How to start a conversation with your boss about workplace diversity
Currently, a massive movement is underway to end systemic racism in our country and build a more equitable society. At the same time, the Supreme Court recently ruled that federal law protects LGBTQ employees from workplace discrimination, as CNN reports.
Considering these positive developments towards a more equitable society, what better time to have a conversation with your boss about workplace diversity? Here are a few pointers to keep in mind.
Formulate an objective message
Determine how to communicate your message without putting your boss on the spot. For example, if you’d like to discuss a more inclusive hiring policy, it’s better to state, “Can we have a conversation about our hiring practices?” than, “Your hiring policy isn’t inclusive enough.” Keep in mind that your boss might even be trying to be inclusive but simply doesn’t have the right strategy, tools, or support.
Know the statistics
Interestingly, workplace diversity is good for the bottom line. Glassdoor offers the following statistics:
- Diverse teams achieve financial returns that are 33 percent higher than the industry average.
- Collective intelligence increases when there are more women on a team.
- The U.S. economy could grow by as much as five percent due to gender diversity.
- Diverse team members attract more diverse employees.
- Gender diverse teams are significantly more innovative.
Use these statistics to motivate your supervisor to invest in building a more diverse team.
When asking your boss to take action, it’s advisable to offer some solutions. For instance, you could recommend starting an employee referral program to attract more diverse talent. Another idea is to improve your retention efforts to ensure diverse team members stay with the company for longer. You could also suggest using mentorships to support people from minority backgrounds.
Offer to help
While your boss will have to put the wheels in motion to build a more diverse workplace, you can offer to help. For example, you could assume responsibility for creating a mentorship program that pairs diverse team members with more senior workers to help them advance in their careers.
Talking to your boss about workplace diversity isn’t something to take lightly. When done well, it could pave the way to a fairer and more inclusive work environment. So prepare properly, and keep in mind that this could be an ongoing conversation that takes place over several months or even years.