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Inside The Office Management

Make Diversity and Inclusion a Priority During COVID

The unemployment rate has come down from a historic high not seen since the Great Depression. Still, COVID-19 left a major dent in the labor market and on roles held by diverse talent. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, inclusion may matter now more than ever.

In May 2020, McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, released their report “Diversity Wins – How inclusion matters” with their findings on the state of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

The McKinsey report found that company downsizing due to COVID-19 can “have a disproportionate impact on the roles typically held by diverse talent.” The report also found that companies with greater gender and ethnic diversity are more likely to outperform those with less diversity, with ethnic diversity leading to a greater chance of outperformance.

As women entrepreneurs, the case for gender diversity is clear. Promoting ethnic and racial diversity and inclusion in the workplace may help your business perform better and create a more comfortable workplace for your employees.

We asked women entrepreneurs for actionable tips and strategies to promote not only diversity but inclusion in the workplace.

Excerpts have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Create a mission statement around diversity

Josefin Bjorklund, Founder of Topp Casino Bonus:

“The company’s core values can help you create an office culture where everyone is respected and valued. This is without thought to their religion, caste, creed, gender, physical condition or country of origin. Often, the organization faces the loss of high potential talents when they feel unsafe or less connected. Creating company’s core values that give importance to diversity and inclusion, empowers the workforce to raise their voice.”

Speak out

Lori Sussle Bonanni, Founder and Communications Consultant at elssus, LLC:

“When running a conference, make sure that there is a wide representation across speakers and panelists. If you receive an invitation to speak and you don’t see parity, call it out. Refuse to participate and amplify others. Suggest those who can take your place.”

Make your employees feel welcomed

Kate MacDonnell, CMO of Coffee Affection:

 “The most effective strategy I’ve implemented, in regards to ensuring that racial inclusion is a staple of our workspace, is setting up weekly individual meetings with each employee. In these meetings, I make sure the employee knows it’s a safe space and that they can bring any concern to me. If an issue is brought to me, I outline a plan of action with the employee as to how I’m going to attempt to remedy the problem. The action step here is key, because without it, the employee will not feel heard.”

Diversify hiring methods

Branka Vuleta, founder of LegalJobSite:

“Employee referral hiring strategies might lead to a less diverse workplace. It promotes hiring people from the same economic, social and homogeneous environment. Companies that focus on hiring mainly through employee referrals are usually less diverse . This may be the root of the problem that needs to be addressed.”

For more on workplace diversity and inclusion read out feature check out our feature Leslie Short on Reshaping Workplace Diversity

Do you have any actionable tips or strategies for promoting diversity and inclusion?

About the author

Thalia Plata

Thalia Plata, is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Boston, Massachusetts. She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with minors in history and political science from Emerson College. Originally from North Carolina, Thalia loves exploring Boston and the New England area, practicing her cooking skills, and reading long-form journalism pieces.

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