What is Diversity in the Workplace
Diversity in the workplace is employing a workforce of people of all different backgrounds, varying from race and ethnicity, age, gender, disability, socioeconomic statuses, education, and religion. Implementing a more diverse workforce into your company can lead to many benefits such as, offering new perspectives and an innovative workplace from an array of people that adds to the talent and overall quality of work and employee performance.
Here are 20 ways on how to increase Diversity in the Workplace.
Use the “Inclusive Workplace Model”
Not acknowledging workplace differences can have employees in the workplace left feeling alienated and uncomfortable to be themselves. As your companies starts to incorporate more inclusivity it can really enhance a sense of belonging and company culture that results in employee retention. The values of a company creates the cultures culture and identity, organizations must embrace diversity and make sure employees feel respected and valued.
Examine if executive team portrays diversity
Leaders of your organization should represent the inclusion your company is trying to increase. Companies should make sure to extend diversity to C-level executives as well because it reflects on the beliefs and culture of the company as a whole. The executive of your team are the face of the company so to speak and set the tone for diversity level for the rest of the workforce.
Acknowledge and honor multiple religious and cultural practices
Rather than only paying attention to American known holidays, companies should consider inclusive observance and acknowledge holidays and celebrations from all cultures of the employees of your workplace. It is wise for employers to stay up to date and proactive in recognizing different religious beliefs to not offend employees. Before holding company parties or celebrations, employees should outline dietary restrictions to make sure everyone is welcome and can partake in work-related celebrations.
Establish a welcoming company culture
A culture where everyone is respected and heard is crucial when trying to build a safe, open, family work environment. Having your workplace regularize the freedom of expression and practice employees voicing concerns can make for a workplace more likely to embrace differentiating viewpoints and feel connected. Organizations should strive to build a culture where employees aren’t scared to be their true selves and feel comfortable enough to perform cultural practices. Managers should consider undergoing sensitivity training to learn to avoid bias and how to better embrace different cultures.
Host discussions on gender pay inequality
Companies should acknowledge the different challenges involved with gender and encourage a dialogue about the challenges that women face in the workplace. Transparent communication and revealing company data about the issue and can lead to a more trusting relationship among employees. An honest communication on inequalities in the workplace can establish empath throughout the workplace and encourage a harmonious family environment.
Welcome multilingual employees
Language is a huge factor that effects how an employee can feel included. Translation services should be available if you want to maintain a positive and productive work environment. It may also be beneficial to have language training for all employees in the workplace to earn new language that could positively effect business in the future. Employing multilingual employees can benefit a company by improving relationship between clients and by providing company growth.
Encourage diverse thinking
Increased creativity is the result of having different types of people in your company with different backgrounds and experiences leads to innovation. When you have a workplace comprised of diverse employees, you are sure to present diverse viewpoints and produce a diverse way of thinking important in generating new ideas and feedback that could benefit the workplace.
Build a multi-generational workforce
As millennials have entered and make up majority of the workplace Incorporating multiple generations into the work place is essential and has benefits. Newer generations can help out wherever older generations lack and vice versa building a more cohesive and productive work environment. Employees can learn from opposing work styles that differentiate from what they’re used to.
Incorporate everyone’s needs and preferences in gatherings
Identifying employee preferences early on can guarantee that employees remain comfortable and that experiences are more inclusive for your workplace as a whole. It is important to respect different cultures and make sure everyone is represented in their place of business in order to feel valued. Things such as dietary restrictions, celebrations, need to be taken into account as different people have different ways of doing things.
Strengthen anti-discriminatory policies
Having clear policies stated against discrimination in your organization can lower the rate of employee turnover. Discrimination policies need to be enforced by managers and employees alike to ensure no signs of inappropriate and disrespectful behavior. Policy violations should be put into place so that the seriousness of the discrimination can decline in the workplace.
Make workspaces inclusive
An inclusive workplace can improve company reputation and be what attracts more people to want to work for an organization. Employers should develop work spaces where different feel welcome and safe. For example, having a room dedicated for Muslim employees to perform their daily prayers, or new mothers a safe space to breastfeed, or having an on-site daycare, all of which can help support a safe work environment where everyone feels respected.
Have a non-bias promotion and evaluation processes
Companies should make sure the process of elevation and growth in the workplace is unbiased and lacking favoritism. Managers should train to be gender neutral and blindly review resumes so that they are not subconsciously overlooking candidates that are diverse. Building bias awareness throughout the work force can offer understanding and impact the decision making process. Managers should also tailor job openings to reach broad audiences and larger talent pools.
