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Given the obvious need for changes in many organizations, what tangible actions can facility managers take to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in their departments? Ashley Stahl, a career coach who was a national security expert for the Pentagon, offers a series of recommendations managers can implement related to education, hiring and recruitment, culture, and promotions in her article, “10 Steps Businesses Can Take To Improve Diversity And Inclusion In The Workforce.”
With respect to education, Stahl says managers can acknowledge the lack of diversity in the first place, she says: “Turn to the facts, share statistics of your organization’s diversity within roles, teams and hierarchy. Use this hard data as a means to acknowledge change is needed, and revert back to them to show the evolution of diversity over time. Leaders also need to take explicit and public accountability, if necessary, for the lack of diversity.”
Managers also can change their language, she says, by explicitly calling out diversity as it pertains to protected groups in the context of the organizations and being cognizant of the way you identify and distinguish between race within your language.
With respect to hiring and recruitment, Stahl says managers can adjust the way they screen and search for candidates. If the majority of a facility management department’s staff is one demographic, increasing diversity through referral-based hiring is difficult. Managers need to make a conscious effort to unlearn bias. Unlearning bias takes time and education.
Managers also can establish mentorship programs to grow diversity. Purposefully pairing mentors and proteges of different backgrounds together can create the opportunity to break down preconceived perceptions and promote education, tolerance, and inclusion.
When it comes to culture, managers can celebrate all religions and cultures. It might be difficult to have companywide shutdowns for all holidays, but there are ways to improve and increase cultural diversity and celebration in the workplace.
Managers also can change the grievance and complaint system. When workers see that the grievance system isn’t stopping bad behavior in their organizations, they become less likely to speak up. Implement a system that offers more than one path for resolution. So instead of filing a complaint that results in a formal hearing resulting in a corporate action such as firing or probation, offer informal mediation.
With respect to promotions, managers can generate transparency in raises. We have already discussed the inequity that occurs because of race and gender. Managers can raise awareness within the organization about pay discrepancy in order to activate accountability.
Track salary and performance based on race and ethnicity to gauge the diversity and inclusion your organization is upholding, and address any gaps and disparities accordingly. Managers also can hire diversity managers. Create a position or a team that focuses on diversity, and make them responsible for creating, recognizing and implementing actions to promote and encourage diversity within the organization. Having such a team in place signals that your department and organization values diversity as a priority relative to the resources assigned to it.
How to Improve Diversity in Facility Management
Tangible Steps for a More Diverse Facility Management Department