“It’s hard to go into a situation where you are the drastic minority and feel like an equal.”

– a close friend of mine, who is often in the drastic minority

Hey Mary, I want to make my workplace more inclusive. What should I do?Oaklandish

  • Get educated
  • Take action
  • Measure success

Get Educated

Inclusion includes everyone, so read up on the issues that impact people who are different than you. Some suggestions:

Take Action

Is your company already tracking diversity statistics? If not, that’s Step 0. If so, great! Dig into the data – does the ratio of men to women change as employees move higher up in the organization? Analyze the data to identify the problem areas. Then, propose concrete actions to address the problems.

Are your hiring practices biased? Most likely they are, because of unconscious bias. Train recruiters, hiring managers, and employees about unconscious bias. Update your job descriptions and interviewing processes to reduce bias (some suggestions in this talk by Elaine Marino).

Is your team diverse? If no, then see hiring practices. If yes, then is it inclusive? Diversity is not the same as inclusivity. Invite all voices and perspectives into the conversation. Plan team events that appeal to each member – not always “Let’s go out for drinks after work.” Recognize and celebrate differences.

Measure Success

Is your team happy? Conduct anonymous surveys to assess team health. This data is a powerful tool when working with upper management to implement concrete changes.

Keep track of the diversity stat trends over time. Are things improving…or not?