If making a single change to the workplace could yield enhanced productivity, greater profits, improved employee engagement, increased creativity and deeper market and customer insights, most company leaders would call that an excellent investment.
By now, most business leaders and HR professionals recognize the importance of diversity in the workplace and how valuable increasing their workplace diversity can be to the company and to its employees. But what does increasing workplace diversity actually look like? Further, what can you do to promote and enhance that diversity in your company’s workforce? If you’re looking for diversity ideas in the workplace, read on.
What is diversity in the workplace?
A diverse business workplace is one that reflects back its community and social context through the demographic differences in its workforce. That’s not to say that the individuals are themselves diverse. Instead, the workforce in which each employee performs their job duties is made diverse by HR processes that embrace all qualified applicants, regardless of whether they fit the demographics of the predominant population segment in the area.
One of the three crucial components of a strong workforce (the other two being inclusion and equity), diversity is the equivalent of extending an invitation to the party. By mitigating and reducing the impact of implicit or unconscious biases in your company’s hiring and promotion processes, you help build a workforce with a broad variety of perspectives and experiences. That means a stronger platform on which you can build your company’s future, making it both more profitable and competitive.
Why is diversity in the workplace important?
Understanding the importance of diversity in a workplace is crucial to successfully implementing a diversity-building program. When you build a diverse workforce, you’re building a better company. The world of business is increasingly global, and if your company wants to compete, it should reflect that breadth of perspective. A diverse workforce brings an enhanced set of skills and experiences to serve the company, its clients or customers, and other stakeholders.
Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace
Promoting diversity in the workplace offers a number of benefits to the company, its team members and the community at large, including:
New perspectives: A diverse team brings a variety of fresh perspectives to your company, leading to faster and more efficient decision-making processes and greater insights into customers and markets.
A wider talent pool: Hiring individuals who reflect back the variety and diversity of society means a more diverse and larger pool of applicants with highly developed skills and extensive experience from which you can hire and promote.
More innovation: Diversity in your company’s teams and departments can lead to new product and service lines, improvements to existing workflows and increased innovation in every aspect of your company’s operations.
Better employee performance: Increasingly, the top talent your company seeks to attract and recruit expects to find a diverse workforce already in place. If you want to improve employee performance and productivity, increase the diversity in your workplace.
Increased profits: Finally, diverse companies routinely enjoy increased profits and stronger fiscal health.
3 Activities and Strategies to Promote Diversity in Your Workplace
Workplace diversity doesn’t happen automatically. It requires awareness, education and doing things differently. Make your company’s commitment to diversity in the workplace more than simply a theoretical value that isn’t really put into daily practice by implementing the three following strategies and diversity activity ideas.
Diversify your hiring criteria and recruiting process.
Hire all types of people based on their individual strengths and unique perspectives. You may need to adjust your recruiting process to attract a more diverse group of candidates. Here are some tips on how to increase the diversity in your workplace through hiring:
Revise job descriptions to reflect a more gender neutral approach to your talent search. Digital tools can help you do this, including Textio and Gender Decoder for Job Ads.
Post a formal diversity policy on your About Us page as well as on the Careers page of your website. While you need to also “walk this talk," it's a good place to start to frame what you will do in your work environment and draw diverse applicants in the meantime.
Visualize the diverse workforce you have already. Post videos and pictures of your talent for the world to see.
Expand your recruiting network. This network should include LGBTQIA, cultural and other diversity-focused organizations and groups. Being a part of these groups sends the message you embrace them. It shows you're proactively seeking group members to join your team.
Go beyond LinkedIn. Meet your candidates first-hand at local job fairs. Focus on more diverse areas, like college campuses.
Highlight team members' accomplishments and celebrations.
Regularly share and highlight what members of the team are doing through a company email newsletter or blog. These contributions can include how they achieved strategic goals. For example, you could share how a team member successfully managed a project. Perhaps the employee completed it before a deadline or brought it in under budget.
Another approach is to share a photo or video about specific cultural days or events employees celebrate. Explain the purpose of these celebrations and what they mean to team members.
This is an opportunity for the rest of the organization to learn something new and connect with team members. It also sends the message that your company respects the beliefs and values of everyone. This has added benefits for remote team members who work in other countries. They can share special cultural days and feel more like a part of the team despite being far away.
Host cultural events and activities.
Planning diversity activities for the workplace is a fun option. If you have team members from a certain culture or country, have them direct a lunch in honor of a holiday. Employees can share food and beverages traditionally tied to that event.
Be sure to celebrate specific diversity days. Some occasions include People with Disabilities Day, Black History Month, Chinese New Year, Pride Month and Women's Equality Day. Recognize these days within your organization by posting information about them, why they're important and how you plan to celebrate. Get the team involved in planning ways to commemorate these occasions.
Get marketing involved in diversity activities. Your company can sponsor a diversity event in your community like a parade, fair, concert or awareness fundraiser. You could create a float for a parade with your team's help and include them in the festivities. Or, for a fair or concert, stage an informational booth with a complementary service that represents what you do. For example, if you work in health care, then your booth can offer free screening services and wellness information.
The key here is letting team members experience their differences in relaxed social settings. It can help the whole staff better appreciate and celebrate diverse perspectives.
A version of this article was originally published on October 8, 2019.
Photo: Getty Images