Managing Diversity: What It Means & Why It Matters
When it comes to fostering diversity and inclusion, you need a comprehensive strategy. From re-designing hiring processes to remove unconscious bias to redesigning your DE&I programming, developing policies and procedures to support change can be all-encompassing. But the work isn’t over once you’ve built the programs to recruit and engage diverse teams. You need to be consciously managing diversity to keep your organization and your workforce inclusive and equitable.
What is ‘managing diversity’?
Simply put, managing diversity means taking steps to consciously create a work environment where all employees feel comfortable being their authentic selves. They also feel valued for their unique perspectives and contributions. In short, all team members believe that they can and will progress if they work hard and have the necessary skills.
Depending on the nature of your business, that may mean coordinating activities between teams situated in different parts of the globe or developing a remote work culture that doesn’t penalize parents.
Why does managing diversity matter?
- It’s good for your bottom line. Diverse teams consistently outperform more homogenous groups.
- Diverse teams encourage your organization to evolve and grow. Engaging with different perspectives helps everyone expand their vision of what’s possible and also develop new ideas for how to achieve key goals.
- Technology has brought us all closer together. Doing business today means interacting with people from different backgrounds. So, a diverse customer base requires a diverse response.
How can you manage diversity?
- Build diversity into your organization’s strategic plan – and get commitment from the top. Research has shown that leadership buy-in can make or break efforts to increase diversity in the workplace. Educational initiatives can help leaders better understand the benefits of a diverse workforce. Also, they can provide the actionable information supervisors need to enact policy shifts.
- Focus on succession planning and leadership development. Managing diversity requires diverse managers. In addition to affiliate programs and mentorship initiatives, set internal targets for promotion and employee development. Consequently, this will ensure that all team members receive the training and feedback needed to advance.
- Develop a culture of continuous improvement and listening. Managing diversity means managing communication. When giving and receiving respectful feedback becomes a core value in your organization, employees will feel safe offering their ideas and alternative perspectives.
Beyond hiring and programming, diversity management ensures that your organization stays true to its commitment to grow and develop a workforce that respects and values all employees. For more insight into developing and managing a diverse workforce, contact us.