If you love having a diverse customer base, why not cater to those customers with an equally diverse workforce? Similarity bias may seem like a good approach but think about it, do you really want people that are all alike or have had similar experiences? Wouldn’t it be better to have people from all walks of life, people who have had different experiences that they can use to innovate and create new opportunities? We’re talking about expanding your organization enough to be inclusive of all – people who are differently-abled or people of any gender, ethnicity, or age group.
If you’re thinking – why is diversity important in a workplace? Well, shouldn’t every individual get a chance to showcase their potential? Wouldn’t it be fun to have people from different cultures coming together to build a new world full of opportunities? And that’s not it; there are several other benefits of diversity in the workplace. As per a McKinsey study, 43% of companies with workforce diversity reported a ‘significant’ increase in profits.
Almost all countries around the world have been operating on strict cultural norms where societal categorization was a defining point for an individual. The lines of categorization are now blurring out, and it’s the responsibility of the ‘privileged’ to make sure all members of society are getting the same opportunities. And where better to start than the workplace?
Here are some steps to help you boost your workplace diversity.
Identify Existing Composition:
The foremost thing to do is to understand the existing composition of employees in your organization based on gender, age, cultural background, and such. You can start with a few basic questions such as minority representation in every department/team, diversity percentage in senior management, recorded incidents of any form of bias, and how inclusive are your hiring practices.
Once you are done with your assessment, it is imperative to acknowledge the lack of diversity. You must consider that a diverse employee base is not just numbers; it is also the placement of these individuals. There should be no clusters but free flow of diversity across all teams and levels of the organization.
As per Harvard Business Review, 78% of employees believe their organization lacks diversity in leadership roles. We must understand that the world is not free of bias yet; we are just trying to get there. The path is not easy to travel and will present a lot of hardship for people with the power to change. An organization’s leaders are the face of power for their employees; if the leader board is not diverse enough, the employees will not take inclusivity seriously enough to encourage it.
Set Up Goals:
Setting up workplace diversity and inclusion goals is no easy feat. It requires a lot of assessment, developing action items, and planning for execution, especially when we look at diversifying all levels of the workforce. There is no harm in setting up ambitious goals, but they should be realizable. The advised way is to go by incremental y-o-y increases. You can also have internal goals but wouldn’t the accountability that comes with making your goals public act as a driving force?
To start developing your goals, you must first start locally and analyze the communities your workforce belongs to. Since most organizations operate in urban or metropolitan areas, it is easier to have a diverse community setup.
Another essential aspect is focusing on skill sets instead of education. There are a lot of practical learners among us that may be better at the job than a graduate. We’re not saying education isn’t important, but it shouldn’t be a requirement for roles that can be accomplished without a degree. This will help you get access to a broader pool of talent, and you might just find your perfect candidate in it.
The final step is to build a pipeline that helps people align with the role and each other. Mentorship programs and upskilling and reskilling training sessions are just a few examples of how you can accelerate your progress.
The first step is to evaluate your existing policies. Once you are done, ask yourself this- Are these policies competent enough to address the concerns of a truly diverse workforce? If your answer is no, it’s time to revamp them.
Workplaces with inclusive policies showcase tangible efforts to your employees and candidates. It makes them feel safe and understood. You can start with a few simple policy changes, such as-
- Dress codes can be made more inclusive
- Company holidays can be customized to accommodate cultural backgrounds of your diverse workforce
- Stricter maternal or paternal leave policies
- Change hiring policies to be more accommodative
- Have a transparent appraisal system
- Change your grievance and complaint system
As an employer, it is vital that your employees feel secure. It was found in a McKinsey survey that women make up 39% of global employment but account for 54% of overall job losses, and after COVID, their jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable compared to men. If you’re able to identify more such problems and have relevant policies built to safeguard them, you are looking at a highly motivated, engaged and driven employee base.
Training programs are an essential part of improving your company’s workplace diversity. Since the emphasis of these programs is laid on understanding the causes and effects of intolerance. It helps employees understand what it’s like for underrepresented or marginalized groups and how their efforts to promote inclusion will help them and the organization’s performance.
You can also set up a workforce diversity mentorship program and self-learning courses. Employing a Learning Management System (LMS) is also ideal in this scenario as it will help you build scalable and specific learning programs for your employees and new hires.
Training courses can be easily aligned with your diversity goals and help you achieve them faster. In fact, 92% of business leaders agree that a strategic workforce training program will help the organization in achieving its diversity goals. You can also implement cross-training programs to combat diversity issues within the organizational levels.
Revamp Hiring Process:
More than 3 out of 4 people prefer working with a diverse workforce. Keeping in mind the view of the general pool of candidates, it becomes all the more important to have a diverse workforce. Having a dedicated hiring team of diversity managers who specialize in implementing actions to promote diversity has now become a necessity. A diversity team can also help you build competent policies and better align your existing workforce.
Now that you know what entails the process of diversification of your workforce, it’s time to start with the implementation. If you are looking to improve your company’s workplace diversity, you’ve come to the right place. Connect with our experts at Auzmor to know more about how we can help you!