Diversity tools for medium-sized organizations

If your company lacks the budget to address diversity in the way large organizations can, it’s time to get creative in your approach.

Despite diversity being listed as one of HR’s major concerns, the majority of organizations do not provide training or measure diversity.
According to a new SHRM survey less than a quarter of medium sized organizations have policies addressing gender identity, and one in three have no policy addressing sexual orientation discrimination at work. The researchers pointed to increasing immigration as one of the driving factor for the need for diversity programs.

“This basic demographic shift—coupled with greater public advocacy and awareness recently concerning differences in ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation—has magnified the need for diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace,” the researchers wrote. 

The study found that just 15% of organizations had staff specifically focused on diversity, while just one in four organizations with less than 500 workers provided diversity training in 2012.

Measuring ROI is often an issue for HR initiatives, and two-thirds of those surveyed said they had no way to measure the impact of their diversity practices. Another 16% weren’t  sure if their companies measured impact.
Organizations with 500 or more employees were twice as likely to provide employees with diversity training; three times as likely to collect metrics on their diversity initiatives and almost four times more likely to measure the impact of diversity efforts.
Many organizations used volunteers to head diversity efforts, including staff-led committees, councils and advisory boards. 
“If an HR professional is drafting a set of diversity and inclusion initiatives for the first time, they may consider tying these programs to staffing, which is a frequently-used approach,” the researchers wrote. They added that more than half of respondents used recruiting to increase diversity in their organizations.

HR Takeaways 
  • Partnering with educational institutions and government organizations devoted to diversity can give companies without a budget for diversity access to a range of resources, including free training material and sample policies.
  • Leadership development opportunities for employees from minority groups, such as mentoring and coaching, help promote diversity in senior company positions
  • Managers should be held accountable for diversity-related tasks or outcomes and be given tools to help them understand how their actions could support or hold back company goals.

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