I was recently asked how companies can create a strategy to advance current and future diverse talent in the workplace. It's unfortunate that we need a strategy to treat everyone fairly, but that's the nature of the beast these days. Here are a couple of things that rose to the top of my mind when I considered this question.
Achieving equity requires actively correcting inequities enjoyed by some and not others. In order to advance diverse talent and create equity in the workplace, those with power have to be willing to relinquish it for the greater good of the company. When I say relinquish I mean let go for a while and allow someone else an opportunity or a seat at the table.
The first thing that must be done is ensure an equal opportunity for employees to be recognized. If you are managing multiple sites, ensure each site has employee celebrations and recognition is spread across. Do not limit your recognition and celebrations to headquarters only. It makes employees at other sites feel inferior. As if all of their hard work was for nothing. Also, ask all department heads to submit their high achievers for recognition. This will encourage diversity and not allow the same people to receive awards each time.
Checks and Balances
Secondly, have a checks and balances system in place. Ensuring equal pay or fair pay is a huge issue. Some companies share the entire workforce’s salaries annually to show transparency. I am not sure I agree with this methodology, but it is a good start. I recommend taking it a step further. Create an accountability board consisting of leaders and staff to review any promotion and/or salary disputes. This board’s review results will be public to the entire staff along with its rationale. This will go a long way to build equity among the entire workforce as it gives them insight into how promotions and salary increases are recommended and approved. Accountability such as this provides knowledge and visibility into the sometimes "secretive" discussions and allows the employees to feel included in the process.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of possibilities but it is a start for an HR executive seeking to improve equity and inclusion in their company. It will not be perfect and you will make mistakes, but the important thing is you are moving your company forward.
About Shantera Chatman
Shantera is the President of PowHer Consulting and a transformation consultant with experience in corporate culture, diversity, equity & inclusion, and organizational change management (OCM). She is a member of the ALLY faculty and specializes in building allyship within organizations. Hire her for 121 and/or group coaching sessions and follow her through ALLY for more info on her consulting services.