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What to consider when improving workplace diversity

Contrary to popular belief, workplace diversity is not a ‘modern trend’. For centuries, tradesmen have known that establishing contacts with strangers and employing people from different countries would contribute to their business. The model has survived until this very day because it is more than successful. Nowadays, the term “workplace diversity” has a much broader semantic scope as it includes people of other political views, religions, age, gender, experience, and other factors not directly related to work.

improving workplace diversity

Different ethnicities can make a difference in daily operations, the market you do business with is most likely a global one so you need a diverse workforce to match. If you want to improve your workplace diversity, here are the most important factors to consider, as explained by Emma Williams in collaboration with Relax For Life.

The person calling the shots

The staff in any given company can be measured and perceived from various angles. When it comes to boosting diversity, the most important division is the one between junior and senior management. If you are seeking to diversify your employee structure, the change has to be visible in every segment of the vertical hierarchy of your firm in order for more people to apply for a job. If you have floor workers in the factory from all walks of life but the management seems to have been cast in the same mold, then you have a problem.

Diversifying the workforce from below is only for show and tell. Such a superficial change won’t reflect on the company’s business. True change comes only when you place the most unlikely candidate to the post where he or she will be in the position to call the shots. For example, a highly motivated and skilled youngster working in a fast food restaurant should be given the chance to become a manager, regardless of their age.

End negative social stereotypes

There are countless stereotypes about women at work, which is just one example of work stereotypes that threaten to hurt your business. Unfortunately negative stereotyping has become a common social practice, and as such business owners are expected to hire certain people and automatically reject others. However, the modern way of doing business has little tolerance for such discrimination and neither should you. Don’t post ads that predetermine what the prospective employee should look like and what background they should come from. Let all interested parties apply and then select the best of them based on their skills, previous experience, and job interview performance.

Employee perks

Different people are driven by different things in life. Although most people place money first, not all employees can be attracted and kept by a huge salary. If you have a single mum in your team, for instance, she may be more appreciative of flexible hours or time off. Other employees might like to feel comfortable at work, so a massage chair would be an excellent addition to the break room. Finally, you have those workers who like to be rewarded for their work, so different incentive bonuses should be put into place. These can be related to either the quality of work produced or the accomplishment of different pre-set goals.

True team building

One thing that you have to understand about diversification is that it runs its own course. You have the power to instigate it by hiring employees of different ages, ethnicity, and genders but how they will blend is really a gamble. However, you are not entirely powerless, as there is always the possibility to facilitate this bonding. Work with the HR team to organise team building activities to help the workers feel well together and perhaps develop friendships. Only when workers of different backgrounds start working together as a single operational unit, will you start reaping the benefits from diversifying the workplace.

Make the effort to post the ad

The reason why you currently might have a uniform workforce is that you have recruited your staff through personal referrals. Although you get solid employees this way that have been certified by professionals, you deprive yourself of a larger pool of possible candidates. Furthermore, you are likely to only really hire local workers this way, while posting an ad on LinkedIn means that the people from Tokyo to New York will also be able to apply. What better way to diversify the workplace than searching globally for newcomers!

Sharing the diversity goals

A typical project your firm embarks on starts from the top until the lowest echelon of workers executes it. The introduction of workplace diversity functions in much the same way, as lower management might share your views on the topic. Organise board and staff meeting in which you will explain the importance of accepting workers with different backgrounds, gender or ethnicity.

As an additional method, you could send a memo to every department, which special attention to the human resources sector. They are the ones who will not only be directly responsible for diversifying the workforce but they will educate new workers on this company standard. Once a cohesive strategy is put into place, everyone from the top executives to the teenagers applying for their first real job will be aware of the importance of a diverse workplace.

Finally, you must understand that workplace diversity is a process that will take time to yield visible results. In fact, this is the main reason why many companies give up on these policies. Don’t be one of those companies, because once you truly diversify the workforce, the enterprise will experience a tangible rise in productivity.

More on HR and staff management and hiring young employees for your small business.

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