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Diversity and Inclusion Onboarding: Creating Inclusive Experiences

Creating an inclusive onboarding experience is essential for any organization that values diversity and belonging. It's a great way to welcome new team members from different backgrounds and ensure that everyone feels comfortable and accepted in the workplace right from the start. 

The Value of an Inclusive Onboarding Experience

Proper onboarding provides immense value for both employers and employees. It sets the tone for a workplace that is open, welcoming, and affirming of all individuals, regardless of their background or identity. This type of onboarding experience can help create a culture of respect and acceptance in the workplace, which can lead to higher employee engagement, improved productivity, and decreased turnover rates. 

Additionally, it can help to create an environment where everyone feels empowered to be their authentic selves, which can help to foster creativity, collaboration, and innovation. An inclusive onboarding experience is an important investment that can have a lasting impact on the success of any organization. Overall, onboarding new employees in an inclusive can help create a positive, collaborative, and productive workplace.

“When we revamped Orion Talent’s onboarding program with an eye for DEI, it was important to clearly convey to our all of our new hires why Orion is a great choice, how glad we are that they have chosen us, and to provide them with the tools and resources they need to succeed in their new role,” explains Shanté Williams, VP People and Culture at Orion Talent.

“Our onboarding program not only includes an overview and introduction to Orion Talent, but discusses our core values, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Orion, how to engage with Support Services, and what to expect from their first day, first week, first month, etc. And we don’t just do this in one session - we extended our onboarding process, which provides several opportunities to reinforce our DEI journey. By providing an in-depth look at the people and processes of Orion, we better situate our new employees for success, no matter their background.”

How to Make Your Onboarding Experience Inclusive for Diverse Employees

To make your onboarding experience inclusive for diverse employees, it’s important to create a welcoming environment. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as:

Making sure the onboarding process is tailored to the individual.  Ask each new team member questions about their background, interests, and experience, and use this information to customize their onboarding experience.

Including diversity and inclusion topics in your onboarding initiatives.  Introduce new team members to your company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives and discuss how they can contribute to these efforts.

Providing resources and training to help new team members get up to speed.  Offer resources such as an employee handbook, links to online training courses, and information about policies and procedures.

Using technology to provide a personalized onboarding experience.  Utilize online tools, such as video conferencing, to introduce new team members to existing employees and help them build relationships with their colleagues.

Creating a safe and welcoming environment.  Make sure new team members feel comfortable and included by creating an atmosphere that is free from discrimination, harassment, and other forms of exclusion.

Make it clear that diversity and inclusivity are core values of your company.

Clearly state that your company is committed to creating a culture of diversity and inclusivity. Illustrate that everyone should be respected and valued for their unique perspectives, experiences, and contributions. You can also use your onboarding experience as a time to celebrate differences and to show that you are an Employer of Choice that reflects the diversity of the communities you serve.

Implement an onboarding component or session dedicated to diversity and inclusivity.

The onboarding session could include topics such as understanding and valuing differences, recognizing and respecting different identities and backgrounds, promoting an inclusive and respectful workplace, and fostering an environment of acceptance and understanding. You can also discuss the Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), diversity committees, and other diversity initiatives your company has and how new employees can get involved.

Make sure your employees and leadership are trained and educated in inclusivity.

To ensure all your employees and leadership are trained and educated in inclusivity, consider implementing a mandatory annual training program covering topics such as microaggressions,  implicit bias and cultural competency. Additionally, you may find that voluntary workshops and seminars that explore both the history and current state of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace are valuable. 

Create employee resource groups (ERGs) for diverse candidates in different demographics.

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are an important part of creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. ERGs provide a sense of belonging and support for members of different demographics and can help to foster collaboration and understanding. ERGs are a great way to develop a more diverse workforce and can help to create an environment of acceptance and understanding. 

To create ERGs for different demographics, it's important to research the population you want to target and create a clear plan for the group. Outline the purpose of the group, the type of activities it will facilitate, and the goals it will strive to achieve. Additionally, it's important to make sure the group is structured in such a way that it encourages members to participate and feel welcome. Lastly, it's important to provide resources, such as mentors and programs, to help the group reach its goals.

Build a mentorship program for new hires.

Creating a successful mentorship program for new hires can be an effective way to help employees get up to speed quickly and become productive members of the team. To get started, consider the following steps:

Identify who the mentors and mentees will be: It’s important not only to identify the participants but to match them up based on their experience, skills, and knowledge.

Establish goals and expectations: Establishing goals and expectations for the mentorship program will help ensure that everyone involved is on the same page.

Create an agenda for meetings: Creating an agenda for each meeting will ensure that both the mentor and mentee are prepared and have an understanding of the topics to be discussed.

Set up regular check-ins: Regular check-ins between the mentor and mentee will allow them to stay on track and review progress.

Provide feedback: Providing feedback on progress, both positive and constructive, will help the mentee understand their strengths and weaknesses and how to improve.

One example of this type of structured relationship-building is the Orion 6 Buddy program at Orion Talent. “We have developed the Orion 6 Buddy program to help new employees transition into their role, team, and overall culture within Orion Talent.  Orion Buddies conduct regular check-ins and are generally available to the new employee to inform, assist, and answer questions as they enter their role during their first 6 months,” says Shanté.

Implement an Inclusive Onboarding Experience at Your Organization

Remember that your onboarding program is a new employee’s first true glimpse at your culture and sets the tone for their employment. It is your opportunity to welcome your employees and show them that they can bring their true selves to work and feel included and valued. If you need more strategies for implementing an onboarding program that highlights DEI at your company, Orion Talent can help. As Shanté shared above, integrating DEI into your onboarding process is key to retaining the diverse spectrum of employees you employ.

If you’re not sure where to start or could use a little help with your diversity hiring strategy, be sure to check out Orion Talent’s HirePurpose™ Diversity Sourcing and Talent Attraction Solution. We connect industry-leading companies with diverse job seekers desiring an inclusive workplace while helping our clients build a culture where all employees can bring their authentic selves to work each day. 

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