The benefits of diversity in the workplace have long been studied and found to make excellent business sense. But often we leave the execution and follow through of our company’s diversity efforts to others. Sometimes, competing priorities means that your company may not be as fully engaged as is required to actually reap the benefits.
No matter what level you are within your company, you can have a positive impact on inclusion in your workplace. As much as we’d like upper management to understand and always act with diversity and inclusion in mind, it is incumbent upon anyone who believes this is important to play a role in ushering in a culture of inclusion.
Don’t wait for a training program, a new company policy or an expert to share best practices. With the positive intention of fostering constructive connection, take the initiative to reach out to others.
Here are a few simple steps you can easily take without needing permission from your boss or the HR department.
- Show a new person around and introduce her to your teammates, or colleagues in other departments.
- Invite a coworker who tends to eat alone to join you for lunch. Or bring your lunch and ask to sit and chat with him.
- When new projects or assignments come up, suggest the names of team members who aren’t often considered for such opportunities. Be sure to specify what they might contribute.
- Interact across silos. You might share a cup of coffee or tea with a person from another department. Get to know more about what he does. Demonstrate your respect and appreciation for her role in the organization.
It’s not top down policies that promote and sustain a culture of inclusion. It’s what each of us does day-to-day that makes diversity and inclusion a reality.