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How To Improve Diversity In The Workplace

how to improve diversity in the workplace

Diversity is important in setting up a successful, inclusive and productive work environment. The presence of diverse perspectives leads to innovative ideas and a happy employee workspace that can significantly boost employee retention and output, therefore the overall success of a business.

Here are some simple ways that you can improve diversity in the workplace:

  • Incorporate diversity into recruiting by encouraging diverse applicants and interviewers.
  • Implement diversity training programs to educate employees.
  • Celebrate diversity by highlighting different cultures and traditions.
  • Create an open feedback culture through meetings and surveys.
  • Ensure inclusive workplace policies against discrimination.
  • Create mentoring programs to facilitate sharing of experiences.
  • Offer flexible work arrangements to accommodate different needs.
  • Introduce diversity champions to advocate for inclusion.
  • Continuously look for new ways to foster respect and equal opportunities.
  • Take positive actions to address inequalities like extra training and flexible arrangements.

Diversity in the workplace is a strategy that requires the combined efforts of both employers and employees. The goal of a diversified workplace is to have an environment that is conducive for each member to individually contribute to the collective business growth.

The key things are inclusive and bias-free hiring, education, open communication, adaptive policies, equal access, and respecting diversity. It requires continual effort from leadership and staff participation.

In this article, we define diversity at work, explain the benefits of having a diversified workplace, and how employers can make improvements.

What Does Diversity At Work Mean?

Diversity at work is the continual effort to ensure a workplace where all employees are respected, supported and valued irrespective of their gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religious beliefs.

An alternative definition is to create a work environment that supports the free contribution of ideas from employees of different backgrounds and orientations without discrimination. A diversified environment respects the uniqueness of each member.

What Are The Benefits Of Having Diversity Within Your Workplace?

Check out some of the reasons to improve diversity in the workplace. Understand that each benefit of an inclusive and diverse workplace helps the organisation as a whole.

1. Increased creativity and innovation

The primary importance of diversity in the workplace is how it promotes the strength that lies in the uniqueness of everyone. Every employee provides an innovative and distinct approach to collective challenges which enhances creativity. Imagine it as maximising the potential of each employee to achieve the best possible results.

2. A better understanding of customer needs

The benefits of encouraging diversity in the workplace also include better customer service. Since there is a work environment that accepts every opinion, you can expect to sell products and services that meet the personal needs of customers. Creativity breeds innovation that is necessary to continually exceed customer expectations in an evolving market.

3. Improved bottom line, Improved productivity 

The end goal of every business is to make profits and grow. However, growth and development are only possible with new ideas to overcome existing challenges. There is always the tendency of teams with a diversified workplace to have the best financial performance.

That is because decisions are from collective suggestions, varying opinions and calculated strategies. As a result, employees feel heard, happy and motivated and that enhances workplace productivity.

4. Increased employee retention

An organisation that prioritises how to improve diversity in the workplace would have happy employees who want to remain in the business. Rather than working for the company, they perceive themselves as working with the company. That leads to increased employee retention rates and trust.

5. Improved customer service

Business managers looking to improve their customer service should consider promoting diversity in the workplace. It is an effective strategy to develop an employee workforce committed to the success of the business, including making the customers happy.

How Can Employers Improve Diversity At Work?

Learn how to improve diversity in the workplace as an employer. This section explains 10 steps that ensure an inclusive and diverse work environment.

1. Incorporate diversity into recruitment practices

The first step to creating a diverse workplace is incorporating diversity as a prioritised criterion in the recruitment process. That implies encouraging applications from interested people across different backgrounds, genders and ages.

Ensure the recruitment does not favour some applicants over others. That includes instructing recruiters to set aside bias in the hiring process and offer a level playing ground for all applicants.

2. Encourage diverse interviewing panels

It is not enough to just instruct the interview panel. Also ensure that the panel consists of members from different backgrounds, genders and ages. That increases the chances of having a fair recruitment process that hires only the best and most qualified applicants.

3. Implement diversity training programs

Organising professional training on diversity in the workplace to educate employees about the benefits of a diversified work environment. Let them understand they are unique and their voices are highly welcomed. Creating such an inclusive work culture and safe workplace also helps employees realise the individual importance of each customer.

4. Celebrate diversity

Celebrating the uniqueness of the different religions, cultures and traditions of your staff is another way to make them feel more recognised. Hold events that highlight the significance of their different backgrounds as a method of fostering unity and improving diversity in the workplace.

5. Create an open feedback culture

True diversity in the workplace is an environment that offers a platform for employees to voice out their concerns and be heard. Weekly group meetings with the management and presentations by different teams to the organisation are simple ways to do that. Newsletters of internal podcasts that survey employees and announce unique achievements are additional strategies.

6. Ensure workplace policies are inclusive

A long-lasting approach for employers to improve diversity in the workplace is by setting up policies against employee discrimination. No staff must be embarrassed or harassed because of their background. In addition, every staff member must enjoy equal opportunities.

7. Create a mentoring programme

Employers can also establish mentoring initiatives to allow internal staff development and allow employees to learn from the unique experiences of others. A mentor-to-mentee relationship helps to bridge the gap in knowledge of company culture while fostering the collaboration needed for success.

8. Offer flexible working arrangements

Offering a flexible work environment like remote working options for employees separated by long distance or factors like varying time zones can improve diversity in the workplace. It is all about promoting a sense of inclusivity and identifying the different needs and lifestyles of your employed workforce.

