Create a Diverse Company With These 5 Strategies

Joe Weinlick
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Douglas Baker, CEO of Ecolab, understands the meaning of a diverse company. Firms that diversify their staff outperform companies that do not, and millennials expect to be a part of a diverse group of employees. Check out five strategies Ecolab uses to successfully push toward a more diverse workplace so you can improve your company's inclusivity and profits.

1. Set Clear Goals

Have regular leadership meetings where everyone sets clear goals and expectations on the path to becoming a more diverse company. This includes forming a plan for how teams practice inclusion, taking a hard look at what you can improve and purposefully managing hires toward better diversity for a well-rounded workforce. Doing so represents a way to build respect and trust among employees because everyone is transparent in meeting these goals.

2. Start With Leadership

A diverse company starts with leadership, because those leaders may hire a diverse set of people to have on their teams. For example, Ecolab's board was just 8 percent women in 2006. As of 2018, the board is 31 percent women. As part of its diversity push, Ecolab recognized it had to start at the top and work its way down to have a more inclusive environment for company executives, top-level managers, mid-level managers, team supervisors and entry-level employees.

3. Train Staffers

Once you set goals and bring in the right type of leadership, your leaders should undergo some type of relevant training to recognize unconscious bias, deliver on actionable goals and raise awareness to make the necessary changes that lead to a diverse company. Training for unconscious bias helps your employees be more mindful of what they can do to be more inclusive while becoming aware of their own preconceived notions. Delivering on goals and reporting on these goals at regular team meetings holds everyone accountable for their actions when increasing diversity. Raising awareness helps spread the word of what's happening at your company.

4. Spark Interest

Maintain interest in your goals to improve diversity by talking about inclusion on a regular basis. Ecolab's diversity team has quarterly meetings. The company also instituted unconscious bias training as part of its onboarding process for new sales associates. At one point, more than 40 training sessions occurred within one week across the world, which showed just how much Ecolab valued diversity.

5. Maintain Accountability

Setting goals without accountability is a lost cause. Implement policies that benefit everyone and not just one particular class of employees in a diverse company. For example, parental leave should not have a bias toward gender or a particular family situation. Develop scorecards for leaders that show how they measure success in terms of employee happiness, retention rates and growth on their teams. Have regular conversations about these scorecards and discuss ways to improve your firm's diversity.

Your diverse company has much to gain and accomplish in the coming years, including a better overall work environment where employee opinions matter. These five strategies are just part of the overall diversity picture. What has your company done to improve inclusivity at the office?

Photo courtesy of Davi Carvalho at


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