Create a Safe, Inclusive Work Environment
Even the most harmonious teams encounter conflicts. While cross-collaborative structures prevent most problems from escalating, third-party input is necessary from time to time. Implement an open-door policy, and make sure senior managers and HR associates follow through. Employees are more likely to address issues head-on if they know they’ll be supported.
Let your team know that it’s safe to speak up. A zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate or disrespectful behavior reassures employees that they can stand up for themselves and their colleagues without fear of professional fallout. LinkedIn’s Senior Vice President of Global Talent Organization Pat Wadors notes, “If you don’t feel like you truly belong and you can’t speak your mind or feel safe, then you won’t unlock that diversity of thought, which is really what drives innovation."
Most importantly, practice diversity in all aspects of the company. If you’re hiring a wide range of people, those demographics should be represented in every meeting and management level. Including diverse voices in key decisions ensures that all viewpoints are heard and that people of all backgrounds feel safe to speak their minds.
True diversity isn’t about quotas or other calculated strategies; it’s about inviting people with varied perspectives to be a part of your mission and then making them feel welcome and empowered. Diversity should occur organically as you bring together people of different backgrounds but similar values to do something great.
About the Author: Deren Baker is the CEO of Jumpshot, a San Francisco-based startup that offers marketing analytics solutions tailored for the travel, retail, media, financial, and e-commerce industries. He previously held senior roles at Travelocity and Switchfly.