Blog Image
Diversity and Inclusion

Embracing Inclusivity: Unleashing the Power of Diversity Programs

  • Omer Usanmaz
  • June 5 2023

In a constantly changing world, organizations recognize diversity's pivotal role in fostering a culture of social responsibility. In implementing effective diversity programs, companies increase employee awareness, establish dedicated teams, implement accountability measures, and promote transparency, ultimately positively impacting recruitment, promotion, and overall organizational culture. When you recruit a member for your team, the first expectation they'll have from a company is to find someone to whom they can relate and connect. Diversity, at the core and essence of it all, is about getting different perspectives each person brings to your team. In a short view of the past, there have been a few race discrimination lawsuits against mega conglomerates for understanding how the systemic shift towards cultural diversity is vital.

This blog will explore how diversity programs contribute to social accountability and discuss some unintended side effects that organizations should consider by delving into the importance of effective diversity and how to create mentorship programs that truly work for the inclusion of underrepresented groups. Leaders, companies, and even organizations are embarking on the journey to understand the power of diversity and its role in building a socially accountable workplace.

How do Diversity Programs Help in Social Accountability?

Diversity programs create a culture of social accountability by increasing the awareness of the role responsibilities and expectations of the individual, establishing dedicated teams to discuss diversity goals, implementing accountability measures across different groups, and promoting transparency within each other. They encourage individuals at all levels of the organization to take responsibility for fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace, leading to a positive impact on recruitment, promotion, and overall organizational culture.


Diversity often emphasizes transparency by providing data and information regarding diversity metrics, such as representation and inclusion programs within the organization. By making this information accessible to employees, managers, and stakeholders, it creates a sense of accountability. People become aware of the existing disparities and are more likely to question or challenge biases or unfair practices.

Task Forces and Committees

Many organizations establish diverse task forces or committees composed of individuals from various departments representing diverse backgrounds, like Hispanic and Asian-American men and women. These teams are responsible for evaluating diversity data, identifying areas that need improvement, and developing strategies to address them. By having these dedicated groups, there is an increased level of accountability as they monitor progress, hold discussions, and propose actionable solutions.

Accountability Measures

Diversity programs often incorporate accountability measures that hold individuals and departments responsible for promoting diversity and inclusion. For example, diversity managers may be evaluated based on their efforts in fostering diversity within their teams, including recruitment, mentorship, and promotion practices. This accountability encourages managers to engage in fair and unbiased decision-making processes actively.

External Reporting

Some organizations publish diversity reports or engage external advisory councils to assess their diversity initiatives objectively. These reports and evaluations hold the organization accountable to stakeholders, investors, and the public. They also serve as a benchmark for measuring progress and highlighting areas that still need attention.

Case Study - Deloitte and Social Accountability: Building a Positive Business Environment

Deloitte creates a positive business environment that promotes social accountability. The organization recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion not only for the well-being and growth of its employees but also for driving innovation, better decision-making, and sustainable business success.

Leadership Commitment

Deloitte demonstrates a solid commitment to diversity and inclusion from its leadership team. The CEO and other managing partners closely monitor and drive progress in diversity and inclusion efforts. This top-down commitment sets the tone for the entire organization and sends a clear message that diversity is a priority.

Task Forces and Local Goals

Deloitte establishes diversity task forces and encourages regional offices to set goals to address specific diversity challenges. These task forces monitor women's career progress and contact among women and work towards creating equal opportunities for advancement. By involving various organizational stakeholders, Deloitte thus ensures that diversity efforts are tailored to address local issues effectively.

Transparency and Metrics

Deloitte emphasizes transparency by tracking and reporting diversity metrics across the organization. By publicly sharing diversity data, such as representation and promotion rates, Deloitte holds itself accountable to its employees, clients, and external stakeholders. This transparency hereby creates a sense of urgency and motivates the organization to take measurable actions to address any disparities.

Mentoring and Career Development

Deloitte promotes mentorship and informal mentoring relationships to support the career development of colored and white women and underrepresented groups. By providing access to mentorship opportunities, they ensure that individuals from backgrounds like black, Hispanic, and Asian-American women have the guidance and support necessary to succeed within the organization. This approach fosters a positive and inclusive environment where everyone has an equal chance to grow and thrive.

External Advisory Council and Reporting

Deloitte engages an external advisory committee to provide an objective perspective on its diversity initiatives. This council issues annual progress reports, which provide an unbiased assessment of the organization's diversity efforts. By seeking external input and feedback, Deloitte holds itself accountable to best practices and ensures its diversity initiatives align with industry standards.


What are the Different Types of Diversity Programs?

Small and midsize companies test and fail many diversity inclusion practices before understanding what works for them. While formal programs in siloed business units are familiar, offering voluntary training offers flexibility to employees previously not given liberty.

