Diversity in the workplace means that a company employs a wide range of diverse individuals with different characteristics. By implementing that mindset, your company will become a more inclusive place for people of varying gender, ages, religions, races, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, languages, education, abilities, etc. Consequently, creating a more accepting culture has a strong positive effect on individuals and connects everyone in your company.
Promoting and improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace is a crucial initiative many companies are now taking. Aside from being simply the right thing to do, savvy executives understand the many benefits of a diverse workplace and know that it improves the employee experience.
Characteristics of Workplace Diversity
An organization with workplace diversity is a company that has employees with a wide range of characteristics and experiences.
There are different types of workplace diversity. In the beginning, the term diversity primarily meant racial and ethnic diversity. However, in recent years, the term workplace diversity has been expanded to encompass different characteristics, such as:
- Sexual orientation
- Physical abilities and disabilities
- Political beliefs
- Socioeconomic background
- Geographical orientation
- Military service
Benefits of Workplace Diversity
Diversity and inclusion are vital parts of workplace culture. Not only are they crucial for the well-being of a company’s employees, but they are also beneficial to the business itself.
- Variety of Different Perspectives
Diversity in the workplace ensures a variety of different perspectives. Since employees will have different characteristics and backgrounds, they are also more likely to have various skills and experiences. Consequently, employees with higher workplace diversity will have access to numerous perspectives, which is beneficial when planning and executing a business strategy.
- Increased Creativity
In addition to having various perspectives from people with different backgrounds, exposure to such variety leads to increased creativity. When you put together people who see the same thing in different ways, you are more likely to get a melting pot of fresh, new ideas, thus improving the creativity of your workforce.
- Higher Innovation
Diversity in the workplace leads to a higher innovation rate. In a diverse workplace, you expose employees to multiple perspectives and worldviews. When these various perspectives combine, they often come together in novel ways, opening doors to innovation.
- Faster Problem-solving
Companies with higher workplace diversity solve problems faster. Employees from diverse backgrounds have different experiences and views, bringing varied solutions to the table. Thus, you can choose the best solution sooner, which leads to faster problem-solving.
- Better Company Reputation
Companies dedicated to building and promoting diversity in the workplace are viewed as socially responsible organizations, ultimately creating a better reputation for the brand.
- Better Decision Making
Workplace diversity leads to better decision-making results. There is a direct link between workplace diversity and decision-making, and when diverse teams make a business decision, they outperform individual decision-makers up to 87% of the time. When employees with different backgrounds and perspectives come together, they come up with more solutions, which leads to more informed and improved decision-making processes and results.
- Increased Profits
Companies with greater workplace diversity achieve greater profits. Companies with a diverse workforce make better decisions faster, which gives them a serious advantage over their competitors. As a result, companies with diversity in the workplace achieve better business results and reap more profit.
How to Encourage Diversity in the Workplace?
Workplace diversity starts with hiring. If you want to build diversity in the workplace, you must hire diverse candidates. To make that happen, you need to make your recruiting process more inclusive and appealing to people with different characteristics. Here are a few ways to encourage diversity in the workplace.
- Acknowledge Differences
It is necessary to admit that people are different, whether race, gender, religion, or even personality and management style. You can minimize the incidence of discriminatory behavior and decision-making by doing so.
- Offer Implicit Bias Training
No matter how open and bias-free we think we are, judgments are often engrained because of socialization and life experiences. Implicit bias training helps create a safe place to raise awareness of unconscious attitudes and teaches tools to help change behaviors.
- Provide Mentors
Connect underrepresented employees with internal and external mentors in their group to offer support and promote growth. Encourage participation in appropriate professional organizations.
- Let People Learn by Doing
Having people act ‘out of the norm’ is often more powerful than trying to unearth deeply held attitudes because now you have objective evidence that is more direct and more likely to change attitudes. Be mindful of the potential added stress of minorities feeling they have to prove themselves.
- Reward Diverse Referrals
Explicitly ask your existing employees to refer candidates from underrepresented groups in your company. You can also offer additional rewards and bonuses for recommended diverse candidates.
- Ask Questions
Whether you are hiring, firing, or promoting, ask yourself, “If this person’s social identities were different, would I still be doing the same thing?” Female or minority managers, for example, will often have a different set of etiquette than their male counterparts.
- Have a Diverse Interview Panel
Include diverse people in your recruiting process to uncover unconscious biases and improve the equality principles of your recruitment process.
How to Manage Diversity in the Workplace?
Here are a few ways to manage diversity in the workplace.
- Create Diversity-friendly Policies
Review your existing workplace policies with a diversity lens. Develop and implement diversity-friendly and inclusive workplace policies. Offer flexible schedules, leave options, meal choices, recreational activities, etc.
- Reassess Employee Benefits
Review your existing employee benefits with a diversity lens as well. All your benefits must be fair to everyone.
- Provide Diversity Training
Provide dedicated time and place for discussing diverse topics. Offer diversity training to help your employees learn how to address diversity.
- Establish Diverse Mentorships
Establish one on one diverse mentorships. Make each person in the pair serve as a mentor to the other person for an equal amount of time.
- Build Diverse Teams
Ensure the diversity of your internal working teams. Create diversified teams and provide them with an opportunity to work together.
- Measure Your Efforts
Measure the results of your diversity initiatives to track success and find eventual bottlenecks. Set goals, decide which metrics you want to improve, and then track them to see progress.
Workplace diversity has a significant impact on the engagement and productivity of the employees. As a result, workplace diversity directly affects the success of companies. The importance of workplace diversity is noticeable in today’s global market. With the help of new technologies, companies can reach people from different groups worldwide.
Companies with a diversified workforce can better understand differences among people. It helps to accept and leverage them to successfully sell their products and services on the global market. Thus, diversity in the workplace isn’t just a fad – it’s a better way to do business in the modern world. Successful employers know that and actively promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.