Despite the many benefits of diversity, diversity in the workplace statistics reveal that most companies need to tweak their policies of inclusivity to create a diverse workforce. Workplace diversity leads to innovation and creativity since every team member brings their own unique viewpoints, experiences, skills, and backgrounds to the table.
When you encourage cultural, gender, religious, and language diversity in your team and allow people of different ages, abilities, and education levels to work together, you get a competitive advantage over peers. Once you understand how beneficial a diverse team is for your business, here are a few steps you can take to begin building more diverse teams.
Adopt A Holistic Recruiting Strategy
Simply making diversity a part of your workplace culture doesn’t cut the bill if you fail to capture a more diverse workforce. The first step to introduce diversity in your team is to step up your recruiting practices by rechecking your job postings for any less appealing words. For instance, masculine-oriented words such as “ambitious”, “aggressive”, and “Ninja”, and “assertive” may be preventing women from applying to your job. Employees strive for flexibility and a better work-life balance, so make sure that you tweak your workplace policies. You can also use a personality assessment tool to gauge a candidate’s skills, motivations, and personality traits.
If you truly want to eliminate unconscious bias from your recruiting policies, you can use artificial intelligence, diversity recruiting software, and having more phone screenings to select candidates based on qualifications and merit alone. If you want to diversify your workforce, why not expand your search beyond the usual online job boards and third party websites, and look cast a wider net and look for talent at community colleges and even trade schools. Offer lucrative relocation benefits to lure people into
Respect Multiple Religious and Cultural Practices
Introduce policies to inculcate awareness of various cultural and religious practices and respect them. For instance, when you have people from different geographical regions, backgrounds, religions, races, and ways of thinking, you can focus on celebrations and holidays. While you can still give Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas days off, why not offer floating holidays to accommodate employees from other religions as well. You can designate a special refrigerator for employees who want to keep their kosher foods separate or perhaps you can allow prayer breaks to your Muslim employees.
Your goal is to make your employees feel supported and content in their work environment so that they are willing to stay with you. If you have people from multiple cultures working for you, why not celebrate the diversity by organizing cultural activities, for instance, a weekly cook-out, where each team member has to cook a meal from their own country.
When we talk about holiday parties, a lot of offices throw holiday parties as well as celebrate events, such as birthdays and work anniversaries. At these casual company events, you need to be careful about choosing food and beverages that all your employees are comfortable with. Include a mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as throw in a few vegetarian dishes along with non-veg. Not to mention, not everyone wants to celebrate their birthdays at work, so be sure to factor in each employee’s preference when hosting these small events.
Hire A Multi-Lingual Workforce
Imagine working in a foreign country where everyone speaks a language you are not familiar with. Global companies, especially, have to deal with this issue a lot. One way you can make everyone feel included is to be mindful of the language barriers when dealing with a global workforce. For instance, if you need to bring together different teams, working in different countries, for a virtual event, what language would be most suited for all participants? Unless the CEO is multilingual, it’s best to offer translation services so that everyone can grasp what is being said and is on the same table.
Even if you have people from numerous ethnicities and backgrounds working together in person, you need to make sure people feel secure and comfortable communicating in their native language, especially during company-sponsored events or in common areas. As a long-term approach, a candidate’s ability to communicate in more than one language, should add to their suitability. If you are faced with two candidates having the same credentials, it makes sense to hire the one who knows multiple languages.
Educate Your Executives
You cannot implement diversity and inclusion in your organization unless your C-level leadership and management truly comprehend the concept, and if possible, attend a few diversity and inclusion workshops. Starting with your top executives is essential since this area is mostly dominated by white males in the US. Not to mention, leaders can play an essential role in shaping company policies and help in company-wide implementation and adoption of those policies.
Since the top echelon is responsible for decision-making within an organization, it is the role of C-suite and senior management to improve diversity within an organization. Dianne Campbell, vice president of global diversity and inclusion at American Express, says that their organization has made diversity and inclusion mandatory for executives at vice-president and above. Remember that leaders and top executives can make or break your diversity and inclusion initiates.
Make Every Employee Feel Valued
While some of your employees will naturally outperform the rest, you need to acknowledge that every employee is a cog in the wheel who offers some value to your organization. Each employee has a separate role in the organization and not everybody is suitable for every role. Diversity isn’t limited to straight or gay, black and white, male and female, old and young, Hispanic and Asian; it also refer to whether an individual is a slow or fast learner, conservative or liberal, or extrovert or introvert, leader or follower.
The best companies know that it takes a wide mix of personalities, traits, and viewpoints to make the strongest teams. Not every has what it takes to be a leader, but it doesn’t mean that their contributions are less meaningful. A good leader acknowledges the contributions of each employee and shows his appreciation.
A best business team is built with diverse skillsets and personality types that complement each other, for instance, leaders, organizations, thinkers, and doers. It never works to build a team around one key performer who is tasked with carrying the rest. Leaders should define goals and roles from the word go so that everyone knows their individual role within the team. Diversity is all about establishing an environment of inclusion, where everyone can feel respected, valued, and enjoying equal opportunities, regardless of their background, language, color of their skin, ethnicity, or finances.
You cannot create diversity without empowering your employees first. Good leaders know how to capitalize on the strengths of each employee for the benefit of the organization. You need to make sure each employee feel valued and understood, and create an environment of trust where everyone can count on each other. As a leader, you need to make sure your team works towards the same goals and aims.
Put Anti-Discriminatory Policies in Place
75% of respondents surveyed in a Harvard study stated that language and superficial policies alone are not enough to curb discrimination and bring about a positive change. The respondents were of the opinion that more stringent anti-discriminatory policies are needed in addition to leader commitment to inclusion, in order to truly build a diverse workplace. Since no two organizations are identical, a tailored approach is needed to succeed at diversity.
Address Gender Pay Inequality
If you really want to build a culture of inclusion centered on transparency and trust, why not address gender pay disparities as well as gender inequality around compensation and promotion opportunities. Gender pay equality is the hottest argument currently. Inclusion depends on a company’s ability to implement transparent policies and allowing open dialog about those policies.
If your company has a gender pay imbalance, you need to give employees a safe channel where they can express their opinions and feelings. Don’t just offer empty assurances; clearly present the strategy that the company is planning on implementing to address the issue. This is how you can placate their worries by letting them know that the company is committed to bridging the gender pay gap. Be reasonable when presenting company data around such policies and avoid coming across as argumentative.
Rethink Your Recruitment Material
Its one thing to flaunt your inclusion efforts in writing, but it’s another to actually have something to show for it. If a candidate were to check out your “team page” on your business website or check out your social media pages, will they actually see any diversity and inclusion? Instead of just talking the talk, you need to recheck your recruiting material for proof of diversity. However important it is to show diversity, don’t inflate numbers or use off the web pictures.
Transparency is the key when you actually want to sow evidence of your company values. Collect testimonials from your diverse employees. While most companies include a variety of pictures to promote their diversity and inclusion efforts in their promotional materials, only 28% actually reflect diversity in their mission/vision statement. These statements will show that you are actually passionate about diversity and will inevitably help you attract a more diverse pool of talent.