Collect minority surveys
Segment surveys among companies so that minorities needs, feedback, wants and ideas are accurately represented and heard. Surveys are a great way to anonymously measure and evaluate how well your inclusion efforts are actually working. There are many opportunities in surveys to measure the attitudes, feelings of the workplace. Identifying negative feelings through surveys can uncover opportunities on how better to approach diversity and increase employee retention.
Conduct focus groups
As opposed to simply using surveys, focus groups offer deeper insights and reasoning behind employees’ viewpoints and feelings which can go a long way when trying to implement new rules to establish an inclusion based workplace. During a focus group, employees are allowed to speak freely with a non-biased moderator who simply wants to identify trends and feelings in the workplace. The finding and evaluations of focus group can analyze feelings of respect and empowerment and measure the overall sense of belonging among minority and underrepresented groups.
Implement frequent one-on -one meetings
One-on-one meetings are a personalized approach to connect with your employees. Meetings can be used to build an open door policy environment and can be a chance to know and understand your employees on a deeper lever so that managers can identify with employees from variety of backgrounds. Having one-on one meetings improve productivity and the face to face communication creates loyalty and understanding leaving employees feeling appreciated.
Provide flexible work schedules
Can help attract a wide talent pool of employees and more flexible hours can allow workers to observe cultural and religious holidays and take maternal and paternal leave without feeling bad about missing work. Having flexible work schedules can also improve employee retention because employees won’t have to feel the need to choose between their culture and lives over their jobs and income.
Ask employees for referrals
Referrals can offer exposure to possible employee candidates who are just as qualified from different culture and backgrounds. Instead of going through an extensive search for candidates, employees can refer possible new hires that already have a trusted reference. Asking your employees directly for referrals can have better candidates’ engagement and a smoother transition into the workplace from a previously established relationship. Initiatives should be offered for employees who recommend candidate from underrepresented groups in your company.
Share the decision making process with employees
Including employees in business decision making can foster the feeling of importance to employees and can provide different angles on the issues leading to better decision making. This can likewise increase employee engagement and makes employees more likely to perform higher when they had a hand in implementation. Sharing the decision making process fosters a feeling of trust which is key for positive company culture.
Incorporate mentor-ship programs
Incorporating membership programs into your workplace can ensure personal growth and career development on both ends of the spectrum. It also can have an effect on employment retention and satisfaction. The sharing of knowledge, ideas and insights in a mentor-ship program can diversify leadership positions.
Highlight diversity on your websites and company social media accounts
Showcasing an accurate representation of the diversity in your company publicly can encourage possible job prospects and inquiries, making them better inclined to want to work for an all-inclusive work environment. Showing commitment to diversity online can also foster a better reputation for a company. An organization prided in fairness, equal opportunity and diverse employment practices can offer advantages against other companies.
Disadvantages of Diversity in the Workplace
Among the many benefits of having a diverse workplace, there are still many challenges companies face when trying to implement an inclusive environment. Many challenges include internal resistance, the challenge of overcoming bias, the lack of training programs that could be used to train and mentor diverse hires into leadership positions and the main challenge of failing to align diversity practices with organization goals.
How to Improve Diversity in the Workplace
However, there are many ways companies can improve diversity in their workplace and making a more welcoming place of business. Instead of just having a broad goal of a diverse workplace companies can take steps toward it by planning diversity efforts- having a budget, creating timetables and training program among all employees, collecting feedback, forming meetings dedicated to making diversity a company initiative. It is important organizations have intended target goals for diversity, so they know how accurately implement.
Workplace diversity statistics to Know
A survey report from Boston Consulting Group found that among the Fortune 500 companies only 24 CEO’s equaling only 5% of the total number of CEO’s total(1). Companies must work to represent all peoples of different backgrounds to maintain mutual respect. Diversity is necessary for innovation and if organizations want to continue to grow, companies must embrace diversity and encourage team building that will enhance a greater sense of belonging among employees.
Now that you understand 20 ways you can increase diversity within your work environment, it is time to get started. There are a growing number of resources available to help you with implementing these and other ideas as well as getting your entire company and senior management on board.
Ask yourself if what you are doing today will make a difference in the workplace tomorrow. If you arrive at an affirmative answer, it is time to get started taking baby steps to reach the goals that you have set. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable conversations and work together with your team to overcome workplace diversity challenges.