To achieve diversity, you have to start long before there’s an idea to discuss, and you have to understand that diversity alone is not the answer.  Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand.

    • Pay attention to candidate sourcing.  Does your current candidate pool consist exclusively of students from certain universities or from referrals from existing employees?  If you recruit from the same sources, you’ll continue to hire the same employees. Extend your efforts and reach beyond your go-to sources, to new schools and to community programs that can connect you with fresh talent.
  • Acknowledge implicit bias.  Quite often, certain problematic beliefs influence a company’s behavior, even if those beliefs aren’t discussed.  They’re manifested in microaggressions and hiring decisions and delegation of duties.  Understanding where bias naturally exists within your company can help you avoid repeating actions that lead to a lack of diversity and inclusion.
  • Create a culture of inclusion: Diversity means moving a number – filling the ranks with more people of color.  Inclusion, on the other hand, means giving those diverse hires a voice. Help them understand and fit into the existing culture.  Give them a chance to contribute, and when they do, listen to what they have to say. Show them that they’re being taken seriously.
  • Train your staff: Get everyone on the same page.  High-level leaders might get the need for diversity, and lower-ranking staff might recognize it isn’t here.  But it’s the mid-level managers who are often responsible for interviewing, hiring, and onboarding. Make sure they’re aligned with the company’s diversity and inclusion goals through certified, thorough diversity training.

It’s painfully apparent when a company doesn’t have a culture of diversity and inclusion.  To avoid the racial bias that has plagued companies like Prada, H&M, and Dove, companies need to ensure inclusivity is woven into their DNA.  With the right people behind the scenes, companies can sidestep controversy and focus on authentic ads that go viral for all the right reasons.