Achieving diversity in the workplace is vital to the success of your company. It can lead to many positive outcomes. But how do you go about it? Keep reading to find out.
What Is Diversity in The Workplace?
If you are part of a company seeking to enrich yourself by adding diversity in the workplace, you must first understand what it is.
Workplace diversity is no one thing, instead, it covers all facets of differences between people at work. This covers anything from sexual orientation to different cultural backgrounds.
You may assume that naturally, there will be diversity in any workplace. However, many studies have shown that this is not the case. People have a natural bias towards hiring people that they consider are like them. This can lead to less diversity in your workforce. As an HR professional or hiring manager, hiring a diverse workforce is your responsibility. This is referred to as equal employment opportunity (EEO).
Diversity can include but is not limited to diversity in:
- Sexual orientation
- Skills and experiences
- Personal experiences
Why Have Diversity in The Workplace?
You may wonder why we should have diversity in the workplace anyway. Aside from the fact that discrimination simply shouldn’t be acceptable at work, there are some fantastic benefits to your company.
Bringing employees from diverse backgrounds into your talent pool can freshen up an organization with new ways of thinking. By bringing in a diverse range of people, you may discover that they have different ideas which could change the way you do things.
Understand Your Customers
Companies with diverse workforces may be better able to understand their customer base. For example, a makeup company run by all men could benefit from having women on the team. It doesn’t mean that the current people don’t have anything to add, but a person like your main target demographic can have useful insights. You could also diversify your products and services by listening to their wisdom.
Increase Customer Satisfaction
When you create a diverse workforce, you are more likely to have more staff that reflect your customer base. For example, a workforce of fully-abled people is not a good representation of America. Hire people who understand the unique needs of some of your customers. You may find that your company attains even more problem-solving capabilities. You may now solve problems that your previous team would have been unaware of.
To continue the example, you might hire a person in a wheelchair at your tennis equipment company. As they understand what it’s like to play tennis from a chair, they may have new ideas for rackets that suit a person sitting down. Ideas that solve your customers’ problems = happy customers.
It may sound odd, but you may find that you make more money when you have more diversity in the workplace. That’s because as mentioned, you get a better flow of ideas and creativity. Some of these ideas can lead to huge developments in your products and services. So, it only makes sense that you may make more money.
How to Create a Diverse and Inclusive Culture
In a diverse and inclusive culture, employees feel heard and included. It’s not enough just to create diversity in the workforce but you must include this wider range of people too. Diversity and inclusion is all about having different people and treating them as you would any other. You can’t just have a woman on the board, for example, she must be heard and part of decision making as well.
Having an organization that embraces diversity is no easy feat. Here are some ways you can make it happen:
Get to know each person instead of making assumptions about them. Judge them on their goals, achievements, and personality. Avoid thinking that you know what they are like based on their ethnicity or other attributes.
Encourage Collaboration from Diverse Groups
If you find that people naturally stick to working with those who are similar to them, encourage diversity. You can do this by encouraging them to collaborate with people of other types. As mentioned earlier, you may find that people are more creative and come up with better ideas when they do this.
There is no reason to tolerate any level of discriminating behavior in the workplace. Consider developing a zero-tolerance policy on this. Jokes, slurs, and bullying based on racial, sexual, or religious differences should have consequences.
How to Hire for Diversity in the Workplace
It’s not always necessary to intentionally hire people of different types in your organization. instead, if your hiring is truly objective, you should naturally get more diversity in job seekers.
Blind Recruitment Processes
When hiring, try to run blind recruitment processes if you can. This is a process which allows you to compare all candidates experience and skills against one another without bias. Identifying factors such as name, age, and more are taken off applications so that you can remain objective.
Use Objective Criteria
By setting standard criteria that recruits must meet to get hired, you can avoid bias in hiring. Standards such as minimum education or years of experience can be a good place to start.
Use Aptitude Tests
One way of adding in objective criteria to a recruitment process is with aptitude tests. You can use tests that find out who has the skills required to perform well in the position. Select a highly relevant one and get a list of the best applicants to complete it. Then you could interview the 3 who performed best on the test, for example. This can be a good way of taking bias out of it and hiring based on skill.
Keep an Open Mind
Not all candidates are going to have ivy league degrees – those are unattainable for some of the population. Instead, look for transferable skills and relevant abilities. To attain a more diverse workforce, you may have to think outside the box in terms of recruitment.