By Robin Pedrelli In most organizations, diversity and inclusion is best approached with a top-down, bottom-up strategy. While it’s imperative that D&I efforts are...

By Robin Pedrelli

Robin Pedrelli, co-founder and partner of VisionSpring, Inc

Robin Pedrelli,
co-founder and partner of VisionSpring, Inc

In most organizations, diversity and inclusion is best approached with a top-down, bottom-up strategy. While it’s imperative that D&I efforts are supported by the CEO and actively engages leaders, one cannot discount the impact of employee involvement. Engaging employees at all levels is the most effective way to reach critical mass and communicate the import of diveristy and inclusion. Often employees are eager to join in the process but lack the know-how and confidence to take action. It is important to let employees know that there are many ways to contribute and support D&I efforts and does not necessarily require expertise in the field.

This article offers some concrete tips that are designed to engage employees at all levels within the organization. Remember it is important to commit to the process, value the thoughts and ideas of everyone, and celebrate along the way.

How Employees Can Support Diversity and Inclusion

  1. Know the diversity goals and vision of your organization and its connection to the overall business objectives. Commit to the process by understanding how diversity impacts your role, and how your role impacts the success of the diversity initiative.
  2. Participate in employee engagement surveys and respond as openly and honestly as possible. Finding an internal champion with whom you can comfortably express concerns and/or elicit advice can be instrumental in supporting your efforts.
  3. Actively engage in the diversity effort. You can take part in or start an Employee Resource Group, or volunteer to chair or serve on committees that organize diversity-related events and activities. Consider becoming a mentor, mentee, or part of a co-mentoring relationship. These activities require a commitment of time, but represent a valuable opportunity for personal and professional development.
  4. Become culturally competent. Take the time to learn about different cultures, races, religions and backgrounds represented by your colleagues. Ask your coworkers to share some of the customs and practices associated with their cultures. Become familiar with diversity-related terms and, if you err, apologize and ask for help.
  5. Treat people in a way they wish to be treated rather than the way you wish to be treated. Common social activities and practices that are comfortable for you may not be comfortable for everyone. Do not tell offensive jokes that may alienate those who are different from you — even if they are not present at the time. Most importantly, be respectful always. Diversity exists everywhere — not just in the office. Take these diversity principles into your community and your home.
  6. Drive positive change in the organization. Be a spokesperson for diversity issues that are not necessarily your own. Any organization will find it difficult to ignore the powerful voice created when groups representing different diversity dimensions unite.
  7. Welcome ideas that are different from your own, and support fellow teammates. The creativity that comes with diversity can help you generate new ideas or improve a process already in place. It can also make work more interesting, engaging, and fun.
  8. Understand the diversity elements you personally bring to the organization. Diversity comes not only in the form of culture, race, and gender but also includes elements such as socio-economic background, education level, geographic location, sexual orientation, thought, and many others. Each of us brings to the table a lifetime of experiences and knowledge. Each of us is different and adds value to the organization because of these differences.
  9. Commit to continuous improvement. Be willing to learn, accept feedback, and listen to the concerns of those around you. Even the most enlightened individual can find opportunities for growth.
  10. Communicate and educate. Diversity work is a journey, not a destination. It takes time, patience, and perseverance. Be tolerant of coworkers who do not yet appreciate the value of diversity or who may not always behave respectfully. Often, negative behavior comes from ignorance rather than malice. A willingness to educate can go along way.

Robin Pedrelli is the co-founder and partner of VisionSpring, Inc. VisionSpring, Inc. is a WBENC certified, women owned and operated diversity and inclusion consulting firm offering fully integrated strategy development, workforce planning, training and continuous learning solutions to leverage diversity and inclusion to drive innovation and improved business outcomes. We provide customized strategic solutions that address the specific needs of each client and blend workforce, workplace, marketplace and community related goals.

  • university assignment help

    October 10, 2014 #2 Author

    However, several students missing admission in order to their Dream College as well as university but not buying the essential attention to write down That essay, a admission essay.

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  • Harold M. Frost, III, Ph.D.

