UPS Longitudes | 5 Strategies for Creating an Inclusive Workplace
Pooja Jain Link and Julia Taylor Kennedy @ CTI | Trudy Bourgeois @ The Center for Workforce Excellence
Women of color are entering the workforce in greater numbers than ever before, bringing education, ambition, and diverse ideas and experiences with them. As a result, they offer corporations a potent force of insight and innovation that will be increasingly needed to meet the needs of a diverse customer base. Yet, despite the value that women of color represent for companies, they’re rarely given leadership positions, not to mention roles in the C-suite. Presently, there are no female black or Latina CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
As a result, they offer corporations a potent force of insight and innovation increasingly needed to meet the needs of a diverse customer base.
5 Strategies for Creating an Inclusive Workplace
Now, more than ever, any company that wants to realize the full potential of its employees should be taking action to create safe and inclusive workplaces where women of color can achieve their full potential.
“Leaders can make women of color feel valued and included by prizing authenticity over conformity.”
We’ve compiled five facts employers, leaders and managers can use:
1) Emphasize the business case for diversity and inclusion.
There are many reasons why American workplaces must change, but a significant one is that the country is changing demographically, as a recent U.S. Census Bureau report makes clear.
Consequently, companies need diverse leaders who reflect the changing marketplace. Our research finds that when workplace teams reflect their target customers, the entire team is more than twice as likely to innovate effectively for their end users.
2) Recognize bias.
No matter how well prepared women of color are, they won’t get a seat at the table unless those at the table allow them to pull up a chair. Companies can take steps to make this happen.
One multinational company, for example, developed a leadership program that not only puts high-potential employees on the management track but also targets the supervisors who select the candidates. In de-biasing trainings, supervisors learned to recognize and control their inclinations to nominate candidates who were similar to themselves and instead acknowledge great candidates of color.
Black women employees who participated in this reported feeling more engaged and better positioned for advancement opportunities. More importantly, their supervisors committed to offering these women leadership opportunities within one year.