When all of your employees feel respected, supported, and included, your organization can grow and thrive. In a survey of North American organizational leaders, conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, two-thirds of respondents said diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a high strategic priority for their organization.
In healthcare, DEI is essential for both patient experience and operational performance. Studies show that patient health outcomes are generally better when they receive care from diverse teams. Financial results, innovation, team communications, and risk assessment also show improvements with increased diversity. Advancing DEI in your organization won’t happen overnight; it is more effective as a long-term approach to creating new mindsets and programs. Here are three strategies to get started.
- Start at the top.
The commitment to DEI has to start with senior leadership. Organizational leaders must recognize DEI as a strategic priority and a core part of their workplace culture. If leaders communicate clear goals and track programs with transparency and accountability, they are more likely to be successful. Drive DEI initiatives from the top down and look for opportunities to give everyone in the organization a voice across processes and programs.
- Address unconscious bias.
Unconscious bias is harmful in any workplace and can have a negative impact on recruitment, retention, advancement, professional development, culture, and morale. But unconscious bias can have even more serious consequences in a healthcare setting, where stereotypes may affect patient care and communications.
Provide ongoing unconscious bias training to everyone in your organization. Teach all employees how to recognize and manage their biases, adjust their behavior, and monitor their progress — and remind leaders about checking their biases before making hiring, promotion, or performance review decisions.
- Focus on the long term.
Make DEI fundamental to your culture and invest time, money, and effort into cultivating it over the long term. Set a budget for DEI training and integrate programs and curriculum throughout each year. Don’t think of DEI as a one-time effort or a box to check off; look for ways to continuously include, recognize, and empower your diverse team in these initiatives.
We believe happier and healthier people are the biggest driver behind a thriving business. This blog post is part of our Heart of the Business initiative and our ongoing commitment to delivering health and wellness content to support healthy employees, and in turn, healthy businesses.
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