    October 27, 2014 #3 Author

    Thank
    you, Ms. Robin Pedrelli, for your Guest Blog. Unfortunately it does not mention
    “disability” or the “disabled” as a component of the
    D&I spectrum. And, mention of disability at the web
    site as accessed today (October 27, 2014) for your company VisionSpring, Inc.
    was limited to its
    online calendar for “FEBRUARY 2013 – CULTURAL COMPETENCE,” viz.,
    Articles/White Papers on “Including People with Disabilities in D&I
    Efforts,” plus Research on “Costs and Benefits of Workers with
    Disabilities” and “Effective Strategies to Recruit and Retain Employees
    with Disabilities.” To integrate disability, especially mental
    disability, into your article, perhaps your approach #10 would be where to
    start, such as with communicating with and educating those who initially are
    unwilling to work with the disabled or with certain categories of the disabled,
    with disability being understood, for example, in terms of U.S. statutory laws
    like the ADA of 1990 and the ADAAA of 2008, plus the corresponding provisions in the CFR.

    Reply

    • Suryi

      October 1, 2019 #4 Author

      I believe this entry is outdated, the law has been dramatically changed thru time my friend.
      To integrate disability, especially mental
      disability, into your article, perhaps your approach #10 would be where to
      start, such as with communicating with and educating those who initially are
      unwilling to work with the disabled or with certain categories of the disabled,
      with disability being understood, for example, in terms of U.S. statutory laws
      like the ADA of 1990 and the ADAAA of 2008, plus the corresponding provisions in the CFR.

      Reply

  • EssayTrust

    July 3, 2015 #5 Author

    Once an organization has successfully modified their recruitment and hiring practices to reach a more diverse audience, the next step is to successfully engage and support them as employees.

    Reply

  • Carlene Forbes

    October 26, 2018 #6 Author

    Why bother with the notion of inclusiveness and I say notion because the newly appointed Judge will soon tear it down with guidance from #45. Any strides made will soon disappear.

    Reply

  • SaraDVL

    December 10, 2018 #7 Author

    For diversity practices to be successful, you also need to facilitate an inclusive work culture.

    Reply

  • JOE JOHNSON

    December 26, 2018 #8 Author

    Does anyone there know that the root word for diversity is DIVIDE ? This is truly a divided or diverse country. We are divided by color of the skin, language, religion and culture. Diversity is not what made this country great it was Unity. Comments from a black perspective.

    Reply

  • Paul Rudewicz

    August 15, 2019 #9 Author

    Unfortunately, my experience in diversity resulted in off shoring and loss of jobs locally. That was easily predicted by the employees but the management lied and many lost jobs. Diversity is only the beginning of off shoring and job losses, layoffs etc.

    Reply

  • Tutorialogue

    August 19, 2019 #10 Author

    Diversity on unity

    Reply

  • Behl

    October 1, 2019 #12 Author

    Being culturally competent is I think the most practical for me, I've been working with the most diversified work place in the country and this what works best.

    Reply

    • Scotty

      October 28, 2019 #13 Author

      Communicating with and educating those who initially are
      unwilling to work with the disabled or with certain categories of the disabled,
      with disability being understood, for example, in terms of U.S. statutory laws.

      Reply

  • Scotty

    October 16, 2019 #14 Author

    Treat people in a way they wish to be treated rather than the way you wish to be treated. Common social activities and practices that are comfortable for you may not be comfortable for everyone. Do not tell offensive jokes that may alienate those who are different from you — even if they are not present at the time. Most importantly, be respectful always. Diversity exists everywhere — not just in the office. Take these diversity principles into your community and your home.

    Reply

  • pauline patrick

    October 16, 2019 #15 Author

    Actively engage in the diversity effort. You can take part in or start an Employee Resource Group, or volunteer to chair or serve on committees that organize diversity-related events and activities. Consider becoming a mentor, mentee, or part of a co-mentoring relationship. These activities require a commitment of time, but represent a valuable opportunity for personal and professional development.

    Reply

  • Cleopatra Pamesa

    October 22, 2019 #16 Author

    If we couldn’t measure the impact of our diversity and inclusion efforts and programs, it would be a hard sell among company executives.

    Reply

  • Oliver

    November 4, 2019 #17 Author

    One way to build awareness of diversity and foster greater inclusivity is to be aware of and acknowledge a variety of upcoming religious and cultural holidays. When closing out a team call or meeting, if the audience isn’t too large, ask how people plan to celebrate the holiday. Use your company’s intranet to help employees be aware of and keep track of multicultural religious or holiday celebrations. Be respectful of these days when scheduling meetings, and understand that employees may have different needs and require flexibility.

