The primary reason for the failure of diversity programs in the U.S. is the lack of any program at all. This is particularly true for small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Aside from non-existent, the 1960s approaches used by many companies do not work. These include reactionary training, show-off events and remedial training that aims more to prevent lawsuits than to promote diversity or inclusion.
There are still other reasons for the failure of diversity initiatives. These include lack of executive buy-in, the appointment of unprepared diversity leaders and the lack of resources. To address these issues, here are some ideas for SMBs with a limited budget.
1. Understand that it is cheaper to hire a diversity and inclusion specialist to work in-house than to replace just one employee. These professionals can develop strategies that go beyond recruitment.
2. Hire a local trainer to conduct monthly events tailored specifically for a company’s employees.
3. Implement allyship at work programs to ensure that addressing inequality will be everybody’s responsibility.
4. Set aside time to allow employees to have deeper conversations with their colleagues to build trust and eliminate bias.
5. Train employees to strengthen their human skills, including empathy, abundance thinking, partnerism, mindfulness and play.