On a recent episode of HR Insider, we got the chance to sit down and talk with Dan, an HR representative for a Fortune 500 company who recently took on a new role within diversity inclusion. He shared with us his insight on improving inclusion in the workplace and supporting diverse communities and customers.
At the most basic level, inclusivity is about starting the discussion and forcing people to think about why they do things the way they do. Dan focused a lot on getting people to open their minds, which involves everyone at a company from the C-suite to the entry-level employees.
“It comes down to collaborating as a team, not only with the Diversity & Inclusion team, but the corporate side as well, and trying to get people from different areas and trying to work together to make an inclusive community. Additionally, to bring up awareness and the power of asking why. Asking, “Okay, why is it this way? Why is it that way?” It’s about opening that line of communication so everybody can feel included, everybody can be heard, and everybody can learn, educate, and grow from it.”
Another point that Dan really drove home was the importance of looking for talent in places companies don’t traditionally look. Whether that is looking at schools that you don’t typically recruit from or considering someone from a background that is different than your usual hires, he stressed that this diversity can add invaluable perspective to teams and improve the organization overall. He doesn’t necessarily ask people to change their hiring process, only to take a critical eye to it and see if there is room for increased diversity.
“People from different backgrounds and different lifestyles, they all have talents that they can showcase, and I think companies should see that, learn from it, grow from it, and even improve from it. Research even shows that corporations with a diverse network and diverse groups or teams do better financially in the long run. If everybody is coming from the same place, the same school, the same everything, then you’re not going to grow. You’re not going to develop. You’re just going to get the same old, same old, and that’s not how companies grow or even stay above water. They fail.”
At the end of our chat, Dan emphasized the value that HR departments can bring to individuals. While the human element of human resources may get lost sometimes, at the end of the day, their job is to be there for each and every employee.
“There’s more to HR than just people handling benefits or recruiting. It’s breaking down barriers and opening people’s mindset to find out what lies beneath.”
Diversity and inclusion are becoming increasingly important issues for companies to address, and it will always be better to be proactive instead of reactive. By constantly seeking ways to include different perspectives and people of all backgrounds, an organization can ensure it thrives for years to come.