    Reply

  • Kelsey Freimark

    November 6, 2019 #18 Author

    Diversity has always been an issue for some people especially in the workplace. It does not seem like people welcome different culture into their lives because it is different from theirs. As someone who loves to learn about new cultures and loves to indulge in new atmospheres, it is easy and exciting to meet new people who are different from myself. I think the ways you have addressed would help so much if that instance came along, however, including diversity in a business' agenda is not always the case.

    Reply

  • Dave Slate

    November 10, 2019 #19 Author

    Our recommendation for people who do survive the first day and then week, is to see through a whole year before making any decisions about whether to stay in the long-term. It is important to experience a full cycle of the business and its operations.

    Similarly, the very early days in your own new business have many pressures, excitements and issues with which to deal. We have been there and are thriving; we can help you address the pressing problems and open closed doors.

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  • Bege Wise

    November 29, 2019 #20 Author

    The difference between inherent diversity and acquired diversity is something I’ve never thought of, but when you consider the differences between different generations, for example, it makes sense. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply

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    December 19, 2019 #21 Author

    Know the diversity goals and vision of your organization and its connection to the overall business objectives

    Reply

  • Maurice

    January 8, 2020 #22 Author

    When closing out a team call or meeting, if the audience isn’t too large, ask how people plan to celebrate the holiday. Use your company’s intranet to help employees be aware of and keep track of multicultural religious or holiday celebrations. Be respectful of these days when scheduling meetings, and understand that employees may have different needs and require flexibility.

    Reply

  • Mitogo

    January 9, 2020 #23 Author

    we are all different each others but we are the same. I would emphasize that the term races should be remove in common language and I support the human. the term "race" has the connotation of competition and neglect other group. Therefore, let us support and value all humans regardless the color of their skin and recognize we are all one race, which it is human.
    Thank you
    Mitogo T. Opira, Diversity Supervisor
    JBS FOODS -Plainwell, Michigan

    Reply

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    January 20, 2020 #24 Author

    You know what? This is more common than we think, I work in construction in Canberra and we got lot of these happening in a daily basis, take for example a friend, George unsuccessfully applies for a position with a construction company. When he telephones the company’s personnel manager to ask why he did not get the position, George is told: ‘We’ve employed people from your country before. You lot simply don’t share our work ethic’.

    Li-Huei unsuccessfully applies for a job as a receptionist with a large hotel. When she calls the human resources manager to ask why she did not get the job, she is told that the manager doesn’t want to employ a receptionist with an accent. Nobody knows George and Li, since they didn't make any report or share their stories, but yes it is there, happening.

    Reply

  • Cousin

    January 29, 2020 #25 Author

    Great article. Ignore the naysayers

    Reply

  • arborist newcastle

    January 30, 2020 #26 Author

    Some companies struggle to understand what D&I is or it’s potential value.

    Others understand the subject but haven’t yet implemented or updated relevant policies.

    Spurred by a growing social consciousness, businesses are slowing making a more concerted effort to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

    Reply

  • Ian Pundt

    February 3, 2020 #27 Author

    Always know the diversity goals and vision of your organization and its connection to the overall business objectives.

    Reply

  • Paysagiste Nantes

    February 3, 2020 #28 Author

    Great article Robin, the workplace should be a great place.

    Reply

  • Luke

    February 6, 2020 #29 Author

    I am glad someone like you understands the employees' needs at work.
    Nobody understands employee's sentiments but another employee.

    Reply

  • www.progressiveoffice.com.au

    February 11, 2020 #30 Author

    Diversity and inclusion are nightmares for new employees. This article is such a big help, that there exist a community to help.

    Reply

  • Portland Stamped Concrete Portland, Or

    February 25, 2020 #31 Author

    Not as easy as it sounds though,
    George is told: ‘We’ve employed people from your country before. You lot simply don’t share our work ethic’.

    Li-Huei unsuccessfully applies for a job as a receptionist with a large hotel. When she calls the human resources manager to ask why she did not get the job, she is told that the manager doesn’t want to employ a receptionist with an accent.

    Reply

  • best endoscopist in nj

    February 25, 2020 #32 Author

    Glad that there are employers that have concerns with their employees. Adjustment is not easy. It takes time.

