“Diversity and inclusion” are recent buzzwords in the business world, but their weight and importance are lightyears beyond your average trend. And just because organizations of all shapes and sizes are beginning to seriously self-assess, that doesn’t mean everything will magically improve overnight.
Diversity and inclusion is for everyone, but it isn’t one-size-fits-all. Every organization has its own unique culture and circumstances, and on top of that, no employee experience manager can anticipate every comment, action, or situation. It is paramount that companies have policies and strategies in place to ensure every employee has an equal opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences in a safe and secure setting.
Here are 5 ways employee experience managers can use Fuel Cycle’s online community platform to cultivate a workplace culture that encourages diversity and inclusion.
1. Employee Check-In Survey
According to research by Quantum Workplace, 89% of American employees surveyed agree with the statement: “Everyone at my company is treated fairly regardless of race, gender, age, ethnicity, background, sexual orientation, or other differences.”
However, when analyzed by segment, it was discovered that 94% of white employees agreed to this statement, but only 85% of black employees did. By conducting surveys and analyzing the data based on unique profiling points, HR managers can detect holes and inequities in the employee experience.
Here are some Agree-Disagree Likert question examples that can help HR managers measure experienced diversity and inclusion among employees.
- The leadership at this company encourages diversity.
- Management shows that diversity is important through its actions.
- This company is committed to improving the diversity of employees.
- This company fosters a workplace that allows employees to be themselves at work without fear.
- This company respects individuals and values their differences.
- The leadership at this company treats all employees fairly.
- At this company, employees appreciate others whose backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences are different from their own.
- There is a career development path for all employees at this company.
- Employees of different backgrounds interact well in this company.
- The management of this company demonstrates a commitment to meeting the needs of employees with disabilities.
- Employees of different ages are valued equally by this organization.
- Racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender-based jokes or slurs are not tolerated at this organization.
- This company provides an environment for the free and open expression of ideas, opinions, and beliefs.
Publishing check-in surveys to your employee online community is an excellent way to get immediate feedback. It also functions to show your employees that you are actively listening and working toward creating a culture that inspires diversity and inclusion.
2. Hold a Focus Group
The most direct way to understand how your employees are feeling is simply to ask them. Running an employee focus group can give you deep qualitative information to support the quantitative results of your survey. This gives your employees a voice and allows them to take the conversation into their own hands, discuss trends in your data, provide context to specific answers, and brainstorm solutions together.
With virtual focus groups like Live by Fuel Cycle, you can engage with your employees in a focus group setting, even while working remotely. With easy scheduling, plus whiteboarding and screen sharing capabilities, HR leaders can host the ultimate feedback and brainstorming sessions. Additionally, the time encoded notes feature makes analysis and sharing a breeze when it comes time to communicating the findings to leadership.
Your employees are your best resource for helping you discover ways to improve diversity and inclusion in your company. All you need to do is provide the right platform.
3. Host Trainings
There are a multitude of diversity and inclusion training programs available. Your employee online community can act as a centralized location to announce, link to, and discuss trainings hosted on 3rd party websites.
Depending on your budget and amount of time available to dedicate to internal training, different companies may require different courses. Here are seven free options to choose from, ranging in length of time to complete:
- Gender Equality and Sexual Diversity, Udemy – Length: 30 lectures/ 5 hours, 35 minutes
- Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace, Coursera – Length: 4 weeks/ 2 hours a week
- Leading with Effective Communication (Inclusive Leadership Training), edX – Length: 4 weeks/ 1-2 hours a week
- Inclusion of Minorities in Community Development, Alison – Length: 8 lessons
- Understanding Diversity and Inclusion, FutureLearn – Length: 3 weeks/ 3 hours a week
- Optimizing Diversity on Teams, Coursera – Length: 4 weeks/ 2-4 hours a week
- eLesson: Unconscious Bias, Microsoft – Length: Self-paced
Evolving a company’s culture starts with uniting everyone under the mission. We can’t think of a better way to bring people together than with trainings and certification programs all made available to choose from and discuss within one platform.
4. Host discussions
Briefly mentioned in the last section, an online community would naturally come along with the capability to host relevant discussions. There are two main types of discussion forums Fuel Cycle clients use, depending on their specific needs.
Guided discussions begin with a question or prompt dictated by the community moderator. Then members respond to the question or set of questions in the discussion and may also reply to other comments posted. The moderator then has the authority to reply to or screen comments to ensure that everything posted in the discussion is constructive.
Member-generated discussions are exactly what they sound like: generated by members. Employees in an online community don’t have to wait for their moderator to post something but can take the initiative to spark a discussion on their own. We have witnessed clients receive some of their best insights from member-generated discussions, because they let their audience lead the way.
These types of conversations are increasingly important to have. And there are so many dynamics at play, that there is a lot of pressure on HR professionals to ask the right questions. By allowing for more organic dialogue, companies are giving themselves the chance to make important discoveries about their own culture that they might not have been aware of otherwise.
5. Form a Committee
One of the most notable responses Fuel Cycle had to the events of racial injustice earlier this year was to establish a Social Issues Think Tank. This organization’s sole purpose is to research and brainstorm meaningful ways for Fuel Cyclers to get involved and stay involved in matters and movements that are important to the company and its people.
Through the community platform, HR professionals can manually select employee members to form a dedicated action group within the community. They can then privately publish content and discussions made viewable only to this group, invisible to other community members.
Great things happen together. Establishing a dedicated diversity and inclusion action group composed of employees from different internal departments could have a lasting impact on the company culture, as these team members disseminate a shared awareness and good intentions across the organization.
Next Steps: Taking Action
At the end of the day, we can talk about this topic until we’re blue in the face, but change won’t happen unless we make it happen. When Fuel Cycle recently won recognition by Comparably for the awards, Best Company Culture and Best Company for Diversity, it wasn’t all too surprising that the two would go hand in hand. After all, the best company cultures are the ones that celebrate differences and see the value in all perspectives.
Diversity and inclusion in business is no longer optional (and truly, never should have been). If you’re an HR professional dedicated to growing awareness and appreciation of diversity in your organization, reach out. We’re here to help and would love to show you how other HR leaders are creating real change with the help of their Fuel Cycle employee communities.
“A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.”Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet