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How Companies Can Maintain Long-Term Diversity Commitments

Over the course of the last year, companies have started to focus on diversifying teams more than ever before. Social justice movements like Black Lives Matter have pushed leaders to make public commitments toward diversity efforts. Now, leaders should start to assess whether their strategies for implementing diversity were successful.

To ensure leaders maintain their commitments, 11 Newsweek Expert Forum members shared their advice. Here’s how they recommend evaluating and maintaining your company’s promise to prioritize diversity.

1. Be Transparent

The key to maintaining diversity commitments within a company’s organization is to demonstrate full transparency and visibility from the leaders of the organization. This process is often deemed an HR “fad” where long-term strategies are not fully aligned with the employees sitting at the bottom of the organization. This should be a shared-fate initiative throughout the entire organization. – Michael Davis, Merek Security Solutions, LLC

2. Lead With a ‘People First’ Philosophy

As a Minnesota-based firm, our company and employees were personally affected by the protests. My son knew the man who lost his life when the Minnesota police officer used a gun rather than a laser. Our first commitment was to demonstrate empathy and remind everyone that this is not about statistics—it’s about people. Our ongoing commitment is to communicate and celebrate incremental change. – Cheri Beranek, Clearfield

3. Have Built-In Checks and Balances

Diverse organizations are better, leading to a richer employee culture, a wider idea pool and more robust organizations. Organizations must build in the right internal policies, checks and balances. Fair policies are appreciated by employees and customers, as social media increases transparency. Humanistic capitalism is the way forward; diversity is a great opportunity for brand building. – Sumit Aneja, Voxco Survey Software

4. Make Diversity the Norm

The key to maintaining a diversity strategy is not to force it. Bring awareness, but there is no need to mandate action. Mandating equals resistance and resentment to the very idea and the people that it affects. Bringing awareness by automatically including others of all backgrounds allows the company to subconsciously weave it into the fabric of the company. That allows others to accept it as the norm. – Nickquolette Barrett, iRock Development Solutions, LLC dba iRock Résumés

5. Have Purpose Behind Your Plans

Revise your plan and identify roadblocks that get in the way of inclusivity. Most DEI task forces and culture teams were created in the response to #blacklivesmatter and #asianlivesmatter protests, yet do they have a clear and measurable purpose that aligns with a company vision? Be specific about the metrics and progress evaluation. Make sure that DEI is your true “north star” and not just lip service. – Inga Arianna Bielinska, Inga Arianna Bielinska

6. Create Open Lines of Communication

Layoffs, failed partnerships/deals and unmet goals are all stressful and disappointing events but they happen. Speak to it. As a leader, explain what happened and speak to what you know and what you don’t know. Clear, concise and honest communication will build trust and will enhance discretionary efforts. – Kevin Vallely, The AIP Group

7. Cultivate a Tolerant Team Environment

The keys to staying committed to diversity in organizations are employing diverse team members and creating an environment that is tolerant of your teams’ differences. Having a diverse team allows an organization to see business and life from different perspectives while creating a diversity-tolerant environment allows team members to be themselves without fear of being ostracized. – Matt Drayton, Drayton Communications LLC

8. Start at the Top

A company’s commitment to diversity or anything else depends on whether these values are woven into the very fabric of the brand and culture, which starts at the top. A brand’s authentic dedication to anything emanates from within and is evident in everything it does when it’s sincere. But if a brand is just tacking on diversity like an accessory to look good, it won’t read as genuine or stick. – April Margulies, Trust Relations

9. Be Realistic About Change

The key to maintaining diversity initiatives is to ensure the ideas you share with your community are in line with the mission, vision and values of the company culture. Often these initiatives aren’t sustainable because they are aspirational and not rooted in the reality of how the company operates. It’s important for the organization to be realistic about what needs to change to achieve the goals. – LaKesha Womack, Womack Consulting Group

10. Involve Your Employees in Diversity Efforts

The key is consistency of visibility and sincerity. Make a conscious effort to ensure one is not following a fad. Encourage communication lines to be open from the bottom up. Involve the employees to define the organization’s vision and version of diversity. Employees should determine what is acceptable and what is not tolerated from a diversity perspective because they face diversity issues more. – Vipp Jaswal, VM Inc

11. Understand its Importance to You and Your Business

It’s difficult to maintain a commitment long term because then it’s something you’re using as a guideline and need to constantly think about rather than as a guiding factor. Culture drift is a real threat to any organization and teaching yourself to truly think differently about diversity and how important it is to an organization can lead to lasting improvements. – Noah Mitsuhashi,

This content was originally published here.

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