Diversity initiatives are not just a politically correct box to check – they are a powerful tool for organizational success. Having a diverse workforce of employees from different backgrounds with different experiences helps your team solve problems more creatively and make stronger decisions. Diversity, whether in terms of demographics or encompassing other unique experiences that inform one’s work, is a critical advantage.
Why does diversity create an advantage at work?
- It allows employees to apply their unique contributions. Diversity reduces some of the stress of feeling different. Stress shuts us down and makes us defensive. When employees are freed of it, they are more likely to share unique insights that benefit the organization as a whole.
- It makes employees feel valued. When employees perceive that their workplace culture is accepting of them, it affirms their value and sense of self. In addition to making employees feel good, diversity decreases workforce turnover and makes employees less defensive to critical feedback.
- It promotes personal growth. When we form relationships, parts of others become a part of our self. This process is intensified when the people we form relationships with are different from us. We grow, and personal growth feels good. When this process happens at work, research has shown it leads to higher levels of job satisfaction and commitment.
Why isn’t workforce diversity widespread already?
When it comes to diversity, there are some common roadblocks: some companies are reluctant to “change the culture” because that’s not how things are done, while other companies have begrudgingly accepted the change but do little to foster it. Not surprisingly, neither of these approaches is particularly effective in fostering workplace diversity.
How can you build a diverse workplace?
Real change requires strategic intent. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Make diversity a priority, not just a slogan. Employees recognize cheap PR stunts and increasingly are calling out their companies and former employers, damaging their employment brand. Instead, make sure that increasing diversity is integrated into job descriptions across the company. Research shows that when it’s an explicit part of someone’s job, it’s more likely to get done. Hold your team accountable by measuring metrics of diversity over time. And don’t forget to work towards having diversity at all levels of seniority, including your C-Suite.
- Enlist your employees in recruiting. Perhaps your greatest resource in building a diverse workplace is your employees themselves. Word-of-mouth recruitment strategies can be highly effective. Your employee’s professional networks can provide valuable leads, and their endorsement of the company can carry a lot of weight.
- Ensure your talent management lifecycle is bias-free. Bias can creep in and cripple diversity efforts both pre- and post-hire. To truly change company culture, you need to use objective evaluators when considering candidates for employment and employees for promotions. Cangrade’s suite of Talent Management solutions will help you do just that. All of our tools have been extensively tested to ensure that they do not create unintentional bias for any group.
Taking steps to ensure a diverse culture isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have. Your company, your employees, and your bottom line all benefit when your company puts together a diverse team. Diverse teams solve problems faster and better, they learn from each other’s perspectives, and they stay happier at their jobs longer.
Does your Talent Management system need a boost towards diversity? Contact Cangrade today to learn more about how our solutions further our commitment to hiring equity.