“Diversity” is much more than just a buzzword when it comes to modern businesses.
Believe it or not, diversity is a significant factor in keeping workers happy and retaining them.
And while it may sound like fluff on the surface, there’s the oft-cited McKinsey study that notes business that emphasize diversity as part of their companies are actually more profitable.
But beyond that note, consider some additional benefits of both boasting a diverse workforce and promoting cultures within the office:
- Employees ultimately feel more comfortable at work despite their difference, noting that a commitment to their culture is a commitment to them (think: helping with retention)
- Teams that are able to talk out their differences and discuss cultures ultimately grow closer, signaling good news for teamwork
- An accepting culture makes an office more akin to family and community versus somewhere to pick up a paycheck
But with all of this in mind, how can you go about promoting diversity internally? Below we’ve highlighted five strategies and points to keep in mind.
Promote Meaningful Conversations
The first step to highlighting diversity in the workplace is simply acknowledging that it exists. Rather than treat your employees like islands, they should feel comfortable discussing their personal lives, backgrounds and heritages versus simply keeping to themselves in a cubicle.
You’d be surprised at what you might learn about your coworkers when they’re encouraged to talk out their differences. For example, you might learn that some of your workers sending money to family living abroad or have major cultural hangups about an office policy. Until the let people clear the air, you’ll never know.
Create an Environment of Inclusion
This tip is a two-way street. While you should always strive to hire the best people for any given role, you should also make a point to hire workers that are accepting of others. Additionally, opportunities and upward movement should be made available to everyone regardless of their backgrounds.
Encourage Cultural Celebration
Educating workers about culture can oftentimes happen internally simply through dialogue.
However, there are also more concrete ways to celebrate diversity, such as honoring cultural holidays or holding potlucks where workers of different backgrounds can bring in food from their homelands. These might not seem like much, but can make a world of difference to employees eager to share their experiences with others.
Listen to Feedback
If someone in your office feels like their background is a burden on them as a worker or they might be facing some sort of discrimination, the issue needs to come to light ASAP. As such, you need to ensure that workers have means of approaching HR and managers when problems arise.
Soliciting honest employee feedback in the form of anonymous surveys and emails is one way to ensure that nothing gets swept under the rug. It’s not uncommon for workers to feel nervous about approach higher-ups in regard to issues of diversity; however, that’s no excuse not to lend your ear whenever possible.
Obviously the act of making less biased decisions is essential to a happy and prosperous office, but it is something that managers and employees alike should keep in the back of their minds. Again: it’s all about providing equal opportunities while also acknowledge that different cultures are present. A conscious effort to avoid biases can make a massive difference in how your employees perceive you.
Every workplace wants to claim that they support diversity, but the fact remains that not enough take action to emphasize inclusion. Any combination of these small steps can help you work towards an office that embraces people from all walks of life and a better working environment at large.