Promotion of diversity in the workplace is when an organisation intentionally looks to create a workforce from employees with a range of genders, religions, races, ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations, educational backgrounds, as well as other attributes. Diversity in the workplace is one of the pillars of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Benefits of diversity in the workplace
A well implemented diversity strategy can bring many benefits at many levels of an organisation. Diverse organisations will often gain the advantage of:
New perspectives – With a more diverse workforce, new approaches and ways of working are introduced to the organisation. This can help challenge assumptions and spark new discussions.
Greater innovation – Bringing together employees from a wider variety of backgrounds gives new ideas an opportunity to be shared and refined. Differing problem-solving approaches intermingling can help generate solutions for long-standing challenges.
A wider talent pool – Increasing the diversity in the talent pipeline will naturally expand the talent pool you have to draw from, improving the potential quality of applicants.
Increased performance – Opening your organisation up to a broader range of perspectives, ideas, and experiences will multiply the opportunities for performance improvements. Diverse workforces will be more productive and engaged.
How to promote equality and diversity in the workplace
Improving the equality and diversity in your organisation will be an ongoing process. To support this, there are some core areas of activity that will help promote a diverse mindset throughout the workforce. These include:
Aligning diversity with your organisation’s goals – Your diversity strategy should be a pillar of your business strategy and organisational culture. You can’t replicate a template from another organisation as that would undermine your own unique goals. Look at where diversity gaps are creating blockers in delivering goals.
Going from idea to implementation - Without the necessary resources and focused effort, even the best strategy will fail to deliver results. Consider who will be your diversity champions and the support systems in place for them, this maybe the creation of a single DEI role or the creation of a larger DEI function depending on the size of your organisation.
Challenging bias – Even well-intentioned employees will bring bias into the workplace. Bias will inevitably manifest in the daily interactions of people in any working environment. It is because of this that it is important to equip all employees with an understanding of common biases, so that they can be aware of how and when they may come into play. This knowledge will allow them to support each other with empathy and understanding and help each other avoid or address them.
Training your managers – It is important to ensure diversity has influential supporters throughout your organisation. As managers are the role models for the wider workforce, instilling in them the importance of your diversity agenda, and how to behave to keep a changing workforce inclusive, is an essential investment.
Managing diversity in the workplace
When undertaking a cultural transformation like this it is essential to have a framework for monitoring progress and identifying the ways it is benefiting the organisation. Setting out clear timeframes for implementing core initiatives, researching the benchmarks to measure and developing a clear plan for reporting against targets is essential.