Salvador Ordorica is the CEO of The Spanish Group LLCa first-class international translation service that translates more than 90 languages.
We hear a lot about “having conversations” about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and many business leaders eagerly express their willingness to create a more diverse workplace culture for their employees. However, it’s still rare for a company to take meaningful, internal action to create a more inclusive environment.
Part of the problem is that companies rely too much on consultants and seminars instead of actually changing the larger culture of the company. While a tolerance workshop can provide important information and lessons to employees, it offers little progress toward real long-term change.
In this post, I’ve listed three steps that I’ve seen companies take personally and that have led to tangible progress.
1. Cast a wide net in the midst of change.
This may not be true for every company, but for many companies we are in the midst of a major upheaval in the workplace. With the “Great layoffAnd the increased demand for remote working options, the face of the business world is undergoing dramatic changes.
To adapt, you need to use new and more efficient technology tools while also finding and training employees with completely new skills than you needed before. While this is a complex issue to navigate, it provides an opportune time to address any diversity or equality issues hampering your business.
As you change and develop your policies, focus on tactics that will help you balance the worker pools you draw from. Inclusive internships and scholarships can help attract skilled individuals from a variety of backgrounds.
The growth of remote working is perhaps the most immediate and obvious gift for increasing the cultural diversity of your workforce. With no geographic barriers and more options than ever to bridge language gaps, you can spread the net far and wide for the most qualified employees from around the world.
Over time, with an emphasis on fair education policies and taking the time to seek out qualified experts in new geographies, you will naturally build a skilled workforce with diverse backgrounds and business approaches.
2. Create accountability systems.
You must have an achievable goal for your diversity and equality initiatives and a way to measure your progress toward that goal. The more you can justify your decisions with data and work toward a socially noble cause, the easier these conversations will be.
For example, if you want to see more black women in leadership positions, create a training or mentoring program that can help you achieve this goal. If you don’t see any results, you can justify trying another method.
With concrete goals, you can better hold managers accountable for diversity and equality initiatives. Over time, thinking and acting in this way will transform the culture and makeup of your organization into one that is more diverse and inclusive.
3. Meet your people where they are.
Companies that see the greatest success in finding and retaining top talent can provide training materials, further education opportunities and a corporate culture that welcomes people of all backgrounds.
Localizing is a great way to show employees and customers that you care enough to understand them and talk to them in a way they feel most comfortable with. Well-combined localization efforts have been shown to: increase retention rates†
I don’t mean just language localization, but the adoption of a wider culture. With sound localization you can better reflect on a deeper level and connect better with people in other parts of the world. This can be music, humor, stories and more.
Start by looking at your onboarding process and the training materials you present. Make sure your efforts are more than a simple word-for-word translation of company materials. Use language experts who understand the culture and industry when creating in-house training materials, and let them adapt the materials to this new audience. Many companies will even hire local musicians or comedians to augment the content as they have the best handle on the local culture.
A good example of this was a customer of ours in the manufacturing industry. They used different acronyms in their training materials that amounted to easy-to-remember pronunciations in English, but when they brought these processes to Asia, they had a hard time getting local workers to remember (what they saw as) easy steps relatively quickly. We helped them rewrite their operating manual so that they could create new, easy-to-remember rhymes for training purposes.
Good for society and good for business
Research shows that more diverse organizations tend to be more innovative and profitable than their less diverse counterparts.
Help build a workplace with people from different backgrounds and points of view and make them feel welcome and contribute more effectively. We must make tangible efforts to increase the intellectual potential of our organizations and help our workplaces better reflect society as a whole.