Diversity is a tenant of many organizations, and for good reason. Diversity can encourage better problem solving in the workplace, as a person’s background can influence their perception of the world. With more diversity, you have a larger variety of perspectives, which can help you to implement solutions you may never have thought of otherwise. Although diversity is a great thing, many employers are unsure of how to encourage diversity in their company. These tips will help you to get started.
Consider Hiring Practices
Hiring practices can either benefit or harm your diversity efforts. For example, many diverse people are unable to complete a four-year degree. Requiring a degree for a position is unfair to those who are less privileged, unless the position legally requires a specific degree or certification. Instead, take a close look at the day-to-day operations of the role. Could you realistically pull anyone off of the street and adequately train them in the daily duties? If the answer is yes, then the position does not need a degree.
Additionally, a hiring panel that is made up solely of people of the same race, economic class, gender, or other factors may subconsciously prevent diverse people from gaining a role within a company. Do what you can to make your hiring panel more diverse, in order to gain alternative perspectives on candidates.
Think About Company Policies
There are many companies that expect their employees to live their lives exactly the same as the executives. This can permeate company policies, by making them so restrictive that they are not reasonable for people of a different background. One such example is an attendance policy that allows for no flexibility. Consider how a single parent may frequently be one minute late due to dropping off their child at school. One minute makes virtually no difference in productivity, so some flexibility would be kind to those who have different needs at home. There are many policies that can affect diverse employees, from the ability to take off for religious holidays to working in an open office, and everything in between. Be aware of how your workplace operates and who might be struggling due to your policies.
Sensitivity Training for Diversity
Finally, one of the best things you can do is to train your employees in sensitivity to diversity, especially if they are management. Managers must be trained to be sensitive toward issues of diversity, as well as how to not single out someone who is diverse. Employees who make insensitive comments or who bully a peer due to a difference should be addressed immediately to prevent a culture of hostility. Keep in mind that there are good, and even fun, ways to train in diversity, and that you should be cautious to avoid any training that further promotes insensitivity.
Diversity is an important factor in the workplace, and business owners and managers alike should do their best to promote diversity. If your company is struggling with diversity, start with these tips, but also hear out the diverse voices from within your organization to find ways you can improve.