Diversity in the workplace is something that can’t be ignored. It’s important to understand and embrace diversity in order to create a work environment where everyone feels comfortable and able to succeed.
At Thriiver, supporting this is our main goal. So we’ve put together this complete guide to embracing diversity in the workplace to help you learn a little quicker. In this guide we will cover:
- What diversity is and why it is important in the workplace
- The business benefits of a diverse workforce
- How you can better embrace diversity in your workplace.
So, let’s get started!
The Importance of Embracing Diversity in the Modern Workplace
There are many different ways to define diversity. In general, it refers to the inclusion of people with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives that are often underrepresented. This can include but is not limited to:
- Minority ethnic groups and people with diverse cultural backgrounds
- People with disabilities, neurodiversities and mental health issues
- LGBTQIA+ individuals
- People from different socio-economic backgrounds.
By embracing diversity in the workplace, you create an environment where everyone feels respected and, most importantly, where everyone has the opportunity to stay in work.
For disabled individuals there can still be a number of policies and processes in the workplace that can interfere with this opportunity, resulting in disability discrimination in the workplace.
As research shows that how disabled people are treated when asking an employer for reasonable adjustments impacts if they will request them in the future, it’s vital that employers are playing an active role in embracing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
And for LGBTQIA+ individuals, over 40% of LGBT workers (45.5%) reported that they experienced employment discrimination or harassment because of their sexual orientation, according to this 2021 research by UCLA.
This highlights the true need for businesses to take instant action and work to create a more inclusive work environment for all with a zero tolerance policy regarding these behaviours.
Bridging these diversity gaps helps people feel more comfortable in their work and can lead to a number of business benefits, which we will explore next.
Why is a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce Good For Business?
Not only is embracing a more diverse workplace the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. A diverse workforce brings a variety of skills, experiences, and perspectives to the table, which can make your business more innovative, adaptable, and ultimately successful.
According to a report by McKinsey & Co “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. For gender diversity this figure is 15%.”
Further to this, one study found that companies that have more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue due to innovation. Other benefits can include:
- Boosted employee retention: When employees feel valued and respected, they are more likely to stay with a company. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, “Employees who say they feel respected are more satisfied with their jobs and more grateful for—and loyal to—their companies.”
- Improved customer satisfaction: Promoting diversity within your workforce can help you better understand and serve your customers. This is because employees with different backgrounds can offer different perspectives on customer needs and how to best address them.
- Increased innovation: A variety of perspectives can lead to more creativity and innovative thinking within a company. According to Fast Company, “Innovation in business is powered by unique perspectives and new ideas. At the forefront of innovation is diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
In short, embracing diversity in the workplace is great for aiding innovation, boosting your bottom line and retaining employees. So if you’re looking to improve your business, valuing diversity is a great place to start.
How Can I Embrace Diversity in My Business?
Create a diverse workplace with great company culture
Company culture starts at the top, so it’s important that senior leaders set the tone for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This can be done by ensuring that your company values are inclusive and by making a commitment to hire a more diverse workforce.
Once you have made the commitment to embrace diversity, there are a number of things you can do to create a more inclusive company culture. You should focus on ensuring respect and fair treatment for all employees, providing resources on unconscious bias, and creating employee resource groups for underrepresented groups.
By taking these steps, you can create a workplace where everyone feels respected and valued, which will lead to improved employee satisfaction and retention.
Provide necessary accommodations for disabled and neurodiverse employees
Organisations have a legal responsibility to provide necessary accommodations for disabled employees. This includes making sure that your workplace is accessible and that any necessary adjustments are made to allow disabled employees to perform their roles effectively.
You should also provide accommodations for neurodiverse employees, such as those with autism or ADHD. These employees may require flexible working arrangements or a different approach to communication in order to be successful in their roles.
You should also consider providing Neurodiversity Awareness Training to your employees to create a better understanding of neurodiversity in the workplace.
Educate your workforce on workplace diversity
Diversity training can help employees become more aware of their own personal biases and how these can impact others in the workplace. It’s important to make sure that this training is ongoing and includes everyone in your organisation, from senior leaders to entry-level employees.
When done correctly, diversity training can help create a more positive workplace culture and prevent unconscious bias from impacting important decisions, such as who to hire or promote.
Make sure your recruitment process is inclusive
Diversity initiatives should also apply to your hiring processes. From gender diversity to neurodiversity, take a look at the diversity of your recruitment methods and make sure that you are not inadvertently excluding any groups of people.
Your recruitment process is a great opportunity to attract a more diverse pool of candidates. To do this, you should consider changing the language in job descriptions to be more inclusive, reaching out to underrepresented groups, and using blind screening during the interview process.
By making these small tweaks to your recruitment process, you can ensure that you are attracting a more diverse range of candidates and giving everyone an equal opportunity to succeed.
Provide training and development opportunities
Diverse teams need the same training and development opportunities as any team. To create a more inclusive workplace, you should invest in the development of your employees. This includes providing training and mentorship opportunities that help employees reach their full potential.
Investing in employee development shows that you are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone can succeed. It can also lead to improved employee satisfaction and retention, as employees feel more valued in their roles.
Review your policies and practices to support a diverse workforce
By supporting historically excluded groups throughout all of your policies and practices, you can build an inclusive culture that helps everyone feel valued and respected. This includes everything, from your parental leave policy to the way you handle customer complaints.
Take a look at all of your policies and practices and make sure that they are inclusive of all groups. By doing this, you can ensure that everyone in your company has the foundation to develop and succeed at work.
Other procedural areas to focus on include:
- Ensuring gender diversity throughout your recruitment process and gender equality by tackling the gender pay gap
- Providing adequate reasonable adjustments for employees with disabilities
- Providing fair opportunities for employees from all racial and ethnic backgrounds
- Having clear policies to tackle workplace discrimination and harassment
- Offering flexible working arrangements to support employees with religious practices or different family responsibilities
- Making sure that your organisational structure does not inadvertently exclude any groups of people.
Develop inclusive leadership skills
Leadership teams play a vital role in creating and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace. As leaders, you should be aware of your own personal biases and how these can impact your decision making. Leadership roles should also provide support and guidance to employees on how they can create a more inclusive workplace.
As an employer, you should provide your leaders with the right training to support a diverse workforce. Whether that means Disability Awareness Training to support disabled team members or Mental Health Awareness Training to support employees with mental health issues, there are a variety of training programs available to support your leaders in creating an inclusive workplace.
Provide regular employee engagement opportunities
Employee engagement is essential for creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. By engaging with your employees, you can ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to provide their input.
This includes providing platforms for employees to share their ideas, give feedback, and participate in decision making, allowing you to embrace diverse perspectives throughout your workforce.
When employees feel like they are part of the decision-making process, they are more likely to be engaged in their work and committed to their company. This can lead to improved employee turnover and job satisfaction, as well as increased productivity and reduced absenteeism.
There are a variety of ways to engage with your employees, including:
- Conducting regular surveys to gauge employee satisfaction and identify areas for improvement
- Encouraging employees to participate in yearly focus groups
- Giving employees the opportunity to contribute to company-wide initiatives
- Encouraging employees to participate in company blogs and online forums.
Looking For Expert Accredited Workplace Diversity Training?
With Neurodiversity Training, Mental Health at Work Training, Disability Awareness Training and more, the experts here at Thriiver can help you create a workplace that celebrates, empowers and truly embraces diversity!
We also offer a range of assistive technology, workplace needs assessments and other services to help you support your employees. Our accredited services are delivered by experienced and qualified professionals, who are passionate about diversity and inclusion in the workplace.