Workplace diversity is a common topic of conversation among employers, hiring managers and recruitment professionals. But diversity and inclusion in the workplace isn’t just a hiring fad; and over the years it has become less a case of simply factoring in age, gender and race, and more about hiring a wider range of people to add value to businesses. Increasingly, business leaders are seeing that encouraging diversity in the workplace has several tangible benefits, for the company and for its employees.
What is workplace diversity?
Workplace diversity is a term used for a workplace composed of employees with varying characteristics.These characteristics differentiate groups and people from one another. Most commonly mentioned types of diversity are:
- Gender including transgender
- Physical abilities and disabilities
- Veteran status
- Sexual orientation
- Temporary changes such as pregnancy
- Types of unions such as Civil partnerships, love marriage, arranged marriages
Why is workplace diversity important?
Diversity gives you access to a greater range of talent, not just the talent that belongs to a particular world-view or ethnicity or some other restricting definition. It helps provide insight into the needs and motivations of all of your client or customer base, rather than just a small part of it. And, potentially, it makes your organisation more effective, more successful, more profitable.
As employees will have different backgrounds and characteristics, it also means that their skills, experiences and abilities are likely to be different as well which can mean you have a very well-rounded team. This is also great from a learning perspective as they will have access to these different perspectives and so will enable them to widen their experience and learning.
Educate managers about workplace diversity
Inclusive attitudes need to start at the top. Make sure that your managers understand the importance of workplace diversity and how to support people from diverse backgrounds. After all, poor management is one of the biggest reasons employees leave or become unhappy. However, it’s not enough to simply educate your managers, but you also need to empower them by providing the right resources and helping them to create a culture that celebrates diversity.
How does this impact HR functions?
HR has a crucial role to play when it comes to fostering an inclusive workforce; whether this is through monitoring and assessing the organisation’s need for diversity, or by promoting an open and safe workplace culture where morale is high and each team member feels valued and able to thrive in their role.
Assuming that an organisations’ owner or senior management team has already taken steps to implement a diversity program, HR employees will find that they are able to work in sync to develop supporting opportunities. For example, HR should be the department within a business which advocates for diversity initiatives, helps to research and gather the necessary information to create a program, and then coordinates its implementation, from drafting policies and communicating with senior management.
The best way to promote diversity in your workplace is by embracing it and working to build an understanding. Getting to know your colleagues on a personal level, regardless of their culture and background, will help you to find common ground, deepen your appreciation of differences, and promote an inclusive and welcoming work environment.
For further information on workplace diversity please contact us here where our team of professionals can advice and assist you.