Although there is a sizable movement towards inclusion in technology and design industries, a supportive initiative behind the hiring and recruitment process is still behind the times. Studies have shown that efforts to shift the cultural dynamics within an organization are confounded when the work environment does not provide an atmosphere where individuals of various backgrounds are integrated for the unique perspective they bring.
Instead of perceiving differences as an asset within the organization, cultivating ideas are often limited and devalued. The reality that equal opportunities are not afforded to individuals of diverse backgrounds stifles growth that comes from inclusion within the organization. As a result, the workplace suffers from denying the vibrancy of diverse design.
We interviewed several Maga Design team members for comments on implementing inclusion strategy within the organization. Digital Project Manager, Ashlee Ealy, comments on overcoming the invisible, and sometimes discordant, factors that may pervade the work environment:
“I think there is a tendency to try to fit into one’s surrounding environment. In some places, that environment is so homogenous that an individual might feel the need to be one person at work and a very different person at home in order to avoid making coworkers uncomfortable. This is slowly changing as the workplace becomes a more aware and accepting place.”
For organizations to prosper, it is crucial to take a proactive approach towards forming a community that fosters diversity as creativity. At Maga Design, we try to practice inclusion in our everyday activities. We recognize that inclusion leads to more creative views, innovative capabilities and profitable solutions. If an organization strives to gain a broader appeal, enabling an inclusive culture is a great way to start.
Here are a few tactics organizations can use to develop an environment that celebrates difference.
Empowering qualified individuals in upper management positions is a great way to establish an inclusive environment. According to Greenhouse’s eBook published in April, 4 Method to Build a Diverse Team, inclusion in every sector of the organization should be top priority:
“Diversity and inclusion efforts are often reserved for a single segment of the business, and this is why they often struggle to be effective. In order for short- and long-term D&I efforts to work, a concerted effort must be made by an entire company: employees, executives, human resources and/or the People team, and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), among others…Culture and priorities are often signals from the executive team (intentionally or not), and the success of a diversity or inclusion program relies on the right culture.”
When the organization make a conscious effort to incorporate people of diverse backgrounds at the administrative level, it symbolizes that the responsibility of ensuring inclusion thrives, is not only a lower management objective but the initiative of the entire organization.
Aside from leadership, recruitment also needs to enact diversity practices that actively battle the inequality quotient within the industry. To fully benefit from the diverse perspectives that come with inclusive practices within the workplace, it is important to focus on authentic talent. When hiring employees, identify key skills that can be an asset to the organization.
CatchTalent CEO Christina Lock comments on looking beyond the perceived differences to leverage diverse skillsets:
“For a workforce to truly thrive, it not only needs to attract and retain diversity, but know how to use it. The inclusion of each individual’s talents, perspectives, and vision is a recipe for success, and one that not only produces results for clients, but a positive work experience for employees.”
This helps ensure that both the individual and the organization can work together to create an inclusive environment. Its also provides an opportunity to acknowledge what insight the employee can offer as an addition to the team.
A great way to incorporate diversity into your organization is through community outreach programs. By getting employees involved, it raises awareness and helps formulate a collaborative environment that establishes a network of diverse candidates.
Juancarlos Morales, UI/UX designer, explains how community outreach is a valuable impact engine for the organization:
“Reach out to technical school and local organizations to foster these relationships. Talent is everywhere if you look around, you can find extraordinary talent in people from all walks of life that can be utilized to make your company a success.”
Rather than view diversity as an obstacle, create an integrative space that establishes a sense of mutual respect and appreciation. Go beyond tokenized diversity hiring practices and acknowledge each diverse individual for their unique experiences and creative skills. Understand that learning has to happen on both ends and made with a conscious effort.
Maga Design influences a culture that nurtures inclusion and celebrates different perspectives, bringing them together as whole-brained thinking. How we collaborate creates an inclusive environment that shapes our Ever Curious nature, and makes a profound impact on the work we produce.