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How to develop and implement diversity policy

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There is best practice when it comes to the topic of how to develop and implement diversity policy, but there is no one size that fits all. What must be achieved is the blending of what is leading edge on the policy front and incorporating all the bells and whistles of what makes diversity policies comprehensive, thorough, and effective, whilst at the same time aligning it to what is unique and special about a particular organisation.

To superimpose something that is perceived as artificial will not be embraced by people. People need to relate to what is contained in workplace policies and procedures to be committed to and work generally in accordance with them. These items need to be there, without the need to constantly refer to them to ensure compliance.

Follow the flow

We are aiming to develop and implement diversity policy that is a natural fit with the rest of organisational life. As such, when we develop and implement diversity policy there should be a degree of familiarity with what is being engineered. For example, if a business prioritises the ethics and work-life balance of its people, these elements should be strongly reflected in diversity policy documents. Integration is essential with policy formulation. There are no separate parts to the whole.

There will be important novel observations with the introduction of a new diversity policy or revisions and upgrades. However, workplace policies and procedures should never have a shock factor or be alienating on implementation. Otherwise, there is a significant foundation and transformational work still to be done!

The truth of the matter is that people very rarely look at workplace policies and procedures beyond initial exposure or prompts on revisions. They are working items in the organisation that safeguard the essentials in terms of concepts, principles, values, ideals, etc. as well as standards and requirements. They are mostly in the background, enabling and facilitating the right way to function. This is why participative and consultative policy development has the most chance of getting the right content finally adopted. We need broad-ranging input from all sectors of the organisation at all levels to make policy viable and relevant.

Check the comfort and fit

We need our people’s focus to be on optimal performance and delivery. Comfort with organisational policies instils this freedom and empowerment to get on with things knowing that what underpins our efforts is solid and aligned. Taking the time to allow everyone to constructively critique whilst we develop and implement diversity policy is fundamental as this process ensures that maximum advantage is taken of diverse viewpoints and a spectrum of ideas on improvement. It is after all a building process of creating the architecture of the organisation that establishes the potential conditions and environment in which all people are allowed to excel.

If organisational people recognise that workplace policies and procedures are balanced and provide the scope to achieve the best outcomes for all, this will facilitate acceptance and support of them. When inclusivity is at the forefront of the development and implementation of diversity policy, we increase our chances of not only safeguarding the workplace but also making our strategies in this regard more sustainable as the will of the people has been accounted for and they will be accountable as a result.

We do not want policies that confine us. It is preferable that they simply facilitate the right choices, actions, and outcomes. Instead of being a noose around our necks, great policies are intrinsically rewarding.   

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