The Role of Mentorship in Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

In this article, we discuss the role of mentorship in promoting diversity and inclusion with your organisation.

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Diversity and inclusion have both become more prioritised over the last several years. As efforts to make workplaces and educational institutions more inclusive have been growing significantly, more people are becoming curious about the process of doing this effectively.

Though it’s not commonly highlighted as a method to achieve diversity and inclusion, mentorship is a key practice that can play an important role in bringing these ideas to fruition. Understanding the tremendous impact that mentorship can have on efforts of this nature can give one a deeper perspective on the rise of diversity and inclusion in workplaces and educational institutions.

Here is the role of mentorship in promoting diversity and inclusion.

The Role of Mentors in Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education

Before professionals go on to step into professional roles in different industries, they typically receive an education at a college or university. Unfortunately for those from underrepresented groups, such as racial minorities, this can seem intimidating and unwelcoming.

However, diversity in higher education can be benefited substantially through mentors and mentorship programs. Mentors can be extremely helpful to those from underrepresented groups because these individuals often need additional guidance and support to feel welcome in their educational settings.

In addition to providing support, mentors have the ability to connect their mentees from underrepresented groups with a number of resources to make their college careers more manageable. Beyond school itself, mentors can also widen the networks of their mentees and possibly even expose them to people and organisations that may one day end up employing them.

The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

In workplaces, diversity and inclusion have the power to radically transform work culture and productivity. It’s been shown that companies made up of diverse individuals are better at decision-making and problem-solving. In addition, diverse groups are often shown to be more creative as they feature many different perspectives that can drive ideation and brainstorming in many distinct directions.

In terms of inclusion, inclusive workplaces typically have far better work cultures and rates of employee satisfaction. If some employees feel out of place, ostracised, or unwelcome in their workplace, it makes the workplace feel more toxic and unenjoyable.

Thankfully, more and more efforts have been initiated by masses of organisations to make their workplaces more diverse and inclusive. While there is still progress to be made, many seeds have now been planted that will hopefully result in a radically more diverse work landscape a decade from now.

How Mentorship Promotes Diversity and Inclusion

A disheartening fact that rings true across many industries is that many groups are egregiously underrepresented. From people from certain backgrounds to people with certain characteristics, many fields have had a historical and systematic problem with diversity and inclusion.

Thankfully, there are ways to change this and imbue these industries with more varying perspectives. In particular, mentors are an amazing way to boost diversity and make individuals who are underrepresented in their industries feel more welcome.

People from underrepresented groups will likely feel out of place in an industry where the majority of others aren’t like them. In these cases, a mentor has the ability to provide support and guidance, making these individuals feel more included.

By presenting individuals from underrepresented groups with opportunities, mentors have the power to change both industries and lives.

How Mentorship Programs Can Best Address Diversity and Inclusion

While many organisations have mentorship programs of some kind, many of them do not focus on the topics of diversity and inclusion. By prioritising these factors in their programs, organisational leaders can radically alter both the work culture of their company and the number of perspectives employees bring to the table.

To make mentorship programs as effective as possible in promoting diversity and inclusion, some key steps should be followed. These include having clear goals for the program, matching mentors with mentees based on shared interests or goals and encouraging frequent and regular communication.

By paying close attention to what outcomes one hopes to achieve with mentorship programs, these programs will become more effective in making organisations more inclusive and diverse. This being the case, any organisation intent on reaching these goals should invest time and effort in cultivating an effective mentorship program that aims to provide support and guidance to individuals from underrepresented groups.

The Importance of Cultural Competence in Organisations to Improve Diversity and Inclusion

Cultural competence is an important concept that has been prioritised over the last several years. In essence, it’s the ability to understand and respect those from diverse cultures and cultural backgrounds. While this may sound simple, a disheartening amount of people may not even notice when they offend people from diverse backgrounds or make them feel uncomfortable.

It is the job of organisations and organisational leaders to ensure that their employees are culturally competent and respectful of diverse individuals and cultures. If not, those from underrepresented backgrounds will feel unwelcome in their organisations, and even assistance from mentors won’t be enough to make these individuals feel comfortable.

In addition to mentorship programs focused on diversity, another potent way to start promoting cultural competence in organisations is through the creation of a diversity, equity, and inclusion committees (often abbreviated as DEI committees).

These committees are typically put in charge of creating initiatives to create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces and can put all of their efforts toward bringing these visions to life. Any organisational leaders looking for ways to make their companies more diverse and inclusive can do so through the implementation of mentorship programs, DEI committees, and an organisational emphasis on cultural competence.

Mentorship Can Make Organisations More Diverse and Inclusive

Mentorship can play a key role in making workplaces and higher education institutions more diverse and inclusive. By providing mentees from underrepresented groups with the support and guidance they need, mentors can provide the encouragement needed to make a range of industries more diverse.

Hopefully, mentorship programs revolving around the promotion of diversity and inclusion will become more commonplace over the next several years and result in a more diverse makeup of individuals across all industries.

If you want to learn more about supporting diversity and inclusion through mentoring, book a free demonstration with PushFar today.

This article was guest written by Andrew Deen.

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