9. Introduce diversity champions

Diversity champions represent those people who are passionate about recreating a diverse workplace environment wherever they find themselves. Hence, having such diversity champions as employees or inviting them as role models to your staff can help your workers to quickly imbibe the culture of an inclusive working space that respects everyone’s opinion.

10. Continually look for ways to improve

Do not wrongly assume that improving diversity in the workplace can be done in a day. It takes time and requires continuous and intentional effort as an employer to set up measures that appreciate the uniqueness of each employee.

Some suggested strategies include periodic office surveys to hear employee opinions, review recruitment guidelines, and organising events and training that bring every staff together.

What Is Positive Action?

Positive action is to take steps that address inequality in the workplace. These inequalities could exist in the form of discrimination based on backgrounds, or segregation of those with lesser privileges. Hence, positive action is about making sure every employee is duly represented during decision-making that affects them and given avenues to voice out opinions.

Additional training programmes, creating jobs for minority groups and flexible work arrangements for disabled employees are some examples of positive action.

However, positive action is different from positive discrimination. They are two different terms and positive discrimination is to preferentially favour some individuals or groups of people because of their gender, race or other characteristic. On the other hand, positive action is about equal opportunities for all without preference for background.

How Can Positive Action Benefit The Workplace?

Some of the benefits of positive action in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace include increased productivity and improved customer service. Other benefits are higher employee engagement and retention levels, improved productivity, and better decision-making processes.

By ensuring that all employees have access to the same opportunities, every business can enjoy the above benefits. It is all about having a workplace that protects and prioritises its employees.

These positive actions lead to a better customer-business relationship that fosters trust and loyalty in the brand. A diversified workplace and positive workplace is one that truly understands the customer and offers them the best services and products. Altogether, it brings about higher customer satisfaction levels and increased sales.

Beyond the organisation, positive actions greatly improve the reputation of a brand among competitors. A happy workplace attracts the best of qualified talents and a strong presence within its niche. The positive work environment also encourages prospective customers to easily trust the business for first-time purchases.

Is Positive Action Effective At Improving Workplace Diversity?

Yes, positive action is an effective strategy to improve workplace diversity. The positive action steps are necessary fundamental practices for every business aiming to diversify its workforce. Examples include granting equal access to opportunities for all employees and promoting an inclusive culture. Another instance is how employers can organise training to help staff from less privileged backgrounds to thrive in their careers.

However, positive actions alone do not guarantee improved diversity at the workplace. Employers also have to implement policies that protect every employee. That would include supporting an open work environment that is inclusive and allows every staff member to express their opinions and contribute suggestions without fear.

FAQs

Is positive action the same as positive discrimination?

No, positive action is different from positive discrimination. Positive action involves the steps taken to combat inequality in the workplace and provide every staff a levelled playing ground. On the other hand, positive discrimination is about giving preferential treatment to selected individuals at the expense of others. The preference could be based on their race, gender or other protected qualities.

Are diversity and inclusion important in the workplace?

Definitely! Diversity and inclusion are necessary in the workplace to increase creativity, productivity and better decision-making. Improving diversity in the workplace boosts the brand’s reputation and authority within the industry. More importantly, it allows the business to deliver products and services that meet the customer needs.

What is the best way to promote diversity and inclusion?

The best way to promote and improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace is to establish policies centred on company culture and respect for all employees. That involves frowning against every form of discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Employers should also ensure fair treatment and equal opportunities for every team member.

In addition, the business management should host mentorship programmes, and professional training and celebrate the existing diversity of employees. Imbibing such cultures creates a motivated workplace where employees feel supported and heard.

How do you build diversity in a team?

Building diversity in a team starts with creating a platform or work system that allows every member to easily air their opinions. Doing that leads to well-informed decision-making since every possible perspective is entertained to select the best one.

Encouraging open and honest conversations also ensures that no team member is left behind. Individual members enjoy a collective career progression that further leads to the continued success of the business. More importantly, it breeds respect and better internal team communications that enhance productivity and creativity.

Who is responsible for creating a diverse and inclusive workplace?

The sole responsibility of creating a diverse and inclusive workplace rests on the employer. However, that does not mean only the employer or management determines if the workplace is diversified. It requires a collective effort from everyone including the staff but the employer is the one to implement supportive policies. Employees have to obey the established guidelines, especially starting from those with higher ranks.

How can I be more inclusive?

Every employee must understand their expected involvement and contribution to ensuring a safe, inclusive and diversified workplace. Firstly, recognise the areas where you have been lacklustre toward the company culture.

The next step is to evaluate the instances where you have probably acted in a biassed manner to other employees or even customers. Work on respecting everyone equally at work and avoid preferences based on qualities like ethnicity, age, sexual orientation or gender.

Team leaders must also enforce the established policies concerning diversified workplaces within their respective teams. No member is more important than the other although some may have their specialised areas.

Final Thoughts

The process of improving diversity in the workplace is best perceived as a continuous one that involves the combined efforts of every team member. As an employer, it is your responsibility to set and oversee the implementation of policies based on respecting the peculiarity of every employee.

There are many benefits of having diversity in the workplace, especially how it improves creativity, productivity and financial performance. After setting up supporting policies, the employer should organise professional training on proper work ethics and the advantage of team efforts.

Management must expressly talk against discrimination and harassment within the workplace. In addition, efforts to improve internal team communications should be encouraged. Weekly team meetings, private business podcasts, or open surveys to gather employee opinions are important. The goal of improving diversity in the workplace is for every member to feel heard, respected and motivated to contribute their best to the collective business goals.

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