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5 Ways to Improve Workplace Diversity

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Paula Hicks from Help.Plagtracker. Her opinions are her own.

The world around us changes every day. It is possible to interact with other people on the other side of the globe with only one tap on the screen. And it is possible to sell goods or services anywhere in the world or hire a person from another continent to work for you without them every walking into your office.

But, there are areas which don’t showcase the society we live and work in. Among such cases is workforce diversity, a business issue experienced by many companies, even the most advanced and developed ones. To make your mark in the modern world (and to be viewed as an employer of choice) you need a diverse team.

Why do you need such a team? Because diverse teams usually make better decisions; they are more creative and attentive to your primary goals and customers’ needs. According to McKinsey research diverse businesses deliver 35% better results, than non-diverse ones.

So, if a diverse workforce is a benefit, why are so many companies still not adapting? There are four common problems preventing companies from creating a diverse workforce:

  • An instinctive refusal to consider certain ethnic groups for certain roles within the business;
  • Lack of prioritization;
  • The decision not to hire women in decision-making positions; and
  • An old-fashioned workplace culture.

As you see, these issues are definitely not complicated, which is why tactics for increasing diversity in the workplace can be very handy. Here are 5 simple strategies that should be fairly simple to implement in your workplace.

1. Stop following society stereotypes

In many cases the company executives are to blame for a lack of diversity in the workplace. We often follow different stereotypes which may prevent us from hiring a smart person with excellent skills and experience. Unfortunately, it’s a common trend that male-founded business are less likely to hire women or a minority representative for an executive position because of a low level of trust. So, in most cases, we follow society stereotypes. That is why we need to re-format our hiring process, and the first step is banning slate-sitters.

I am referring to women and minorities who are never getting that job. Try to understand why they are not hired. By doing this, you will find out what people had not been hired because of stereotypes. And in most cases you will be able to find high qualified executives who were ignored because of their gender or race.

2. Share the decision making process

One of the easiest ways to increase workforce diversity during the hiring process is to create a decision making team – for example someone from HR along with a high performing executive. Together this pair will be an effective force helping your organization to overcome the wide-spread issue of discrimination.

3. Educate employees

Start educating employees on the importance of diversity in the workplace. Provide real life scenarios where women or under-represented minorities perform better than the stereotypical white male. Show them that diversity of the workplace can also have a positive impact on profits. Investigate which areas in your business women could be more productive than men. Share this information with your management team.

To make this process more efficient develop different evaluation metrics for men and women. Try to review the metrics you use currently. Re-arrange these metrics to measure women’s success efficiently. A variety of leadership styles in most cases strengthens the company.

4. Promote flexibility

Have you ever thought that full-time working mothers with children might need more flexible working hours? Smart companies understand that. An engaged employee who feels respected and looked after performs 100% better than a disgruntled person.

As for motivation, many managers believe that the only employee motivator is money. But research shows that it is not true. You need to identify the different motivators for men and women working in your organization. Ask your HR specialist to establish one-to-one meetings, or create polls or questionnaires to find out. They can be anonymous if you are not confident about asking “one-to-one.” There are many ways to motivate staff and offer flexibility: recognition, prizes, extra time off to spend time with family, corporate events, dinners, a gym pass etc.

5. Respect different career goals

Do you know what the career goals of your employees are? How do they differ? The fact is that of the career aspirations of women and men are different. Some employees will be interested in an accelerated career path while others will place more of a focus on work-life balance. Don’t treat this desire as a lack of intensity, commitment or ambition. Where possible promote different career paths and opportunities. Smart companies are using this approach.

There are many different tactics to increase diversity in the workplace. The majority involve shifting the mindset and attitude of the executives as well as the employees. If you have other ideas on how to improve workforce diversity, we’d love to hear them.

Paula Hicks

Paula Hicks is an experienced content editor and journalist. Currently, works as freelance writer and travels the world.

  • Mathew Genesis

    The stereotypical white male?? Very untidy comment…. you talk about diversity and your saying white males are stereotypical. I know lots of stereotypical people and majority of them are not white.

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