Best Practices

Diversity & Inclusion

5 tests for authenticity
It’s hard to find a company website today that doesn’t include a Diversity & Inclusivity section. Having a D&I program is now assumed to be table stakes for recruiting and retaining talent (particularly Millennial and Gen Z talent). It’s also helpful to have the employee population reflect the diversity of the customers they serve.

But D&I is a topic that demands authenticity. Overstating the reality of your diversity progress can backfire. It’s one of those areas where it’s important to show it before you say it.

It’s also important to recognize that achieving diversity and inclusion can be a long process. Ideally, diversity and inclusion would be integrated into the entire employee experience, from recruiting to benefits to leadership training, so that it truly becomes indigenous to your culture.

As you’re communicating diversity and inclusion at your company, keep in mind that most organizations aren’t quite there yet, and there’s no need to pretend that yours is. Being on a journey towards greater diversity and inclusion, and making it a priority in your business, is a realistic place to be.

How far along is your organization in making diversity and inclusion a reality? See these five tests for authenticity:

Who’s on your board?

If your board is almost exclusively white men, then it’s fair to say you’re not finished with your diversity and inclusion efforts. For encouraging signs, take a look at the management levels below the C-suite. If you see a range of diversity across managers — such as women, people of color, people with disabilities, and those who identify as other than cisgender, then that’s good news.

Are your healthcare plans inclusive?

Including same-sex partners is a good start, but healthcare policies that cover diverse needs like gender reassignment surgery can be indicators of a more inclusive culture. Covering mental health care, substance abuse treatment, weight loss surgery and even acupuncture also signal a higher awareness of diverse needs across the employee population.

Do employees feel supported in their religious lives?

A diverse workforce might include a number of different faith traditions. Do your Muslim employees feel comfortable observing their prayer schedule during the workday? Are Catholic employees able to adjust their schedules to attend Ash Wednesday or Good Friday services? If you have offices in India, do you avoid booking meetings on Gandhi Jayanti?

How active are your ERGs?

Sometimes Employee Resource Groups are little more than membership lists of people representing a certain segment of the population. But when ERGs have frequent meetings, events and ongoing communications, they help bring diversity and inclusion to life. Being able to share challenges and solutions can provide valuable support for employees who may not look (or feel) like everybody else at work.

Do your internal communications reflect diverse faces?

Forced diversity in stock photography can ring false, but whenever you shoot employee photography or video, work to include a diverse representation of your people. On the other hand, avoid making any employee the token something, like always showing that one hijab-wearing engineer or the one manager in a wheelchair. Hopefully, you have a range of diverse employees to feature.

How can we help?

Tribe does internal communications – and that’s all we do. We’re a full-service shop, from audits and strategy to creative and production.

Steve Baskin
President and Chief Strategy Officer
Office: (404) 256-5858
Mobile: (404) 663-7910
[email protected]