The dramatic shift towards a more diverse population has a major impact on the workforce and how organizations diversify their workplace. According to Forbes, organizations that are more diverse make more money, are more innovative, smarter, and retain more talent.
To continue to advance the benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, there are still diversity barriers that exist in many organizations that need to be broken down. Workplace diversity refers to differences between individuals in an organization including: gender, race, age, religion, ethnic group, sexual orientation, military service, physical conditions, etc.
Organizations that are successful in cultivating a more diverse and inclusive workplace will gain an advantage when it comes to recruiting and hiring talent. Here are seven tips to effectively cultivate a more diverse workplace:
- Prioritize communication
A diverse workplace needs to ensure that they effectively communicate policies, procedures, safety rules and other important information with employees. This communication should be translated and include pictures whenever possible in an effort to overcome language and cultural barriers.
- Treat each employee as an individual
Look at each employee as an individual and assess their successes and failures on individual merit rather than making assumptions about employees from different backgrounds.
- Encourage employees to work in diverse groups
To help break down preconceived notions and cultural misunderstandings encourage employees to work in diverse work teams that allow them to get to know one another on a more personal level.
- Base standards on objective criteria
Ensure each employee is treated the same by setting a consistent set of rules for all employees regardless of background. All employee actions, including discipline, should follow this standardized criteria.
- Be open-minded
Encourage employees to recognize that every employee brings unique experiences, background, and culture to the organization. Incorporate this diverse range of talents into achieving company goals.
- Zero-Tolerance Policy
Having a diverse workplace means that off-color jokes about gender, race, sexual orientation or religion need to be met with zero-tolerance enforcement. This means putting policies in place to address misconduct and communicating that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.
- Sensitivity Training
To achieve an inclusive workplace it’s important employees are aware of how to coexist with a diverse range of people, as well as have cultural sensitivity. Sensitivity training can help employees become more self-aware, which plays an important role in helping employees understand their own cultural prejudices.
In today’s talent market, organizations that can successfully cultivate a more diverse and inclusive workplace will have a competitive advantage over others in terms of employer branding, differentiation, and innovation.