I used to work at a large law firm and in the whole time I was there, I never saw another person with a physical, visible disability. It made me feel like I really stood out. 1 in 5 people have a disability (not all are visible) and it’s important that organisations reflect the client base they serve. In addition there are clear social and economic benefits.

People tell me all the time that they wish they had more diversity in their team, but they can’t seem to find diverse talent. Well, there is HEAPS of diverse talent out there, you just have to look in the right places and make sure your business is welcoming towards people from different backgrounds!

Regardless of whether you are a business leader or an employee, there are things you can do in this space to enrich the organisation in which you work and the society in which you live.

Over the coming weeks I will be sharing content on this topic on LinkedIn and Instagram, so I invite you to engage on those platforms (links to my social platforms are in the footer of this website).

For now, here are a few starting tips for building a diverse team:

  • Be an inclusive leader: you can’t just throw a bunch of people together with different backgrounds and leave them to it. Genuine change starts at the top and leaders need to make D&I a personal priority and empower others to challenge the status quo.
  • Get everyone in your team invested: Explain that this is not just a mandate from HR. Set out the social and commercial case for inclusion and why it is important to you. Create a warm and open environment that invites open and inclusive discourse.
  • Look at your data and be prepared to be shocked by the results: If you’re asking employees questions, you need to be prepared to hear answers you don’t like. Don’t shy away or bury it. Publish the data and set a plan to improve your team’s diversity.
  • Set up sub-committees: there will be people in your team who are really passionate about a particular area (Race, LGBTIQ+, disability, gender). Get them involved! Make sure the sub-committees have a mission, objectives, accountability and a budget. It’s crucial that they have the ability to influence.
  • Re-think the way you recruit: I would be the richest person alive if I got $1 every time someone said “I try to recruit more [insert minority group], but I can’t find any”. Sorry guys. You’re just not looking hard enough! I’ll do a longer post about this.
  • Hold senior managers to account: They need mandatory training in inclusive leadership, inclusive hiring and unconscious bias. They also need incentives and to be held to account. So pin bonuses to diversity. Set targets and then back them up with cold, hard cash.