Creating an inclusive diversity policy requires delving into the core values of those who constitute an organization. Aligning organizational values with the fundamental beliefs of individuals is key to infusing workplace policies and procedures with genuine meaning. Acknowledging that policies cannot be policed daily, organizations rely on voluntary cooperation; making “buy-in” pivotal in the development and implementation of diversity policy.
Only when people can see their values reflected in workplace policies and procedures will they voluntarily support and safeguard them. This is because living in a way that contributes to our values being realized contributes to our well-being and happiness. Our values determine our priorities, and we are more inclined to put effort into the things we treasure. It is far easier to match our behavior to workplace requirements when there is a close affiliation. So, whilst honoring diversity in the broadest sense is admirable, in truth if people have extreme values outside of the spectrum that an organization aspires to at its core, these individuals will probably not be a good organizational fit.
Creating Clarity and Unity
For this reason, organizations need to be clear about their core values and must take input on how this should be encapsulated and voiced within its workplace policies and procedures. Often what initially might appear to be divergent values, once discussed and debated, can be distilled to incorporate various interpretations of the same value. For example, the value of freedom has a different meaning for different individuals and groups of people. After organizations engage meaningfully with their people on the value of freedom, different aspects will surface, allowing for a more inclusive framing of it when we develop and implement diversity policy. Open discussion is always key to getting to the heart of matters with a view to increased understanding.
Organizational values cannot be a complete substitute for personal values. So, we need to accept that the alignment will never be perfect. What we are looking for are touchpoints and a large degree of resonance. If people feel proud to be associated with an organization in terms of its espoused values, this is a good starting point and bodes well for the viability of workplace policies and procedures associated with diversity and inclusion. As a first step, leaders within the organization should be excited about their role related to developing and implementing diversity policy. This is a first sign that sustainability has been built into any new or revised policies. They are the advocates and custodians and should have a clear idea of what would be accepted well within their teams. There should be a sense that workplace policies and procedures will act as a cohesive force for good and will be welcomed and motivating.
Every time workplace policies and procedures are used, this is an opportunity to reaffirm organizational shared values as a rally call to collaborate, especially in challenging times. The aim when we develop and implement diversity policy is that they should be helpful to the organization’s growth and evolution, along with everyone within the workplace. The more values make us collectively feel good and influence our behaviour behind common causes, the more relationships will flourish. This takes constant reinforcement by the organization and a real commitment to them, especially when the going gets tough and clear direction is needed to overcome obstacles and potential setbacks.
Staying True to The Core
At the end of the day, when we develop and implement a diversity policy, it needs to have integrity and be authentic. To achieve this, workplace policies and procedures must reflect the standards by which every person in the organization will be judged and will actively frame everyone’s choices and decision-making to produce the best results for the greater good.
In the same way that individuals mature and develop over time in terms of their selection of values, organizations must recognize that regular reflection and reevaluation is required and may lead to ongoing refinement and changes to workplace policies and procedures. This is also part of the process to embed values within the organization, although some values may be constant. However, how they are articulated may need to change over time to fit with organizational transformation and progression.
When we develop and implement diversity policy, we need to understand that this is part of a continuous improvement cycle, just like other aspects of the organization, and must be focused on a vision of future possibilities. We must constantly stretch ourselves to examine our values and encourage others to do the same to increase overall awareness. In this way, everyone has a chance to become a better version of themselves, creating a powerful avenue to truly connect with others. Symmetra stands committed to these principles, contributing to the creation of a more inclusive and connected world.