    Reply

  • Lawn Edging Vancouver

    February 28, 2020 #33 Author

    I think it's super important to try to learn about other cultures and where people come from! We all have a different worldview. If we try to understand and come together, we can do much more good than if we ignored it or only supported one way of thinking.

    Reply

  • Mr Appliance Frisco

    March 1, 2020 #34 Author

    One of the best tactics, albeit a pretty expensive one, is to set up a trip and travel abroad to a diverse culture. Travel expands the minds and emersing yourself in a new culture and opens you up to so many experiences.

    Reply

  • Mark Peters

    March 9, 2020 #35 Author

    The landscaping business is notorious for not being very diverse in their celebrations or their choice of employees. As a representative of this industry, I am striving to take my company in a different direction. When we go to schedule any landscaping contracting jobs or lawn care jobs in Edinburg, TX I am making it my personal goal to reach out to every individual customer and asking what needs they have and to be sensitive to special holidays they may be celebrating! I know it's just one location and one business but if we all did this, we would make a larger impact!!

    Reply

  • maxpullmarketing.com

    March 12, 2020 #36 Author

    Research shows that even just the presence of physical diversity results in better performance and for companies that are data-driven, that extra performance boost can be extremely motivating,” Clark says. “It’s also the fact that companies that lack diversity are being called out publicly, and may even be losing business, not to mention falling behind when it comes to recruiting. Even Google is starting to show signs that their lack of diversity is affecting them.

    Reply

  • Photo Booth Rental Houston

    March 17, 2020 #37 Author

    Engaging people at every level is the hallmark of good leaders in not only business but life. Great post!

    -Chris

    Reply

  • Dave Franco

    March 17, 2020 #38 Author

    Awesome post!

    Reply

  • Peoria Il

    March 19, 2020 #39 Author

    I remember segregation. I remember race riots. All I can say as an old man who got tired of prejudice in this country is that I am so happy that this is now how the culture turned out. I am very proud of this country.

    Reply

  • Richland Site

    March 22, 2020 #40 Author

    In our company we have often found that diversity is exactly what creates progress. In a sales driven world we have to understand that not all people think the same way we do. In our own mind our ideas are best when what truly matters is what the customer thinks. Having diversity in the work place is what gives us that perspective and allows us to be the best employer and business we can be.

    Reply

  • Residential Concrete Service Portland

    March 24, 2020 #41 Author

    Diversity and inclusion is a company’s mission, strategies, and practices to support a diverse workplace and leverage the effects of diversity to achieve a competitive business advantage.

    Reply

  • Peak Pool Service El Dorado Hills

    April 14, 2020 #42 Author

    It is important to strive to treat all individuals with mutual respect. Of course, this can be easier said than done, but through our service visiting customers' homes, we always do our very best to provide high quality care to each person, despite any background differences.

    Reply

  • Newark NJ Painters

    April 28, 2020 #43 Author

    Thank you for sharing. Diversity and Inclusion are so crucial to the success of any business. These tips are very valuable, I especially like #9, everyone should continue to improve, especially in this area.

    Reply

  • Pat Fencer

    May 13, 2020 #44 Author

    The last thing a business owner wants to deal with is being accused of not having a diverse enough business. Be inclusive of all people and you'll have a successful business

    Reply

  • executive coaching denver

    May 13, 2020 #45 Author

    Diversity is one of those things that I think is moving in the right direction, but especially at the upper levels of management is still something that needs to be mitigated. I think we should all be aware of cultural biases and strive to be more than what our base assumptions tell us to be. Great insightful post.

    -Mike

    Reply

  • wopet pet feeder

    June 2, 2020 #46 Author

    The last thing a business owner wants to deal with is being accused of not having a diverse enough business. Be inclusive of all people and you'll have a successful business and thanks

    Reply

  • Clovis Preschool

    June 17, 2020 #47 Author

    I love #9. We need to foster good environments around learning and growing. You can always learn something!

    Reply

  • Tile Contractor Near Me

    July 11, 2020 #48 Author

    We love all of our employees. We believe that if you can work you can work.

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    July 15, 2020 #49 Author

    I think number 4 makes a lot of sense and we should definitely respect your co-workers and build better relationships, improving your work experience with them in the long run. Thank you for the great article!

