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The Business Case for Diversity and How to Achieve It

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Business Diversity

… this diverse workplace doesn’t feel welcome.

“What helped me feel a little more comfortable within this industry were the mentors that welcomed me in,” said Sabino. “Also, the opportunities that were given to me and finding out that there are allies out there that will help you and try to make you feel comfortable and defend you when uncomfortable conversations come up.”

By “uncomfortable,” Sabino means situations that make you feel unwelcome or like you don’t belong. If you haven’t heard the term “imposter syndrome,” it’s the feeling that you don’t belong or, literally, feeling like an imposter. Like you’re in a place where you have the skills, the knowledge and every right to be there, but your brain is telling you that you don’t belong or will be exposed because you don’t belong.

“That’s what started my fight for diversity in the industry. I thought, if I feel this way, others do as well,” she said.

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is more than something that’s in your head.

“It’s because society has made you feel that you don’t belong,” said Grant.

Creating the right policies and procedures are key to developing an inclusive business culture. This requires a serious effort.

“The first step that I would tell people is to take it on. Don’t be afraid of it; don’t shy away from it,” said Knight.

Some companies create a bill of rights. This is in addition to the traditional material and information employees get from HR during the onboarding process.

“Companies usually have statements that they don’t discriminate based on race, creed, color, etc., but in order to have the culture, successful companies actually have a bill of right,” he said.

The bill of rights states how the company wants to treat employees.

“And, in this bill of rights, it talks about what to do if someone does or says something that offends you. How to have a conversation with that employee, rather to run to your supervisor or HR,” said Knight.

There’s also information for the offender on how to receive constructive feedback, and what to do with that information.

The Pandemic Twist

This year, the pandemic puts a new twist on creating a diverse business culture and remote hiring.

Businesses can hire outside of their immediate geographies as more companies adopt permanent work-from-home policies. As far as creating a more inclusive business culture, it’s imperative that business leaders access the massive amounts of data and resources that’s available to help them.

“To stay ignorant is almost a choice,” said Knight.

It will take work on all sides create change.

“In the corporate world, it can’t just be HR’s problem. It can’t be the CEO’s problem. The executives can’t be the only ones trying to drive the culture,” he added.

That said, CompTIA research indicates that top down culture has to be in place for change.

“You will not succeed unless you have CEO buy-in,” said April. “However, I agree with you that everyone is responsible for how they behave, but leadership matters, intensely, to drive a culture.”

The keynote presentation was sponsored by D&H Distributing.

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