Salvador Ordorica is the CEO of The Spanish Group LLC, a first-class international translation service that translates over 90 languages.
We hear a lot about “having conversations” around diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and many business leaders eagerly express their willingness to create a more diverse workplace culture for their employees. However, it’s still rare to see a company take meaningful, internal action to create a more inclusive environment.
Part of the problem is that companies overly rely on consultants and seminars rather than actually changing the larger culture of the company. While a workshop on tolerance may be able to offer important information and lessons to employees, it provides little progress toward any real, long-term change.
In this post, I have listed three steps I have personally seen companies make that have resulted in tangible progress.
1. Cast a wide net amidst change.
This may not apply to every business, but for many companies, we are in the midst of great upheaval in the workplace. With the “Great Resignation” and the increased desire for remote work options, the face of the business world is undergoing dramatic changes.
To adapt, you must use new and more efficient technological tools and, at the same time, find and train workers with whole new skill sets than what you required before. While this is a complex issue to navigate, it offers an opportune time to address any diversity or equity issues hindering your business.
As you change and develop your policies, emphasize tactics that will allow you to balance out the worker pools you are drawing from. Inclusive internships and scholarships can help attract skilled individuals from all sorts of backgrounds.
The growth of remote work is perhaps the most straightforward and obvious gift to enhancing the cultural diversity of your workforce. Without geographical barriers and with more options than ever for overcoming language gaps, you can cast the net far and wide for the most qualified workers from all over the globe.
Over time, with emphasis put on equitable education policies and taking the time to look for qualified experts in new geographic areas, you will naturally build a skilled workforce with diverse backgrounds and business approaches.
2. Create systems of accountability.
You need to have an attainable goal for your diversity and equity initiatives and a way to measure your progress toward this goal. The more you can justify your decisions with data and work towards a socially noble goal, the easier these conversations will be.
For example, if you want to see more Black females in positions of leadership, then create a training or mentorship program that can help to promote this goal. If you don’t see results, then you can justify attempting another method.
With concrete goals in place, you will be able to better hold managers accountable for diversity and equity initiatives. Over time, thinking and acting this way will begin to change the culture and makeup of your organization to one that is more diverse and inclusive.
3. Meet your people where they are.
Businesses that see the most success in finding and retaining top talent can offer training materials, further educational opportunities, and a company culture that welcomes people from all backgrounds.
Localizing is a great way to show employees and customers that you care enough to understand them and speak with them in ways they are most comfortable with. Well-put-together localization efforts have been demonstrated to boost retention rates.
I don’t just mean language localization but the adoption of a broader culture. Sound localization allows you to better reflect and better connect with people in other parts of the world on a deeper level. This might include music, humor, stories, and more.
Start by looking at your onboarding process and the training materials you present. Make sure your efforts amount to more than a simple word-for-word translation of company materials. Use language experts who understand the culture and industry when crafting internal training materials, and allow them to adapt the materials to this new audience. Many companies will even bring in local musicians or comedians to help augment the content, as they tend to have the best handle on the local culture.
A great example of this was a client of ours in the manufacturing field. They used several acronyms in their training materials that amounted to easy-to-remember sayings in English, but when they brought these processes over to Asia, they had a great deal of difficulty getting local employees to remember (what they thought of as) relatively easy steps. We helped them rewrite their operational manual in such a way that they could create new, easy-to-remember instructional rhymes for training purposes.
Good For Society And Good For Business
Research regularly shows that more diverse organizations are usually more innovative and profitable than their less diverse counterparts.
Help build a workplace with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and points of view and let them feel welcome and able to contribute more effectively. We must make tangible efforts to increase the intellectual potential of our organizations and help our workplaces better reflect society at large.
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