Diversity in the Workplace – The Basics
As the world gets more and more diverse, it is imperative that the corporate world follow suit. Organizations that lack proper diversity initiatives are sabotaging themselves and their employees, and organizations need to understand that diversity in the workplace is the future. So why is it important, and what are the basics to creating a more inclusive workplace?
- What Does Diversity in the Workplace Really Mean?
Diversity in the workplace means that organizations seek to accept all individuals of all backgrounds, gender identities, races, cultures, ages, disabilities, etc. In today’s working world that is made up primarily of diverse millennial workers, 47% percent say they are actively looking for diversity and inclusion when considering potential employer options according to HR teams. This actually helps organizations pull from a wider pool of candidates, and allows for more diverse ideas as well.
- Diversity in the Workplace is Essential to Success
According to studies by Deloitte, 80% of millennial workers felt more engaged in their work with a company that provided a diverse workplace culture. Pushing for diversity initiatives and hiring people of all ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, gender identities, etc, will not only improve the workplace culture, but will improve the quality of the work itself leading to a more successful company.
- It’s Not Just About Filling Quotas
There is a misconception that creating a diverse workplace means filling quotes, and that should not be the case because quotas alone cannot fix diversity. Companies that focus too much on filling quotes are only looking at diversity issues on a surface level; This surface level quick fix to diversify can also backfire if companies aren’t careful.
- Talking About The “Right Fit”
A lot of organizations will say things like, “they aren’t the right fit,” or “I don’t think they would be a cultural fit.” These phrases can be exclusive, and many hiring managers don’t understand that this way of thinking can lead to creating a workplace culture where everyone is similar. This is not actually optimal because if everyone on the team looks and thinks alike, you likely aren’t getting new ideas or challenging the status quo to drive change. Organizations and managers need to be careful not to just hire people that have similar backgrounds and experiences to others on the team, and think about what a possible new hire can contribute with their experiences and diverse background.
- Support Your Employees
Creating social events for employees not only allows for them to get to know each other on a more personal level, but it also allows for people of different viewpoints to interact, which creates more empathy between employees. Creating employee resource groups and or group chats helps employees feel supported by the organization and each other.
- Invest In Diversity Training
Companies and organizations that invest in diversity training are showing potential employees that they are willing to have a more inclusive and diverse workplace. Diversity training is also positive because it allows employees and managers to be more aware and respectful of differences between co-workers, and helps to enhance communication and problem solving skills in the work environment.
- Admit If You Fall Short
While many organizations try to fulfill their promises of diversity and inclusion, some may fall short. If this happens, companies need to be willing to admit their mistakes and why it happened in the first place. Your organization must be prepared to hold itself accountable for any action or non-action. Transparency is an important part of employee care, and ultimately leads to greater and more positive outcomes.
- Final Thoughts
Diversifying your workplace should be important as global standards change, and as this issue affects the monetary success of many organizations. Creating a more inclusive work environment, not only makes employees happier and healthier, it creates a more positive and productive work environment. While there is a long way to go in new diversity initiatives and diversity education, companies who get on board with these new ways of working will yield greater business success in the long run.