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Back to Work Podcast: Are Companies Keeping Their Promise of Increasing Diversity? Part 2

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Joe McIntyre is back with part two of Yoh’s Back to Work podcast episode with Day & Zimmermann’s Vice President of Talent & Diversity and Inclusion, Regina Blair. Regina shares more advice and critical strategies for companies to practice to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

The past two years have brought about many changes in the way we work, as well as new approaches to how we learn about each other. As work environments have gone fully remote or hybrid, Regina discusses how companies can still maintain a spirit of diversity in every type of workplace.

 


HOSTING DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION EVENTS

Organized events are an excellent opportunity to include all your employees in diversity and inclusion efforts. Regina suggests forums hosted by employee resource groups (ERGs) to invite your team to listen and participate in conversations not typically held within a typical workday. The option to record or live stream these events makes them accessible to all of your employees, in office or not.

Consider partnering with external resources; introducing a new voice to the conversion adds some weight and credibility compared to a standard internal resource. You will gain a larger audience by letting your employees know about the event ahead of time. Including senior leaders in these events allows our employees to have facetime with them and encourage participation. Their involvement indicates that your company is genuine about its diversity efforts on all levels.

 

CHALLENGING UNCONSCIOUS BIAS IN THE WORKPLACE

Regina defines unconscious bias as an inherent or learned stereotype about an individual, a group of people, or an institution we all form without even realizing it. Sometimes these unconscious biases don’t even align with what we consider our values. It is imperative for those involved in the hiring process to be aware of their unconscious biases as well as confirmation biases. Confirmation bias involves favoring information that confirms previous existing biases. For example, a hiring manager might form an opinion on the college or university the candidate attended, or create an opinion if the candidate didn’t attend a college or university, sometimes even before they meet the candidate. 

Regina encourages everyone, whether involved in the hiring process or not, to be aware of their biases since we all have them. We are challenged to push past these biases and look at the talent your candidate brings to the table. Holding ongoing training activities for hiring managers and team leaders as part of the continuing conversation around hiring new talent is vital. Inclusive language, such as asking candidates, “What are your pronouns?” or “How may I address you?” removes unconscious biases from the start. 

Listen to the full podcast episode for more insight on retaining diverse talent and an inclusive workplace! 

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