The Diversity Manifesto: Saying what to do and doing what’s said
The need for diversity with its potential, purpose, possibilities and business case is well understood. For a business imperative so well spoken, celebrated and understood, why does it when the rubber has to meet the road there is more smoke than real distance travelled? What I want our focus on is not what is said on social media, what is written in our policies or what we put across in our presentations; but what actually happens and what should happen. So, without any further ado let’s look at what a diversity manifesto looks like in body and spirit.
Manifesto is a declaration of policy and aims one calls out to attain and meet. So here is a 10 point manifesto for Diversity, focused on saying what to do and doing what’s said.
- Manifesting why diversity is important to you. Working towards your diversity canvas, you should consider writing and manifesting why diversity is important for you and your organization. Many follow the path of other organizations without realizing why they really need diversity and its importance to them. This speaks about the need of diversity.
- Sharing your definition of diversity. Organizations need to highlight and communicate what they mean with diversity. The challenge is not that if the definition is complete in all forms but importantly it highlights what the organization will be focusing on in diversity. This speaks about the quantum of diversity.
- Sharing your focus area in diversity. This is the trickiest part, companies without saying specifics end up working for only one form of diversity (no marks for guessing what it is). What is expected of organizations is to call out their focus area and it's absolutely ok to start with few elements and in phases they can expand it across.
- Metrics on the outcomes from diversity, metric of diversity. Metrics drives behavior and there is no denying. What metrics you set have a far fetching impact, so rather than focusing on measuring ‘the diversity’ itself, place your metric to measure the outcomes of diversity. Not many organizations attempt doing it but that’s where the true benefit lies.
- Diversity is a journey but share your milestones. An open-ended journey gives the sense of progress without checking if the progress is deliberate or incidental. Keeping a hold on the pulse of progress based on the metrics mentioned above is pivotal. It ensures that all efforts are put across in the right direction and they are yielding the right outcomes.
- Diversity is not limiting, it’s there to liberate. This sounds philosophical but it’s not, all depends what you want it to manifest to. Organizations need to say how they will leverage the power of diversity at the workplace in a deeper cultural, behavioral and performance standpoint. When organizations are clear of their intent of having a diverse workplace, it helps them drive the agenda clearly.
- Highlight everyone’s role in it. Diversity is not a one-person objective and it will never be. Organizations may have someone who envisions but eventually it has to be on everyone’s agenda. Everyone should know their role in leveraging diversity, what it brings to the organization and finally their role to make it happen.
- Diversity is personal, personal to every organization. Avoid getting into a rush to compete on diversity percentages and their comparison amongst peer companies. Others may have no idea the challenges an organization has hence no one should compete towards it.
- Focus on the backbone of all diversities. Diversities of thought is the base which drives most of the other forms of diversities across organizations. However, many a times organizations get diverse workforce on paper, but all get the similar thought process because the selection process missed on hiring managers' role in bringing true diversity.
- Diversity is incomplete without inclusion, equity and belonging. There are different approaches, but the underlying principle is clear that one needs to have an inclusive ecosystem Extending further to deeper personalized points on equity and belonging.
Organizations and their leaders have a responsibility of saying what to do and doing what’s said. This 10-point manifesto will help organizations to be aligned and make the most of their diversity frontiers.