Mentoring and Sponsorship Programs

Mentoring and sponsorship programs pair employees from underrepresented groups with more experienced colleagues who can provide guidance, support, and career advice. Mentoring programs focus on personal and professional development, while sponsorship programs involve influential individuals advocating for the advancement and promotion of diverse talent within the organization.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups that bring together individuals who share common characteristics or experiences, such as race, gender, or sexual orientation. These groups provide a platform for networking, support, and fostering a sense of community within the workplace. ERGs often organize events, workshops, and initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion.

Diversity Training and Education programs

Diversity Training and Education programs aim to increase awareness, knowledge, and understanding of diversity-related issues among male and female employees. They may include workshops, seminars, or online courses covering unconscious bias, cultural competence, and inclusive communication.

Affinity Networks 

Affinity Networks are similar to ERGs but focus on specific demographic or identity groups, such as women, LGBTQ+ individuals, or people with disabilities. These networks provide a supportive space for individuals to connect, share experiences, and collaborate on initiatives that promote inclusion and representation within the organization. They are longer-term, well orchestrated, successful diversity programs that work to build a community together.

Supplier Diversity Programs

Supplier Diversity Programs aim to increase the diversity of suppliers and vendors that an organization works with. These programs encourage sourcing products and services from minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, or other diverse suppliers. Supplier diversity programs promote economic empowerment and a more diverse business ecosystem.

Case Study - AirBNB Black@ERG- Member-exclusive Sample Policies

The member-exclusive sample policies were successful because they provided targeted support and resources specifically tailored to the needs of black employees. Addressing the unique challenges and experiences faced by the black community, these policies created a sense of belonging, encouraged professional growth, and contributed to increased representation within the company. Airbnb's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion was evident through these policies, fostering an inclusive and supportive workplace culture for black employees and allies.

Professional Development and Training

The ERG organized workshops, seminars, and training sessions exclusively for its members, focusing on career development and skill-building. These targeted programs equipped black employees with the necessary tools and knowledge to excel in their roles, navigate challenges, and advance their careers within Airbnb.

Resource Sharing and Support

Black@ERG implemented policies encouraging knowledge sharing and support among its members. Dedicated initiatives like these create a collaborative and supportive space, fostering a strong sense of community that gives AirBNB a unique competitive advantage empowering black employees to overcome obstacles together.

Advocacy and Representation

The ERG actively worked on initiatives advocating for black employees' representation and inclusion within AirBNB. They collaborated with company leadership to ensure fair hiring practices, inclusive policies, and diverse representation across all levels. These policies addressed systemic barriers and demonstrated Airbnb's commitment to valuing and amplifying Black voices and perspectives. 

What are Some Unintended Side Effects of Prioritizing Diversity in Company Policies?

Organizations must ensure to become diversity champions; they are part of a broader strategy that includes building an inclusive culture, addressing biases, providing opportunities for growth and development, and fostering genuine inclusion at all levels of the organization.


Prioritizing diversity without creating an inclusive environment can lead to tokenism, where individuals from underrepresented groups may feel isolated or tokenized, lacking genuine opportunities for growth and advancement.

Resistance and Backlash

Some individuals within the organization may resist diversity initiatives, perceiving them as reverse discrimination or compromising merit-based principles. This resistance can create tensions and hinder the successful implementation of diversity programs.

Incomplete Understanding of Diversity

Companies may focus solely on visible workplace diversity factors, such as race or gender, while neglecting other dimensions of diversity, such as cognitive diversity or diversity of thought. This limited understanding may hinder the full potential of diversity programs.

Lack of Inclusive Culture

Diversity programs alone cannot create an inclusive culture. If the organizational culture does not support and value diversity, the impact of diversity initiatives may be limited or short-lived. It becomes a part of negative incentives that influence how employees view their organization.

Unintended Bias

Despite the best intentions, fresh college recruits may inadvertently reinforce biases or stereotypes. For example, unconscious biases might influence the selection of employees for mentorship or sponsorship programs, leading to unequal opportunities.

Why is Effective Diversity Important?

Embracing effective diversity programs is critical for organizations to unlock the benefits of diversity, drive innovation, and create a more inclusive and equitable workplace culture. When there's a sensitivity for diversity and inclusion, control tactics fall when the action plan is made around the people instead of the business.

Increased Innovation and Creativity

Effective diversity programs create a cohesive environment where diverse perspectives and experiences are valued. This fosters innovation by bringing together various ideas, insights, and problem-solving approaches. 

Enhanced Decision-Making

Diverse teams have been shown to make better decisions by considering a broader range of viewpoints and challenging groupthink. This can lead to more informed and strategic organizational decision-making processes, including harder ones like termination decisions. 

Improved Problem-Solving

Different backgrounds and experiences within diverse teams contribute to a broader range of solutions when faced with complex problems. By embracing diversity, organizations can tap into their employees' collective intelligence and creativity. 

