to hear from a variety of voices and experiences on how to tackle workplace issues together. This gives managers the opportunity to reinforce the importance of understanding everyone’s perspectives while building team morale.

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