A hot topic and buzzword: diversity. It is defined as the degree of differences in identifying features among the members of a group, such as differences in racial or ethnic classifications or gender. But the list goes on: religion, philosophy, physical abilities, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, gender identity, intelligence, mental health, physical health, genetic attributes, behavior or attractiveness.

I was surprised to hear the robust list of categories that fall under the diversity umbrella while attending a recruiting forum on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This is not my first time helping recruit talent, but it is my first time thinking about the process holistically. In other words, you can’t have diversity without inclusion. From who we are interviewing at Momentum to how a new hire feels among their coworkers, inclusion must come from a place of innovation, not as an afterthought.

How you make employees feel is just as important as bringing in different perspectives. There are programs and practices that can be put in place to make a fun and safe working environment.

  • Encourage vulnerability: be open and lead with weaknesses, remove negativity in reference to neurodiversity
  • Speak openly about mental health: offer mental health days, encourage therapy, advocate for and demonstrate work/life boundaries, encourage open dialogue in the office if you are not okay
  • Provide courses on finance: provide an expert on paying down student debt, saving for weddings, kids, etc. A common stress for employees is finances and programs such as these show investment in well being beyond the paycheck.

No business is perfect, but the ones that make an effort to make their employees feel integral to the company’s narrative are making a difference in workplace environments and have better retention rates. At Momentum, we strive to engage our employees as much as our clients. Our practice is ‘we get you’ and ‘we get you there.’ As a Momentum employee, we also want to ‘get you’ and have you here.

Thanks to this forum on diversity, equity, and inclusion, I left with valuable insight into workplace culture. The forum closed out with this question, ‘what does excellence look like (when hiring) for your company?’