Better Employee Engagement and Retention

Employees feel more engaged and valued when they work in an inclusive environment where the representation of women and their unique contributions are valued and recognized. Effective diversity programs create a sense of belonging, increasing job contact, satisfaction, and retention.

Expanded Market Reach

Social scientists have studied how effective diversity initiatives help organizations understand and connect with diverse customer bases. The combat study enabled them to tailor products, services, and marketing strategies to a broader range of customers, leading to increased market share and growth opportunities. 

Mitigation of Legal and Reputational Risks

Organizations prioritizing diversity solutions and inclusion demonstrate their commitment to fairness, equality, and social responsibility. This helps mitigate legal and reputational risks associated with discrimination, bias, or exclusionary practices. 

How to Create Inclusive Mentorship Programs that Work?

When it's about mentoring and nurturing the people within your organization, leading with transparency also leads to organizations growing within and outward. Every toxic work environment works with vague boundaries that no one respects, but with the right mentors sharing their personal experiences, progress will have a direction that delivers results.

The following strategies can be created, keeping in mind diversity in the workplace. 

  1. Establish Clear Goals: Define the objectives and outcomes of the mentorship program. Determine what skills, knowledge, or experiences mentees should gain and how the program aligns with the organizational goals. When establishing clear goals, it is important to consider the diverse perspectives, experiences, and aspirations of mentees, allowing them to chart their own path to success.
  2. Select Mentors Carefully: Identify mentors with the expertise, experience, and interpersonal skills to effectively guide and support mentees. Consider matching mentors and mentees based on shared interests, goals, or backgrounds. Selecting mentors carefully should prioritize diversity, ensuring representation from various backgrounds, cultures, and identities. 
  3. Provide Mentor Training: Offer mentorship training to ensure mentors have the necessary skills to provide guidance, feedback, and support. Training can cover active listening, effective communication, goal-setting, and coaching techniques.
  4. Foster Trust and Rapport: Create a safe and trusting environment where mentees feel comfortable sharing their challenges and seeking guidance. Encourage open and honest communication between mentors and mentees. Fostering trust in the mentorship program requires creating an inclusive and welcoming environment where individuals feel valued and respected regardless of their differences.
  5. Set Clear Expectations: Establish clear expectations and boundaries for mentors and mentees. Clarify the frequency and duration of meetings, the focus areas of the mentorship, and any specific goals or milestones to be achieved.
  6. Tailor the Program to Individual Needs: Recognize that each mentee has unique plans and learning styles. Customize the mentorship program to meet mentees' specific needs and aspirations, providing personalized guidance and support. Tailoring the program to suit needs should take into account the diverse learning styles, communication preferences, and cultural sensitivities of participants. 
  7. Facilitate Regular Communication: Encourage regular meetings and ongoing communication between mentors and mentees. Organizations can achieve it through in-person meetings, virtual platforms, or both.
  8. Provide Resources and Support: Offer resources, tools, and additional support to enhance the mentorship experience. This can include access to relevant training materials, networking opportunities, or connections to other professionals in the field.
  9. Monitor and Evaluate Progress: Continuously assess the progress and effectiveness of the mentorship program. Collect feedback from mentors and mentees to identify areas of improvement and ensure the program remains impactful.
  10. Recognize and Celebrate Success: Acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and milestones of mentees and mentors. Recognize the contributions of mentors and highlight success stories to inspire others and reinforce the value of the mentorship program.

To create mentorship programs that truly work and foster a successful workplace, it is essential to recognize the inherent link between diversity and the program's strategies. By embracing diversity as a guiding principle, organizations can ensure that these strategies are tailored to suit the unique needs of their diverse workforce. By integrating diversity into every aspect of the mentorship program, organizations can empower individuals, cultivate inclusivity, and maximize the program's impact.

Embrace Strategic Diversity Programs for a Conducive Environment 

A comprehensive approach to diversity is critical to addressing the discrimination deeply rooted in capitalism-driven corporate cultures. A plan is essential in charting the company's future when combating it. A mandatory diversity training plan surrounding transparency can drive performance that delivers on your acquired talent. It's not just about the damage control, as everything contributes to better accountability practices in the short and long term.

It's critical to consider the experiences of employees as most discrimination complaints come from a unique interpretation of their presence; it is never about what happens but the way it is perceived. Leading with empathy is at the core of how diversity programs will solve your organization’s growth issues. If you'd like to learn and explore how you can initiate diversity programs in your organization, drop us a line!

Starting a mentorship program... Please look at Qooper!

"Out of the box, it has everything you need to get a mentorship program off the ground. It is easy to implement, easy to use, has an intuitive user interface and great customer service."

Lea B.
Tommy Bahama

G2 Rating Schedule a Demo