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How to improve diversity in the workplace

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How to improve diversity in the workplace

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Diversity is a critical factor in achieving workplace (and ultimately, business) success.

A group of diverse employees, with different experiences, thought processes and opinions, help nurture a culture of new ideas and different ways of thinking.  This creates a more robust company with the skills needed to overcome the challenges facing a growing business.  

How can a business and an HR team improve diversity in the workplace?  What steps can be put in place to help develop an inspirational team of unique and diverse people?

Here are some easy-to-implement ideas that your business can drive forward to strengthen a diverse employee body.

Improve your Employer Branding:

Employer Branding is the outward presentation of your business to attract potential new (and continue to engage current) employees.  In creating an employer brand businesses will focus on promoting their mission, vision, values, internal culture and career opportunities to showcase the company as an attractive place to work.

Diversity in the workplace can be improved by promoting a culture of diversity within Employer Branding.  This can be achieved by highlighting externally the positive aspects of the company’s diverse workplace, the exciting career development opportunities that this brings and how diversity enhances the day-to-day work environment for employees.  All of these points will create an attractive business to work for and promoting diversity will in turn strengthen diversity in the company.

However this can’t simply be a token effort – diversity needs to be truly embedded in the company’s values and culture and presented in a genuine way to make a visible impact.

Incorporate diversity into your company values and culture

Leading on from the above, it’s important to incorporate diversity fully within a company’s values and culture for it to make a difference long-term.

This may involve rewriting company values and creating strategies to implement these across the business so the company brings to life their diversity goals.  A diverse culture needs to be nurtured through positive action and can’t be achieved simply through value statements.

Simple ways to strengthen and bring to life diversity within a company culture can include:

  • Giving all employees opportunities to raise opinions, give feedback and speak up – demonstrating how everybody is valued
  • Creating employee events that highlight and appreciate diversity
  • Promoting workplace diversity through internal communications
  • Nurturing a culture of respect amongst all people in the team
  • Ensuring a diverse mix of employees are represented in committees, forums and groups
  • Showcasing individual achievements and rewarding success across the workplace

Remove bias from recruitment

When taking on new employees, it’s essential to remove bias from the recruitment process.  This is includes unconscious bias where a person’s personal experiences or ways of thinking may unconsciously affect their approach towards a candidate. 

When it comes to taking on a new employees, the most important points to consider are their experience to succeed in the role, their ability to do the job and their capacity to thrive in your unique work culture.  Any perceptions of gender, age, race or more can affect how the candidate is viewed during the recruitment process and need to be avoided.

Give everybody equal access to career development and progression

A diverse leadership team is as vital to a successful business as a diverse group of wider employees.  This demonstrates to all employees that each individual has potential and that there are no limitations to how successful they can be.

A business needs to continually evaluate their internal strategies to make sure that this can be achieved in reality.  Providing support, offering career guidance, giving training opportunities and proactively promoting progression opportunities helps give equal access to career development across the business.

Create opportunities to reach diverse groups of potential employees

A business looking to improve diversity within the workforce can achieve change in this area by sourcing opportunities that give access to new groups of potential employees.

Two simple ways could be reviewing online or print media where job ads are placed and reviewing the regions where the company has advertised and considering whether new advertising channels and new markets could help the business to reach a bigger and more diverse audience.

A diverse workforce is a successful workforce.  Strengthening how your business embeds diversity into its culture, how it attracts future employees and how it recruits and supports them throughout their time with the company are crucial, yet simple actions which can improve diversity for the future.

Date Posted: November 14th 2018

Posted By: Yvette Owen