In today’s show, Mike Wood chats with Tamara Rasberry, one of the Humans of HR, about improving diversity and inclusion at work. Tamara has been an HR practitioner for almost 20 years, primarily in the nonprofit sector. She is a passionate advocate for inclusion, diversity and overall good experiences in the workplace.
The Most Pressing IssueThe most pressing issue in regards to diversity and inclusion in the workplace is to get the leadership team to understand the difference between diversity and inclusion, and that a diverse workforce goes beyond race and gender. Tamara says that leaders must be intentional about creating an inclusive environment for their people.
How to Ensure an Inclusive WorkplaceCompanies should value everything that every person brings to the table. We all come to the workplace with a unique mix of backgrounds, experiences, and talents to contribute. Therefore, companies should utilize inclusive behavior at various different touch points throughout the organization, such as in recruitment, onboarding, and in staff meetings. Everyone should feel valued and have the opportunity to make a contribution. Tamara suggests several things organizations can do to make every voice be heard. Once feedback is given, the highlighted issues should be worked on.
Communication is KeyMike remarks that communication is one of the biggest ways to address any problem in an organization. If you talk to people, and give them a chance to speak up about their issues without repercussions, you can improve a lot of things.
Measuring Diversity and InclusionMike asks, beyond recruitment metrics, how can companies measure the effectiveness of their diversity and inclusion programs? Tamara responds that their promotions and professional development opportunities can be a good measuring stick. Once employees are in the door, do they have the same opportunities to get promoted or to have training and development? She remarks that not everything is going to be numerically quantifiable. However, you can see the progress you’re making based on feedback and people's actual experience in the company.
The Present Situation in the CountryMike and Tamara share their thoughts on the current state of race relations in the country. Tamara feels that people are more comfortable expressing their biases and racism today. Racism is fundamentally about power dynamics, so change to ingrained institutions and policies that favor one people over others, must start at the top. The most individuals can do is change their own behavior and mindset. Mike comments that if we just talk to each other, we can dispel the fear: more communication and less division will help. We need to be open to learning about other people and cultures to break down the barriers, Tamara says.
Resources:Tamara Rasberry on Twitter: @tmrasberry