Diversity is an essential ingredient for any organisation that wants to build a happier, more productive and more efficient workplace. As the labour market continues to become more and more diverse it is essential that organisations ensure that they are cultivating a workplace environment that is representative of the outside world. This can only be achieved by the implementation of strategies designed to enforce the diversification of an organisation’s workforce.
What is diversity?
Diversity is generally defined as acknowledging, understanding, accepting, valuing, and celebrating differences among people with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practice, and public assistance status.
What are the benefits of a diverse workplace?
- Higher innovation and creativity. Gaining ideas, knowledge, and experiences from a diverse group of perspectives and opinions allows for brainstorming activities to be more productive, and in turn allows for innovation, creativity, and problem solving to become a much more seamless task.
- Increased productivity and engagement. In a study conducted by Deloitte, 1550 employees from three large Australian organisations in the manufacturing, retail, and healthcare industries indicated that there is a direct link between diversity and productivity and engagement in the workplace. Essentially concluding that when employees feel included, they are more productive and engaged.
- Reduced employee turnover. An inclusive environment can allow employees to feel a sense of purpose and belonging which in turn can attribute to long-term commitment and loyalty. According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 67 percent of job seekers said a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers. By creating a diverse environment not only can organisations fill positions with quality candidates but also retain their existing employees by providing that inclusive environment they may be seeking.
- Increase in company reputation. Companies that invest resources in building and promoting a diverse workforce are seen to be more desired, conscientious, and responsible organisations which in turn creates a better reputation for your brand, ultimately opening doors to new markets, customers, candidates, and business partners.
What are some tips to create a more diverse workplace?
- Start with Hiring
It starts at the beginning. Ensure that you are recruiting and hiring talent from a variety of backgrounds. This will require a lot of work to break through any bias and ensure that you are widening your talent pools to include candidates from all walks of life.
- Encourage employees to work in diverse groups
Ensuring that your employees are collaborating within a diverse environment will allow them to get to know and value one another on an individual basis and break down any preconceived notions and cultural misunderstandings that may exist.
It is important to recognize and celebrate any milestones that may be significant to a specific group’s experience, culture, or background and celebrate them as a whole organisation. Use this time to share experiences and educate your workforce.
Moreover, adding visual elements to the physical workplace that showcase a diverse environment is also a great way to showcase that your organisation is committed to creating a diverse workplace. This could be in the form of photos of your employees from different events, posters, flags, and or merchandise.
- Policies and procedures
One of the most important steps you can take is ensuring that your organisation’s policies and procedures support diverse groups. Having policies and procedures that are appealing to employees with different interests and needs facilities a more inclusive and accepting environment which in turn will make your organisation more appealing.
- Provide Training
Even the most outwardly inclusive individual can have unconscious biases stemming from stereotypes. Therefore, it’s important to provide regular training on how to achieve and maintain a diverse workplace. Start with awareness training which covers the importance of diversity in the workplace and then move to address the more complex topics such as reducing prejudice and unconscious bias to create a more inclusive environment at work.
These sessions are the most effective when they are interactive, and your employees are able to share their experiences and ask questions.
To sum up
Encouraging diversity in the workplace is the way forward for all organisations looking for a competitive advantage. It is important to recognise that a commitment to Diversity is an ongoing job that will need continuous updating and improving, however the rewards will outweigh any difficulties you may face.
About Employment Innovations
Employment Innovations is one of Australia’s leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, payroll solutions, migration, human resource management and HR software.
The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.