Building Diversity: Why it Starts with Your Company’s Employee Value Proposition
We can Google a checklist for anything these days, and workplace diversity is no exception. Diversity checklists from numerous countries show up in the search, reminding us that workplace diversity is of global interest—we are working within a globalized economy and within a multicultural workforce. Organizations that do not have a strong diversity and inclusion culture may invite lower productivity, higher absenteeism, and higher turnover resulting in higher costs to the company, as well as lose-out on valuable diversity of thought and talent.
Does your company have its own diversity and inclusion checklist for 2013?
Does your checklist contain what really matters to your diverse workers?
Is your checklist meaningful within your unique company culture?
Instead of merely “starting at the top” for diversity initiatives and investing time in checking-off affinity groups, trainings and communication plans, start by figuring out what really matters to the people you are intending to serve.
An employee value proposition (EVP) authentically communicates what employees “give” and what they “get” from the company in return. What they get in return is not just the tangibles, such as benefits; it also includes aspects of the company culture that may attract and engage employees. A company may have its values or mission statement posted, but there are other often unspoken values within a culture.
For example, two companies may both expect long hours, but one may give flexibility of the hours worked, whereas the other company may give more flexibility in defining and evolving the role for expansion. In other words, an employee may be willing to put in the extra hours, but may value one type of flexibility over the other. Do you truly know what is valued by your employees, not just what is offered in return?
An EVP should make the “give” and “get” transparent while simultaneously understanding what “aspirational” aspects of the culture are desired by diverse groups. By starting with internal research, such as focus groups with your diverse employees, you can learn what makes your company attractive within the give and get, while at the same time learning more about the gaps. You can justify doing “more” of what you are already doing well, in addition to strategically prioritizing your program resources for addressing gaps that are of highest value to your diverse talent. In your current diversity program, are you focusing on what is valued most or what is most common to include in a program?
Applicants and employees can universally admire a company’s transparency and realistic understanding of its culture—both its strengths and current gaps. Empower your diverse talent to be active partners in defining the give, get, and gaps in your diversity culture. Pull out that checklist and make sure that you know what matters most to your talent as you build your culture of diversity as a unique relationship between your company and your diverse talent.