With the ever-increasing role of globalization in the world economy, attaining workplace diversity is an increasing trend in the corporate landscape. In fact, diversity has become increasingly important, because a range of experiences and viewpoints can improve the workplace and the organization’s value proposition.
According to the demographic analysis of the Pew Research Center, the U.S. will no longer have a single ethnic or racial majority by 2055. This transition towards a diverse population can have a significant impact on the workplace and the ways how companies address workplace adversity.
Companies of all shapes and sizes should ensure employees feel valued and respected regardless of their gender, race, and ethnicity. While this sounds like a great proposition, not all companies are successful in incorporating diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This is where business coaches come in to offer organizational change management training for successful transformation initiatives.
Workplace diversity isn’t just a new HR trend, it’s all about recruiting a wider range of candidates that add value to an organization. Business leaders today are encouraging diversity to experience its tangible benefits for the company and employees. In this article, we look at the meaning of workplace diversity, its importance, and ways to promote it in the workplace.
Defining workplace diversity
For organizations looking to promote an inclusive and diverse work environment, it is necessary to know what makes up workplace diversity.
Most people misconceive diversity that solely emphasizes multicultural matters. They view a diversified workplace as a working environment composed of employees coming from different demographics (e.g. ethnicity, gender, and racial backgrounds). While this definition is true, the real meaning of workplace diversity is more complex.
Workplace diversity refers to an organization that hires a broad range of employees and ensures their participation remains equal. Diversity not only involves how employees identify themselves but also how other people perceive them. In recent years, the scope of workplace diversity has further expanded to accommodate various characteristics, such as socioeconomic background, geographic orientation, physical disabilities and abilities, and military service.
Unfortunately, hiring people for ‘diversity purposes’ also comes with a negative connotation. Companies are struggling with their workplace diversity efforts because some employees assume diversity hires means hiring less qualified employees or hiring people because of their skin color alone, not because they’re qualified.
In this case, companies have increasingly realized that symbolically hiring diverse people isn’t just enough. The topic of workplace diversity has been a long-heated debate on how companies increase the participation, compensation, and performance of minorities instead of simply symbolically hiring.
The advantages of workplace diversity
Organizations that adopt workplace diversity experience several advantages compared to those that haven’t. Aside from improving the company’s reputation, workplace diversity offers a lot of direct and tangible benefits.
In a diversified work environment, employees are sensible enough to understand their co-workers’ differences in terms of their culture, behavior, and character. This is very important in reducing conflicts among various team members and promoting a more unified team that shares a common purpose.
Another benefit is the increased confidence among employees. When a company celebrates and embraces cultural differences, employees are more confident about their unique qualities. Promoting diversity also gives a performance boost, which encourages employees to feel more confident to express their unique ideas, take part in team projects, and develop close-knit relationships with their colleagues.
Employees who feel wanted and included are likely to be more productive and motivated at work. As a result, engaged employees and teams yield quality performance, resulting in a win-win situation for employers.
Incorporating diversity in hiring practices will open doors for companies to receive a wider talent pool for prospective candidates. This puts companies closer to getting top talent for complex job positions.
Promoting workplace diversity
Workplace diversity should be a topic of conversation in the workplace to identify problems in terms of cultural differences. But it shouldn’t be a one-time thing, because evaluating diversity processes requires frequent assessments and continuous improvements.
Once you have identified potential problems, develop a comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategy. Involve the entire team and seek feedback and advice about possible diversity strategies for more options. Another way is to initiate training programs and mentoring schemes to improve employee satisfaction and professional development.
When it comes to recruitment, hire candidates from diverse talent pools to get a wider range of talent. You can also implement diverse panel interviews and sensitivity training to help the recruiting team to be more aware of workplace diversity issues.
Keep in mind that individual differences are what make organizations unique, and ensuring workplace diversity will encourage employees to innovate and excel. Individuals from different demographics may likely experience bias, which can significantly affect their work performance. In this case, it’s important to incorporate diversity and inclusion in your company values to ensure everyone is on the same page.