Brokerage Ops

D&I in Four Parts

Key Takeaways from The Council’s diversity and inclusion seminars
By McKenna Beery

Research shows that companies with more diverse and inclusive work environments do better financially and enjoy higher employee engagement with more productive and satisfied workers. With these statistics in mind, The Council hosted four seminars over the course of June with the goal of helping member firms implement and improve their D&I efforts. Topics included unconscious bias, how to create an inclusive culture, and best practices in attracting and retaining diverse talent.

Combating Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

Katherin Nukk-Freeman, co-founder, president and chief culture officer of SHIFT HR Compliance Training, led the first seminar and explored the impact unconscious bias brings to the work environment. Unconscious bias is assumptions about social identities that, without our awareness, shape our judgments about ability, potential and character. These biases exist because of our socialization and experiences, thus causing automatic associations.

Key Takeaways:
• While exercising the unconscious, there are multiple ways to see an object or situation, but we default to only one, and cognitive “illusions” rely on our stored knowledge. Don’t make assumptions in the workplace.
• The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is a powerful predictor of how we act in spontaneous situations. It measures our actual attitude on an unconscious level.
• You can overcome unconscious bias through using organizational structure, measuring results, being aware of subtle messages and enacting individual analysis and action.

Creating an Inclusive Culture

Richard Schaeff of White Men as Full Diversity Partners led the second seminar and examined the dominant culture of U.S. business. Schaeff explained how outsiders (typically women and men of color) are expected to accept certain social norms—often times set by insiders who may not realize the “rules” they are establishing.

Key Takeaways:
• Diversity is the mix of all the ways we are both similar and different, while inclusion is making the mix work. Implementing D&I practices in the workplace is a journey, not a destination. You will make mistakes, but be courageous.
• For most people, being an “outsider” lowers their sense of self, and that shows up in their work. Work on noticing when you are an insider versus an outsider, and use your privileges to include outsiders when they are being excluded. If you want to shift the culture, you have to challenge assumptions.

Attracting and Retaining Diverse Talent

Dr. Kevin England, a senior consultant with Jennifer Brown Consulting, led the third seminar, focusing on where to find and how to attract a diverse talent pool. Organizations should develop a plan for long-term sustainability in these areas.

Key Takeaways:
• It is important to hire with diversity in mind.
• By unpacking unconscious bias, one is able to eliminate the biases that can sneak into the recruiting process.
• Each step in the Talent Life Cycle (TLC) has to be done well in order to retain employees.

The ROI of D&I Initiatives

Dr. Edward Hubbard, president and CEO of Hubbard & Hubbard, Inc., rounded out the course by highlighting how to calculate the ROI of D&I initiatives on an organization’s performance.

Key Takeaways:
• Measuring the impact of D&I initiatives and demonstrating the financial return on investment is imperative in maintaining funding and gaining support of programs.
• Align your organization’s inclusion definition and drivers with strategic organizational goals.
• Improving employee engagement results in greater profits, a better culture and a higher talent retention.

Implementing D&I practices in the workplace is a journey, not a destination. You will make mistakes, but be courageous.

Next on The Council’s D&I agenda is a special diversity and inclusivity program being held on Tuesday, Sept. 24 in Washington D.C., at Council headquarters. This program is in partnership with the worldwide 2019 Dive In Festival and will explore the impact of unconscious bias on the work environment through the use of virtual reality.

For more information, contact The Council’s Julia Ruiz, The Council’s senior director of leadership & management resources.

McKenna Beery is an intern with Leader’s Edge and a student in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida.

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