The B Corp Guide: How to Create and Maintain Diversity in a Company

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Certified B-Corp companies have been successfully certified by the nonprofit organization B Lab. These companies hold high standards for environmental and social responsibility, and use business as a force for good. Workplace Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is a major consideration when it comes to B Lab's certification processes, and thankfully they provide plenty of advice and resources that can be used to create a more diverse workplace. If you're looking to make sure your office is a safe, diverse and socially-minded place, these tips can help.

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Develop a shared language

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Creating mutual understandings in the workplace is the first step to creating a diversity-oriented workplace. People naturally have differing definitions of inclusion and diversity. Managers can start by holding discussions aimed at creating mutual definitions for common terms like "inclusion" and "cultural competency". Establishing this shared understanding helps companies address processes and policies with less confusion, and ensures department heads, HR and employees are all on the same page when it comes to cultural expectations and requirements.

Have a measurement plan

Etsy is a popular B Corp company that recently released a public diversity report about their workplace. Their data shows that they've made great strides in gender representation across their teams. Having data like this helps companies target specific D&I issues and present their progress to internal teams or the general public.

B Lab offers several inclusivity metrics for companies to track.

A strong measurement plan also helps stakeholders get on the same page by using more objective information to make big choices.

Create policies

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Policies are important because they solidify a company's commitment to diversity by formalizing good practices in the business structure. Managers should consider establishing diversity policies related to equal employment, harassment, discrimination and complaints (at the very least). Companies like Mightybytes have used formalized policies to strengthen the values and practices they already hold. Creating well-grounded policies is especially helpful for companies that might be going through rapid change where shifting strategies and objectives may reduce the emphasis on diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Appoint a committee

Diversity initiatives require the same amount of dedication and accountability as any other business initiative. B Lab recommends appointing a diversity manager or committee to make sure diversity policies continue to adapt and progress. A diversity committee is considered the best option: representation of women and minorities has been found to improve by 9% to 30% within the first five years of a committee's creation. Committees also provide an opportunity to gather varied opinions on diversity and connect staff across multiple departments.

Sodexo's Diversity Leadership Council offers a great example of a business' commitment to diversity.

The council has included the company's C-suite executives and even reports its progress to external diversity and inclusion boards.

Conduct training

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Diversity training helps increase the understanding of your teams and bring about a new level of cultural awareness to the office. Managers looking to implement a training program should take a nuanced approach. Training shouldn't emphasize legal risks or compliance when it comes to diversity—research has shown that these approaches often backfire, showing a lack of commitment to the values of diversity. Training should also be conducted by a strong facilitator to ensure people's voices are heard and conversations focus on the topic. Unconscious bias is a great place to start when conducting diversity training. Managers can tap into bias training resources like Harvard's attribution test or Google's unbiasing workshop to get started with fighting bias and improving diversity.

A culture of diversity helps companies remain innovative while bolstering efforts to hire the best talent. A more diverse workplace is not only more socially-responsible, but it also benefits from various skill sets and perspectives. If your workplace can demonstrate its commitment to social responsibility, you can serve as a leading example within your field—and attract clients not only due to the quality of your service, but also the values at the core of your operations. Managers interested in creating inclusive spaces should consider B Lab's certification.

Learn more about how facility managers can create more inclusive workspaces or find out how OfficeSpace software can help you streamline operations so that you can focus on creating an inclusive and diverse workplace culture.

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