Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Mentoring Program Handbook:
Congratulations! You've begun your mentorship program. Mentorship has been around for a long time, and it's proven to be one of the best ways to achieve personal and professional growth whether you're a mentor or mentee.
Diversity has become a hot-button topic for organizations around the world. Having a diverse workforce is about more than just a corporate trend. It can be one of the best moves for businesses to make.
Benefits of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in The Workplace
There have been several studies that show diverse workforces are connected to higher revenue. One study found that organizations, where women are given senior management roles, have a 10 percent increase in cash flow returns on investment.
A different study done by McKinsey found that organizations that are more racially and ethnically diverse are 35 percent more likely to see higher revenues. Other data discovered showed that companies with a lack of diversity were 29 percent less likely to see above-average profits.
Organizations Are Expected to Step Up
Employees want to work for organizations that value diversity and inclusion. Research by Gartner found that 74% of employees expect their employer to become more actively involved in the cultural debates of the day.
Through mentorship, organizations create the opportunity for the conversation around DE&I to start.
How diverse are you in thought?
GLLG is a workforce development and business strategy consulting firm. They created an assessment that measures your capacity to convert diversity of thought into opportunities previously unseen to successfully lead through change.
Take the assessment here to see where you stand right now: Diversity of Thought Assessment.
How to be a Good Mentor/Mentee in a Mentoring Program Focused on DE&I
Knowing the importance of DE&I in the workplace and updating the language we use to describe it is the first step in preparing for a DE&I-focused mentoring program. Now let’s look at specific activities that pairs can engage in to strengthen and build awareness around DE&I.
Counteracting unconscious bias
Our brains have to process massive amounts of information every second. To avoid cognitive burnout our brains take shortcuts to simplify all the information we take in. This is efficient, but unfortunately, it can lead to unconscious bias if left unchecked.
Discover unconscious perceptions and behaviors that prevent the full development, utilization, and advancement of all employees.
The first step in mitigating our unconscious biases is by understanding them. For that reason, watch this video by Schroders explaining more about unconscious biases.
Learn how to permanently resolve unconscious patterns of exclusion that result from the perceptions and behaviors above.
There are a number of things we can do to address our unconscious biases. With your mentor or mentee discuss these individual strategies to mitigate unconscious biases. Which one seems the easiest for you or most challenging to overcome or notice?
- Having self-awareness around the tendency to revert to biases.
- Understanding the nature of bias.
- Having discussions around DE&I and unconscious biases with members of your same and dissimilar cultural backgrounds.
Here are some strategies to help tackle unconscious biases from Skillcast:
- Accept that we all have unconscious biases.
- Slow down.
- Monitor your own behaviour.
- Pay particular attention to bias related to age, disability, sex, maternity, race, religion, etc.
- Widen your social circle.
- Avoid making assumptions or relying on gut instinct.
- Speak out if you notice bias.
- Apologise if you get it wrong.
Cross-Cultural Skills Building
Understanding your own tendencies and unconscious biases is the first step to becoming a more diverse, equitable and inclusive individual. As you work on yourself, building bridges with members of different backgrounds is essential to breaking stereotypes and barriers.
By having regular conversations with members of diverse backgrounds with an open mind you’ll gain new perspectives and begin to:
- Enhance the quality of diverse professional relationships through valuing and respecting differences.
- Acquire the skills necessary to communicate effectively where significant personal and cultural differences exist.
- Learn to coach others where cross-cultural relationships or communication difficulties exist.
Empowering the workforce
As individuals, we build up DE&I within our organisations. Having conversations around DE&I and the challenges and opportunities it presents gives us new perspectives that we can bring back to where we work.
In this way, the conversations you have as mentors and mentees are not in a vacuum, but essential development for you to bring back to your organisation. Consider the time with your mentor or mentee an opportunity to:
- Develop personal empowerment to make your organisation more equitable and inclusive.
- Practice conflict and problem resolution as well as reconciliation.
- Learn how to manage stress and preventing burnout when working towards overcoming the systemic challenges of building diverse, equitable and inclusive companies.
If you want to go deeper on the topics discussed above, we have resources on our website that unpack them further.
Download as PDF
How a Diverse Workforce Can Help Company Performance
By Cheryl Strauss Einhorn
Why diversity matters
By Vivian Hunt, Dennis Layton, and Sara Prince
Diversity Of Thought Assessment
Types Of Diversity In The Workplace You Need To Know
By Bailey Reiners
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Glossary
VIDEO: Diversity & Inclusion: Discovering unconscious biases
10 Ways to Reduce Unconscious Bias in the Workplace
By Lynne Callister