On May 29, 2018, Starbucks closed all its US stores for racial sensitivity training. Embarrassed after protestors charged the store with racism, CEO Kevin Johnson offered his “deepest apologies” in a public letter to the two young men who were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks location for allegedly loitering in the store without buying anything. Starbucks took accountability, reviewed its policies, and vowed to continue to engage with the community to ensure these types of situations never happen again in its stores. Johnson said that he wants to make Starbucks a place where everyone feels welcome.
Typically, the responsibility for managing diversity and inclusiveness in an organization falls within the human resources function. However, when a situation goes beyond the capacity of HR leaders and forces a company CEO to respond, this indicates more needs to be done to reduce the risk of public humiliation and its impact on the company’s bottom line. So, what should HR do? Train your managers. Sure. But, is it feasible?
The benefits for HR and the organization
Before you train your managers, it is important to reflect on what’s in it for HR and the organization as a whole to implement or enhance their diversity & inclusion platform. Here are some stats from McLean & Company’s blueprint, Develop an Inclusion Strategy to Leverage Diversity and Drive Innovation:
From a strategic perspective, it makes money sense to invest in internal diversity & inclusion programs. The real value is that an inclusive environment is good for everyone because it values and respects every employee regardless of their identity or background while capitalizing on their unique strengths and leveraging their differences. This also means organizations that take proactive steps to create a diverse and inclusive work environment will remain competitive. How?
In today’s tight labor markets, organizations that create an inclusive and respectful work environment are highly esteemed, have a strong employer brand, and therefore, have an edge in attracting and retaining talent.
Take an example from the winners of 2018 Canada’s Best Diversity Employers. One of Canada’s largest newspapers published a list of companies that are easily recognizable – from Air Canada to Boeing to Home Depot to Unilever Canada, there are some globally recognized organizations on that list (Globe and Mail, 2018). Among the top US companies, Hyatt Hotels, Procter & Gamble, Walt Disney, ADP, and SAP are among the top 250 diverse organizations (Forbes, 2018).
Why does it matter in the long run? According to McLean & Company’s engagement data, every 10% increase in the category “my manager inspires me to improve” resulted in a 4.15% increase in an employee’s intent to stay (2017; N=113,245). Further, engaged employees have five times higher organizational commitment than those with low engagement (McLean & Company, 2017; N=174,568) (Source). Attracting, developing, and retaining talent is the secret of staying competitive.
So how can organizations get started?
Create an inclusive environment by gaining feedback from employees and assessing organization data to uncover key areas where you lack inclusiveness. With the input of stakeholders, build out action steps for improving your level of inclusiveness throughout all areas of the organization and employee lifecycle.
McLean & Company’s how to Develop an Inclusion Strategy to Leverage Diversity and Drive Innovation blueprint is a step-by-step guide on how to create a culture of inclusion to leverage diversity. One of the tools included as part of this guide is a manager training deck, which provides unconscious bias training to managers as well as steps to determine how to create an organizational brand for diversity & inclusion awareness and how to identify actions items to deliver on diversity & inclusion goals.
We also have a customizable, LMS-friendly module on preventing and addressing harassment and discrimination, called Respect in the Workplace.
All of this makes it easier for HR leaders because they do not have to spend the time creating anything from scratch; the best-practice research is turned into a systematic methodology format to execute this initiative more strategically. Overall, the blueprint is designed to diagnose your current state, identify the gaps in the current state, and help you get to your desired state. The benefits of such a strategy include enhanced employee engagement. When diversity & inclusion is included as a part of an organization’s corporate strategy, everyone wins.
Interested in learning more? Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
By Laili Choudhury