A diverse workforce is vital to the success of any business. Failure to employ and retain a diverse workforce can have a detrimental effect on organizations. By not embracing diversity, companies deprive themselves of innovative ideas and unique perspectives. They also miss the advantages of having a more dedicated and enthusiastic workforce. Furthermore, they squander opportunities to alleviate the skill shortages prevalent in many industries.
This article outlines the strategic and tactical solutions to achieve greater diversity in ways that benefit both organisations and employees:
What does “diversity” mean to your company?
It is important to understand and map out all aspects of diversity that’re relevant to your company. Perhaps what comes to your mind is gender, religion, or even race – but it’s more than that. Personality, disability, language, sexual orientation, and age etc. are also important aspects of diversity. In the workplace, inclusion occurs when a diverse range of people feel valued, respected and welcome, with access to opportunities and resources.
Mitigating unconscious bias during recruitment and selection
Hiring managers are advised to seek ways to standardise selection processes. This can include writing inclusive position descriptions (e.g. gender-neutral language), objective assessments of CVs (e.g. remove names, genders and geographic information from CVs to focus assessors’ attention on qualifications and skills), and work sample tests (e.g. testing the quality of candidates’ work and likely aptitude to perform in the role). During the interview stage, the selection panel should be diverse (e.g. gender, ethnicity, age) to reduce the chances of ‘mirror hiring’. Interviews should also be standardised so that candidates answer the same questions and their answers are scored against the same criteria.
Make your employees feel valued
If you want to increase motivation in your workplace, one of the things you have to do is create a sense of belonging. It helps if you create better social bonds and creativity in the workplace. Efforts to build diverse teams at work just for public eye and not practicing it internally will only take you so far. Companies who are serious about diversity and inclusion should strive to make their employees from all groups feel valued and appreciated.
Celebrate cultural differences
Create a work environment where employee differences are respected and celebrated. The best way to achieve this is by organising diversity awareness workshops and events. You can also schedule monthly team meetings where team members can engage in open and candid discussions about diversity. If your organisation is a high achiever in diversity – share that message in the market. An employer brand that embodies diversity will be an employer of choice and attract top talent.
Provide leadership development opportunities
Employees should undertake awareness training to identify their natural biases and mitigate them. At the same time, offer mentoring and training opportunities to employees and review your leadership development pipeline to ensure there’s diversity. Another way to create leadership development opportunities is by encouraging your team to participate in industry conferences and professional networking events. This enables them to not just acquire insightful information or skills but also to add new connections to their network.
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