One of the keys to success for any organization is diversity. People often talk about diversity and inclusion within the confines of programs and training. But how do you manage day-to-day challenges and manage a diverse workforce? In this article, we will understand the term in a better way and how you can manage workforce diversity at your organization.
Diversity makes people different from one another. It is common knowledge that one should not discriminate based on national origin, gender, race, etc. However, there is more to diversity. Religion, age, citizenship, sexual orientation, political affiliation, mental and physical conditions, and much more come under the umbrella of diversity.
Workforce diversity is a method of creating a diverse environment in which every individual's background, cultural experiences, etc are respected. The company's systematic and planned role for diversity management is to recruit, support, reward, and retain a diverse workforce while blending the individuals' distinctive cultural traits.
According to a recent demographic study by the Pew Research Center, there won't be a single racial or ethnic majority in the United States by 2055. The workforce and the way firms approach diversity in the workplace will be significantly impacted by this trend toward a more varied population.
Building a diverse environment and team has many challenges. However, the advantages far outweigh them. Hence it is something worth trying.
In a Glassdoor survey, 67% of job searchers stated that a diverse staff is crucial when evaluating job offers, and 57% of employees believed their employers should be more diverse. Below are some benefits of having people from different backgrounds:
Successful diversity management in the workplace shouldn't just involve adhering to a rigid set of guidelines and expecting staff members to do the same. Therefore, the concerned person should aim to present the acceptance of diversity in the workplace as a choice.
Below are ways to manage workforce diversity:
1. Make diversity part of the hiring process: Building a diverse company from the ground takes time. You should audit your hiring process to ensure that the team is interviewing candidates from different backgrounds. Leaders should mandate that before a requisition is closed. By taking these concrete actions, you can make sure that the hiring committee is not only selecting candidates who are similar to you.
If your organization wants to show that it is serious about building a more diverse organization, you need to look critically at how you hire candidates.
2. Effective communication: To ensure that your diverse workforce is engaged, all members must be on the same page. For that, it is crucial to building effective communication at every level. HR team must emphasize communication and take feedback. They should use the data to create inclusivity and a positive work environment.
The employees must understand the processes, practices, guidelines on security, and other details. The focus should be on overcoming linguistic and cultural challenges. If required, have a policy in place that translates critical material such as security information. For everyone to understand, use warning signs with icons and relevant photos.
3. Equality: Treat every employee with equality and respect. You must stop stereotypical assumptions that are both negative and positive. Also, don't make assumptions based on their cultural class or background. Every team member should keep their prejudices aside. React firmly and promptly to biases by workers. Leaders should encourage managers and other members to evaluate peers and others based on their work rather than on personal considerations.
4. Examine your policies: You need to put a lot of effort to create an inclusive organization. You may be making all the efforts to promote diversity, but it is equally important that you are aware of policies that may promote systematic inequality. To counter this, every organization must audit company policy regularly.
For example, you need to ensure that your family-leave policy is supportive of LGBTQ parents and traditional couples. Another example would be having policies around remote work - all these can build a truly inclusive work environment.
5. Look beyond compliance: Recognizing that diversity in the workplace is about more than just adhering to affirmative action programmes and satisfying quotas is essential to creating an organisation that is really inclusive. It is about building a workforce that matches the diversity of your customer base, using differences that can help you drive your business toward success. When you bring people together of various backgrounds, cultures, and belief systems, you bring different work styles, value perspectives, and thought processes.
You should not view managing diversity as a required component in today's time. Instead, think of it as an essential tool in sparking employee creativity, getting closer to your clients, and improving the company's efficiency.
6.Create a culture of forgiveness and empathy: No process is perfect in an organization - therefore would be some diversity issues. Leaders need to admit mistakes and should encourage others to do the same. One of the ways this can be done by leaders is by adopting a servant leadership mindset. You should tailor your leadership philosophies to meet your employee's needs. You empathize with them and when hiccups happen, you understand that an honest mistake was made.
7. Sensitivity training: If your organization is new to including workplace diversity, it is the leadership's responsibility to give employees the proper training. It is found that old employees are most reluctant to follow new norms since they are used to a homogenous culture. To overcome this problem, you need to invest in sensitivity training and imbibe a culture of equality and respect.
You can also work to provide online awareness training, in order to understand the dos and don'ts of diverse work cultures. The activity should focus on - how to accept differing viewpoints and respond appropriately when someone is being offensive.
Most organizations have realized that diversity translates to good and growing business. For organisations, promoting diversity is the way to go. Businesses that effectively navigate workplace diversity will have a distinct competitive advantage over rivals in terms of distinction, creativity, and employer branding in a global talent market.
Organizations must embrace a multitude of viewpoints and cultures and value the wide array and style of input and efforts that result from a diverse workforce, improve decision-making, drive innovation and increase employee productivity and retention. The goal of diversity should be a central pillar in an organization's path toward success.