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  • Our Site

    July 21, 2020 #50 Author

    These are great pointers for businesses!!!! Love this article!

    Reply

  • Deck Builder

    July 30, 2020 #51 Author

    Out of the 10 ways, what I really like are the numbers 5, 8, and 10. Thank you for sharing this content and it is in deed very helpful especially if you can really see the diversity in your working environment.

    Reply

  • Tree Removal

    July 31, 2020 #52 Author

    I feel like we're continually finding parameters to divide ourselves by and creating all these group identities vying to be included in some way. When are we going to understand that we're all the same thing? We all breathe the same air, drink the same water, and are all ultimately compost. Why let your identity be defined by some random factor that you had no choice in assigning to your self (skin color, orientation, disability, etc…)?

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    August 3, 2020 #53 Author

    Number 5 is right on the spot, we need to try to put ourselves in other people shoes

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  • lawn mowing kalamazoo

    August 8, 2020 #54 Author

    As a budding business owner these are incredibly important topics to consider. It's ironic how even 6 years after the article was first published we still struggle mightily with diversity and inclusion. Thank you!

    Reply

  • website

    August 9, 2020 #55 Author

    These are great pointers for businesses!!!! Love this article!

    Reply

  • leecerys

    August 9, 2020 #56 Author

    Engaging people at every level is the hallmark of good leaders in not only business but life. Great post!

    Reply

  • Landscaper

    August 11, 2020 #57 Author

    All 10 points are easily actionable – what a great article

    Reply

  • Stump Grinding

    August 12, 2020 #58 Author

    I'm moved by this statement: Often, negative behavior comes from ignorance rather than malice. A willingness to educate can go along way.

    Anyway, thank you for stating those 10 remarkable points. That's all what we need.

    Reply

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    August 12, 2020 #59 Author

    Education is key. People are underestimating its compound effect.

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  • website

    August 21, 2020 #60 Author

    Realistic optimism, She has everything that a good quality of CEO should have.

    Reply

  • Eugene concrete contractors

    August 30, 2020 #61 Author

    Possessing the ability to adapt to diverse backgrounds and skillsets can be a huge asset. When work environments promote collaboration adapting to work will others can be a great tool.

    Reply

  • Darrel

    August 31, 2020 #62 Author

    Totally agree that education is one of the most important things in life.

    Reply

  • Landscaping

    September 15, 2020 #63 Author

    This was my favorite truth – "Often, negative behavior comes from ignorance rather than malice". A positive attitude for progressive growth and learning. I appreciate your article.

    Reply

  • horrain fatima

    September 17, 2020 #64 Author

    Why bother with the notion of inclusiveness and I say notion because the newly appointed Judge will soon tear it down with guidance from #45. Any strides made will soon disappear.

    Reply

  • Hackney Glazier

    September 24, 2020 #65 Author

    Education is key to life itself for everyone.

    Reply

  • sawhana

    September 24, 2020 #66 Author

    ofcourse education is a most powerful tool fo the development of oneself

    Reply

  • Plasterer Brisbane

    September 29, 2020 #67 Author

    We employ people from all walks of life. I am glad I took the time to read this as it is a reminder about how to find and keep the best employees

    Reply

  • Alex Mercer

    October 1, 2020 #68 Author

    Diverse and inclusive companies drive innovative results. Yet the tech industry still struggles with diversity and inclusion, often failing to attract diverse talent due to inclusivity issues in the workplace. For organizations looking to shape up their diversity and inclusion programs and policies, the change can be challenging — and rewarding.

    Reply

  • Anthony Dietrich Gainesville VA

    October 6, 2020 #69 Author

    Excellent Blog! hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. I Thanks for sharing. Great websites!

    Reply

  • Car Wrap Houston

    October 13, 2020 #70 Author

    Great companies aren't afraid of diversity. They embrace the diverse opinions that come with it and how that innovation can help drive positive results in the future.

    Reply

  • Loodgieter Eindhoven

    October 19, 2020 #71 Author

    Thank you for bringing up this topic. I really think that diversity is important in a company. Doesn't matter how big a company is. Get out of the comfort zone and have employees with different background. It's really interesting to hear from other sides.

    Reply

  • Anthony Dietrich

    October 19, 2020 #72 Author

    I have read your article..Great content .. Thanks for posting it.

    Reply

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