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  • Writer's pictureGST Inc.

Build Better Teams and Leaders Through Diversity Initiatives

Master Trainer John Norris of GST Inc.

Numerous studies conclude that ethnically and racially diverse teams function better and produce higher quality results than their homogenous counterparts. Businesses that make diversity and inclusion a priority have a competitive advantage when hiring new talent, enjoy higher retention of staff, and even demonstrate superior financial performance.

These benefits are applicable to for-profit and nonprofit businesses alike, which helps make diversity initiatives more acceptable in the business world. Such initiatives are vitally important within the education sector, where approximately half of the students in the U.S. school system are students of color. That percentage increases in municipalities struggling with socio-economic disparities.

Deprived of leaders who reflect the diversity of these neighborhoods, nonprofits in the education sector cannot adequately meet the needs of the communities they serve. Knowing these factors, how can the leaders of the education community adapt to the demands of diversity and inclusion?

1. Tailor your ideas and approach. Although diversity and inclusivity initiatives can benefit everyone, it is important to adapt your programs to fit with the distinctive culture of your organization. Not every program or change will be effective at implementing a more diverse and inclusive culture at your organization, however, the message that diversity matters must come from the top down to truly work.

2. Place emphasis on measuring outcomes. Set a baseline by auditing diversity initiatives at your organization to assess your current system. Pinpoint a set of measurements founded on your distinct vision and tactics. Ensure that your metrics are measuring both involvement and production. Evaluate your KPI’s frequently at both the executive and board level to ensure your diversity programs are producing the desired results.

3. Don’t neglect diversity in your hiring practices. Train hiring managers and recruiters in your organization on impartial interviewing and selection procedures. Establish tactical partnerships that help connect your organization with diverse talent channels.

4. Capitalize on leadership and inclusivity training to keep talented employees. Use an assortment of professional development tools, including mentoring, training, and educational opportunities. Evaluate your leadership teams frequently to guarantee that employees of color are included in leadership development opportunities.

5. Keep the discussion going. Diversity initiatives are never a one and done endeavor. Achieving diversity takes time, commitment and effort from your entire workforce. Engaging your team regularly in sincere, authentic two-way communication at various levels of the company is crucial to successfully implementing diversity measures.

Creating diverse, inclusive teams is difficult. It takes dedication and perseverance to achieve lasting results. It is pivotal that the education community takes actionable steps to improve diversity and inclusion, both at the school level and within the organizations that support our students and their families.

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