There’s a reason the world’s leading brands are focusing more on diversity and inclusion. Beside the obvious reasons (it’s the right thing to do), a diverse workforce can be an incredible asset in creating more engaged, happy, and productive employees.
This is especially true for the contact center industry. Compared to most work environments, contact centers that specialize in omnichannel and multi-brand services actually need diversity. Every brand an outsourcer partners with requires different hiring profiles to capture its essence and values in its customer service. This means a diverse workforce is essential.
As we know, consumers are expecting more from brands in their customer service approaches. To meet these needs, the linguistic, regional, educational, and experiential backgrounds of Customer Service Representatives must align with the brands they serve. But how do you assess a contact center’s plan for inclusion? How do you ensure team members feel valued and respected, and have equal access to opportunities?
For diversity and inclusion to be ingrained in an organization, they need to be recognized as values of the company. Every decision, project, communication, and action should be guided through those values.
There are three pillars that brands should follow to ensure their diversity plan works: transparency, education, and accountability. Let’s walk through them below.
When a company’s vision for diversity and inclusion is formalized and accessible to all its employees, it provides a benchmark for performance measurement. Some organizations are extremely transparent with their goals for diversity and inclusion, and share them publicly on their website, while others choose to keep the initiatives internal. With either approach, being transparent with the plan’s vision and goals will make it much more likely to succeed.
Promoting diversity isn’t the sole domain of the HR department. All company leaders and managers need to understand the role they play and the impact of their decisions.
Having formal training in place is a great start, but there also needs to be regular reminders so there isn’t a disconnect between the company’s vision and its peoples’ actions.
One practical way to educate leaders on the benefits of diversity is to ensure your teams or working groups are as diverse as possible. Having different views and experiences within working groups naturally leads to more creative and inclusive solutions, and that can be a real education for leaders.
It’s one thing to promote your vision and educate your teams on how to achieve it, but how do you hold people accountable? How do you monitor and measure the success of your efforts?
To be accountable, it’s important to have a defined goal, one that’s specific and measurable. With this in mind, diversity and inclusion groups and councils can then be given specific business problems to solve, where results are measured regularly.
Diversity is an incredible asset for any organization, but it’s a journey, not a destination. By having a defined goal, being transparent and communicating your vision, educating your leaders and managers, and holding everyone in your organization accountable, you’ll be able to successfully map your journey as you forge ahead.
We asked our team members how they defined diversity. Here’s what they had to say: