Inclusive leadership involves focusing on two key steps: Hiring diverse talent and retaining those employees. Most companies focus heavily on investing resources, time and effort into the recruiting pipeline without giving sufficient thought to retention strategies.
The truth is you cannot foster diversity without an inclusive environment. As leading diversity and inclusion consultants, Symmetra offers a comprehensive range of online inclusive leadership training programs that are designed to be useful, fun and results-oriented for your leaders and teams.
What Is Inclusive Leadership?
At the most fundamental level, an inclusive environment fosters diversity and will improve the chances of retaining valuable diverse employees. Inclusive leadership involves active listening, patience, an open mind and the ability to tap into each team member’s talents and aptitudes. Skilled, diverse employees are in demand and your company needs to take proactive steps to increase engagement.
Here’s a closer look at effective strategies that help increase retention rates.
Encourage All Employees to Get Involved
Hiring diverse employees is not just a box-ticking exercise, a legal compliance requirement or an opportunity for your organization to ‘look nice’ in the eyes of the public. Involve all staff in brainstorming and decision-making and encourage diverse staff to become an integral part of your team.
Otherwise, they are always going to feel like outsiders looking in.
Show Genuine Interest and Follow Through
It’s not enough to merely recruit a diverse employee. Communicate with them and see if you can appoint a mentor from your team to guide them. Ask them if they need any advice or assistance getting settled, for example.
As an inclusive leader, your personal involvement is crucial as the employee may not be familiar with the majority culture. They may also feel nervous about striking out on their own.
Keep Your Mind Open to Fresh Points of View
It can be hard to accept change and we all have an inherent tendency to stick to tried and true ways of working, but keeping your mind open to new ideas can encourage employees to voice fresh perspectives without fearing criticism.
It may take time to change old ways of thinking and doing, the results often prove to be worth it.
Support Diversity at Multiple Levels
One of the biggest barriers to employee retention is the invisible glass ceiling, especially for senior management positions. Demonstrate and implement transparency in awarding promotions, bonuses and rewards. Ensure you show appreciation to your employees (diverse or not) at all levels.
Invest Consistent Effort
Managers should consider walking the talk and make consistent efforts to create an inclusive culture. Employee retention is not a one-time effort but an ongoing process. Over time, this helps foster a positive, respectful and accepting workplace culture that nurtures new talents and skills.
Symmetra offers innovative, fun and effective psychological safety training programs designed to help you improve retention of diverse employees and harness their skills. Our trained consultants work with leaders, teams and organisations to help create synergetic workplace cultures across Australia.