Over the past several months, I have proffered 15 tips you can use to create inclusive organizational environments. To summarize and for easy reference, I have listed these tips below with a hyperlink to each blog post:
Next Post: February 24, 2014 – The 3 Barriers to Effective Multicultural Communication
Facilitate a cultural audit and make changes as needed. A cultural audit evaluates your organization’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to diversity practices related to recruitment, selection, retention, training, performance management, customer service, compensation and the use of outside vendors. For example, an audit might pose questions such as:
Hold a series of town hall meetings. These meetings, which are open to all organizational members, provide a forum for discussing topics of common interest (e.g., diversity issues). The goal of these meetings is to build a stronger community through the open exchange of information and ideas. Town hall meetings offer several benefits including improved organizational communication, enhanced decision-making regarding diversity efforts, a greater sense of ownership and involvement on part of employees/community members, and reduced confusion and miscommunication regarding diversity goals and activities.
Next Post: February 10, 2014 – Creating a Climate for Diversity: Tip #15
If your organization holds off-site meetings, conferences and seminars, consider hosting some of these events at a local cultural institution such as a museum of Native American or African American History. These facilities generally offer meeting services and the participants will have an opportunity to interact in a culturally diverse setting. Keep in mind there are many centers to choose from. Some examples include the Latino Arts Center, Chinese Cultural Center, Irish Cultural Center, German Cultural Center, Jewish Historical Society, Japan Society, Korea Society, and Hispanic Society of America. Simply type "cultural center" in your favorite Internet search engine and you will find your local options.
Next Post: February 3, 2014 – Creating a Climate for Diversity: Tip #14
Start resource groups for underrepresented group members. A resource group is an internal association dedicated to the professional development of a specific cultural group (e.g., LGBT, Asian-Americans and women). These groups provide an excellent networking source for the members and can significantly improve retention within an organization. To make sure your resource groups are successful, keep the following points in mind:
Next Post: January 27, 2014 – Creating a Climate for Diversity: Tip #13
Provide performance coaching for every employee. Performance coaching consists of feedback provided by a leader to a staff member on an ongoing basis. Effective coaching improves work quality and productivity, develops skills, increases confidence and enhances an employees’ overall work experience. Successful performance coaching typically includes three steps:
Next Post: January 20, 2014 – Creating a Climate for Diversity: Tip #12
Provide a mentor for every new employee. Mentoring is a series of conversations between a mentor and a protege that is designed to enhance the protege’s overall development. When done effectively, mentoring offers several benefits for new employees including an increased likelihood of personal and professional success, greater awareness of organizational politics and culture, improved job satisfaction, and an increased commitment to the organization. Here are a few tips to ensure your mentoring program is successful:
Next Post: October 10, 2013 – Creating a Climate for Diversity: Tip #10
Facilitate a brown bag educational series. This lunchtime activity is a good way to facilitate social interaction across cultural differences, and to provide employees with a helpful learning experience. The participants bring their lunch and take part in an educational seminar of interest to the group. You can enhance the success of the series by identifying topics of interest in advance, and then identifying effective speakers to facilitate each topic. Here are some examples:
Next Post: October 7, 2013 – Creating a Climate for Diversity: Tip #9
Make sure the work environment supports the physically challenged. You can find out if your organization meets accessibility standards by visiting the website for the Americans with Disabilities Act (www.ada.gov) and reviewing the design standards (revised in 2010) and other guidelines provided on the site. There are Technical Assistance Materials such as ADA Update: A Primer for Small Business and Revised ADA Requirements. There is also an Information Line that provides assistance with the ADA and how to comply with its guidelines, as well as a video library that includes content such as Ten Employment Myths and Ten Small Business Mistakes.
Next Post: October 3, 2013 – Creating a Climate for Diversity: Tip #8
Formally assess the diversity climate and make changes as needed. The best way to evaluate the diversity climate is to ask employees how they feel about the organization and the environment. Many organizations do this in the form of employee attitude surveys. The most important element of this process is to analyze the results on a demographic basis. In other words, determine how employees from different groups (e.g., age, race, gender, tenure) feel about the organization. For instance, are there significant differences between employees who have been in the organization for 10 years and those who joined in the past 2 years? Do women experience any aspects of the environment differently than men? Do members of underrepresented groups have significantly different opinions than those in the majority? Answers to questions such as these will help you understand the extent to which you have established a culturally inclusive environment.
Next Post: September 30, 2013 – Creating a Climate for Diversity: Tip #7
Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes is an author, speaker, coach and consultant. He helps his clients develop the skills needed to communicate, resolve conflict, solve problems and improve performance in diverse organizational settings.