Laila Al-Lamadani

Laila Al-Lamadani is a senior level HR professional and frequent contributor to business publications. In the following article, Laila Al-Lamadani discusses how driving forward with diversity and inclusion begins at the very heart of a company: its Human Resources department.

Companies the world over are talking more and more about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. But are these simply buzzwords, or are they standards of professionalism that all employers should strive to live by?

Investing in these two important facets of the working environment must begin in HR, from the moment a person is hired, to the moment they leave for pastures new.

Why Human Resources Sets the Standard

Laila Al-Lamadani says that the HR department has a unique opportunity in a company: it gets to take a look from above, zoom out and cast an eye over the company’s entire structure, its working practices, and the way colleagues interact with one another.

It hears cases of unrest or dissatisfaction and works to correct these issues. A good Human Resources department is one that people feel they can approach in confidence, while at the same being transparent in its practices and policies.

Living in a country filled with many diverse people from different backgrounds, cultures, ethnic groups, abilities, means that such diversity should also be reflected in the workplace. Laila Al-Lamadani explains how HR plays a role.

Advertising and Interviewing for Jobs

Recruitment begins with an advertisement, and by placing job ads in different places will attract different people. Being open to hiring people with different abilities and experience will also mean being less stringent with the job’s requirements as listed in the advertisement.

Inviting candidates to interview with diversity and inclusion in mind can be as simple as ensuring that there’s disability access for candidates or interpreters for those who may need them explains Laila Al-Lamadani.

Creating the Right Atmosphere

A working environment that promotes diversity and inclusion is more than one that hires according to the principle of tokenism, or one that hires people of color, gender, or disability based purely on a box-ticking exercise.

It means building teams where every single member has equal access to advancement and opportunity. At times this means acknowledging that in today’s environment, not everyone is considered equal. What sets companies apart in diversity and inclusion is when they buck the trend of the outside world.

Strategist Verna Myers said that “diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” This statement is particularly powerful in the context of the workplace: hiring someone just because they tick diversity boxes will not get the best out of them, or the team they’re placed into.

Rethink Policies

The world is constantly changing, and human resources departments must be aware of such changes and be honest with current company practices. Laila Al-Lamadani explains that those that are outdated and even problematic should be reviewed, and where necessary, revised through changes in policy.

Equality Acts, laws around discrimination, and even state-run initiatives can all affect policies written by human resources. Policies protect not only the rights of workers but help prevent discrimination, along with giving employees the right to raise issues with the employer, without prejudice.

Laila Al-LamadaniDiverse Workplaces are More Successful

Diversity is the portrayal of different life experiences, ways of thinking, and input, all coming together. It’s not necessarily easy at times but working at promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace means more success in the long run. Companies that prize diversity and inclusion are shown to be more successful in both recruiting and retaining stronger candidates.

In encouraging diversity and inclusivity, employers are advertising that they welcome imagination and creative thought, that they are a company that wants to listen to its employees, and that the wellbeing of their workforce is important to them.

The backbone of these changes has to be the human resources department according to Laila Al-Lamadani. It is through HR that the core values of diversity and inclusion are laid out from the moment a prospective employee begins to show interest in a company.

Today, many of those searching for a new challenge will determine their interest in a company based on its diversity and inclusion, both in theory and in practice. Laila Al-Lamadani says that HR professionals understand not only the changing social climate outside of the workplace, but how to effectively bring aspects of it into the businesses and teams they work for.

Human resources sets the standard, and when it is a standard of diversity and inclusion, the culture of the entire company will work to attain it.