Even though companies with a diverse workforce are more likely to outperform their competition, many organizations still struggle with diversity and inclusion. Not only does that cut into a company’s potential profitability, but it also looks bad in the eyes of its stakeholders. For example, many socially conscious consumers choose to do business with brands whose core values align with their personal values. That’s especially true when it comes to supporting gender and ethnic diversity. Here are some tips to help you create a more diverse and inclusive workforce that’s welcoming to all employees.
Diversify Your Recruiting Practices
Many businesses still use an outdated recruiting process that largely relies on current employees recommending people they know to fill job openings. Unfortunately, if your workforce isn’t very diverse, then your new hires won’t likely be very diverse either. Furthermore, you will miss out on hiring employees who can offer you the benefits that come with being from different backgrounds and having experiences that are unique to your current workers. Therefore, you need to make sure that your company is recruiting prospective employees from a wide variety of sources. For example, you could post your openings with university career centers, employment agencies, diversity job networks, and online job sites. That way your talent acquisition strategy will be more inclusive.
Make Work Teams More Diverse
Another way to make your workforce more inclusive is to promote greater diversity on your project teams. For instance, when selecting workers for a project, make sure that you are selecting workers that come from different backgrounds and experiences – including ages, genders, and races. That way you will prevent teams from having the same perspective on topics due to everyone coming from similar life experiences. Furthermore, the more diverse your project teams are, the more inclusive they will feel to everyone on them.
Provide Inclusion Training for Your Management Team
Your company’s managers should be setting the example when it comes to promoting a more diverse and inclusive workforce. One way to keep your management team focused on diversity goals is to provide them with inclusion training. For instance, your company could hold diversity training a couple of times a year to managers assess themselves, as well as identify areas of improvement and opportunities for greater workforce inclusion. Remember, diversity training isn’t just meant to be something you mark off on a checklist. It should be about helping managers realize the value of a more diverse workforce.
Be Sensitive to Cultural and Religious Holidays
It isn’t enough just to hire a more diverse workforce. You must also put in the effort to retain that diversity. That’s why creating an inclusive work environment – one that is welcoming to all employees – is important. You can promote inclusion by showing your employees that you value their culture by allowing them to take time off work for religious holidays and cultural celebrations. There are a couple of ways to do that. Many businesses give their workers paid time off (PTO) that they can choose to use whenever they want. Therefore, your employees could use their PTO to celebrate their cultural and religious holidays. You could also grant a certain number of “floating holidays” that employees could use to take off work on specific days of the year. By fostering a more accessible work environment, you are demonstrating that your company is a welcoming place to work for those from all backgrounds.
Hire a Chief Diversity Officer
Lastly, your firm might need to hire a diversity expert to help make your workforce truly diverse and inclusive. For example, many businesses are creating a new leadership position called a chief diversity officer. The chief diversity officer can assess your organization’s diversity successes, as well as opportunities for creating a more inclusive work environment. In fact, their first project should be to prepare a full diversity analysis of your company for its leadership. That way your management team will know what’s needed moving forward to build a more diverse and inclusive work environment.
In short, promoting workforce diversity and inclusion is a company-wide effort, so make sure that your leadership team, hiring managers, and employees all understand their respective roles. For most organizations, promoting diversity is an ongoing project – and there’s always room for improvement. Creating a more diverse and inclusive work environment might also require some strategic restructuring. However, ending up with a well-rounded organization that is more representative of your target market will be worth it.