Across the country, businesses realize that to be successful, they need to have a diverse workplace. It is the right thing to do, but it can also improve your bottom line. Additionally, many job candidates prioritize companies with a DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) focus. If you want to improve diversity in your workplace, here are five ways to get started:
1. Be aware of your current landscape
The first step is to understand your workplace as it is today. Next, take time to survey the demographics of your employees, including race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and ability. This will help you identify any areas where you need to make changes. You should also ask your employees for their thoughts on diversity and inclusion. For example, you can ask them questions such as:
- What do they think the company is doing well?
- Where could it improve?
- What do they think are the benefits of a diverse workplace?
- What challenges have they faced in their personal lives?
This information will help you create an action plan tailored to your specific workplace.
2. Train your managers
Your managers play a critical role in creating and maintaining a diverse workplace. They need to be aware of their own biases and how they can impact their employees. They also need to be able to create an inclusive environment where all employees feel comfortable sharing their experiences and perspectives.
Managers should attend diversity training sessions as part of their corporate training program. These sessions will help them understand the challenges and benefits of a diverse workplace. Additionally, they will learn how to create an inclusive environment for all employees.
You may also want to offer manager training on specific diversity topics, such as transgender inclusion or working with multi-cultural teams. This type of training can help managers better understand the unique needs of diverse employees.
3. Invest in your employee resource groups
Investing in your employees will boost your bottom line. Employee resource groups (ERGs) can play a crucial role in improving diversity in the workplace. ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups that focus on a specific diversity topic. They provide a safe space for employees to share their experiences and connect with others with similar backgrounds or interests.
If your company doesn’t have any ERGs, now is the time to start one. Many resources are available to help you get started, including the Human Rights Campaign’s Employer Toolkit. You can also find local and national networking events for ERG members.
If your company already has ERGs, make sure they are active and inclusive. For example, encourage employees to participate in meetings and events and offer training sessions to help them build their skills.
Remember that ERGs can be an essential part of your diversity and inclusion strategy, but they should not be the only initiative. Make sure you are also investing in other areas, such as training and recruitment.
4. Grow your employer brand
Your employer brand is one of the essential tools for attracting and retaining a diverse workforce. Job candidates are increasingly looking for companies with a DEI focus. About 86% of global job seekers prioritize companies that share their values.
You can improve your employer brand by creating content that celebrates diversity and inclusion in your workplace. You can also showcase your commitment to these values on your website, social media channels, and job ads.
Make sure your recruitment team is also promoting these values. For example, they should actively seek out diverse candidates and network with organizations that promote diversity. When interviewing job candidates, ask questions that will help you assess their understanding of and commitment to diversity and inclusion.
5. Focus on cognitive diversity
Diversity is not just about race and ethnicity. Cognitive diversity is another important aspect of diversity that your company should celebrate. Cognitive diversity is the variety of thinking styles and perspectives within an organization.
Cognitive diversity is crucial because it can lead to better decision-making and problem-solving. It focuses on internal ways of thinking, worldview, problem-solving, and other cognitive factors that vary from one employee to the next. Fostering cognitive diversity can be challenging, but it is worth the effort. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Encourage employees to share their ideas and perspectives.
- Create an environment where different opinions are respected.
- Challenge employees to think outside the box.
- Provide training and development opportunities that focus on different thinking styles.
- Encourage employees to read and discuss articles about cognitive diversity.
The benefits of diversity are well-documented. By implementing some of the strategies listed above, you can improve diversity in the workplace for your business and reap the rewards.