Three top focus areas for D&I staff initiatives

Written on Jul 13, 2017

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA content manager

Simply instituting diversity and inclusion initiatives isn’t enough for a company; there needs to be a strategy in place to ensure the efforts resonate among staff. According to Danny Caudill, Esq., an HR learning and compliance consultant at Employers Resource Association, this can be achieved in three main areas:

“They definitely want to have good training,” Caudill said. “HR people need to be trained in what the discrimination laws are at the federal, state and local levels.”

It’s important to extend training to everyone in the company, not just the managers and supervisors. Every employee’s training doesn’t need to be as in-depth as the training HR will receive, but he said it’s important everyone understands the basics.

And the training can be more than just the legal aspects. For instance, consider mentioning the positive effects of having a diverse workforce. It’s also helpful to prepare employees for interacting with people who have had different life experiences.

“Not everybody comes from the same background and has the same training,” Caudill said. “Sometimes people are thrown in that are unfamiliar to an employee’s culture and way of speaking.”

Caudill said it’s rare that he meets with a company that doesn’t already have policies in place, but that doesn’t mean they’re good. Anyone can go on the internet and download a PDF of company policies and hand it out to employees, but this could spell doom for your organization down the road.

“You need good policies to make sure you’re complying with the law,” he said.

“At the end of the day if someone can’t buy into the idea, then we may not be able to change your heart but we’re going to control your behavior,” Caudill said.

When an employee does violate a rule, it needs to be handled in a way that makes it clear to everyone else that these policies are not suggestions.

“I suggest that companies focus on training, policies, and enforcement,” he said, “if they want to stay out of trouble.”

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