Over the past 10 years, creating inclusive and diverse workplaces has become an increasingly pivotal focus for leaders. In fact, according to Gallup, many organisations are hiring for diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) roles, re-assessing their DE&I strategies, and publicly pledging to support more diverse and inclusive workplaces. Seeing this trend continue to gain momentum is hugely affirming.
Of equal importance is the fact that fostering more inclusive cultures makes sound business sense. Some research has found that diversity and inclusion initiatives can lead to greater market share, as well as boosting productivity and innovation.
So, the data exists to convince organisations of the importance of DE&I to their business. However, despite increased commitment and focus on the issue, there is still much work to be done: in 2020, Gartner found that just 13 per cent of HR leaders felt their organisation had been effective at increasing diversity representation. So, what else can organisations do, and what does building a long-lasting, impactful DE&I strategy actually involve?
Setting individual DE&I goals
Organisations can begin the work of creating a more inclusive workplace culture. One approach is through DE&I coaching. Unlike one-off workshops or large group training, coaching is typically conducted in one-on-one settings and is an ongoing process. It’s much more time-intensive, but it’s an approach that truly encourages engagement and long-term behavioural change.
DE&I is a journey, never a destination
It’s important to understand that the journey of becoming an inclusive organisation does not have one singular destination – it’s an ongoing process. There are, of course, measurable outcomes associated with DE&I coaching, but there is no end to the breadth of knowledge an individual or wider organisation can have.
Embarking on a DE&I strategy to create a more equitable and inclusive workplace culture is no easy feat. It involves a lot of difficult discussions and introspection, and the lack of a ‘finish line’ can be daunting. The process of creating an inclusive workplace culture is certainly nuanced and complex, but by incorporating coaching into the wider strategy, organisations and leaders can drive tangible change.