A Business Owner’s Guide to Improving Workplace Diversity

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Fostering an open and accepting culture is an important requirement for any modern workplace. Not only does this make a company more desirable to the best talents, but it also fills your workplace with different experiences, characteristics, and perspectives that could help you grow and succeed. A diverse work environment is expected to be faster problem-solver, more creative, and have a higher innovation rate.

And if you’re a for-profit organization, fostering diversity can help you achieve greater profits as your teams can make faster and smarter decisions. Your team members will also feel more included and valued. Creating a sense of belonging can help you have a happier team that will stay in your company for longer. You can start building a diverse workplace using these simple techniques.

1. Determine the shared values

Recognizing shared values should be your top priority if you want to foster a diverse culture. Focusing on a specific age group or personality type can result in a homogenous culture, creating limited opportunities for a diverse workforce. First off, it’s important to determine your own company values. It can be accountability, empathy, or integrity. Only then can you embed them in your hiring or recruiting process.

While this may sound easy, many hiring managers miss out on candidates who are fit for the job and culture. Instead, they tend to unconsciously opt for people who pass the “beer test”. You can prevent this by focusing on the background and personal experiences of the applicants, and of course, providing the necessary training.

2. Enhance accessibility

Focusing on a diverse pool of talent will require you to improve the accessibility of your workplace. Hiring individuals with disabilities is not always something that companies consider. Employers fear that these people can bring the performance and profits down. However, if you’re serious about fostering a diverse workplace, it’s important to recognize that not all disabilities are visible. Hidden disabilities may include hearing loss, visual impairment, fatigue disorders, and chronic pain.

For your new hires and existing employees, you can invest in accessibility technology to make communications active and effective. Offices can now avail of accessibility solutions such as TTY call-management and deft communication software for hard of hearing or deaf individuals. These tools are useful for making accessible phone calls, whether it’s between your employees or for contacting customers. Besides tools and technology, ensure your hiring managers and other employees are prepared to interact and engage with disabled applicants. Address disability discrimination in your employee handbook and train your staff how to use the accessibility tools and practices.

workplace diversity

3. Focus on the onboarding experience

The third on our list is crafting an onboarding process that fosters diversity and inclusivity. Make it clear to the candidates that you’re actively working to promote diverse company culture. Open a dialogue with the candidates and explain the value of diversity for your organization. New hires should also understand how their assigned team works, from decision-making and communication to cross-functional collaboration.

To improve the experience, assign a specific mentor who will help your new hires learn the skills, knowledge, and behaviors they need to thrive in the workplace. Moreover, it’s suggested that you share the current strategy or roadmap so the new hires can better understand the priorities and responsibilities of the team.

4. Organize events and celebrations`

For the fun part, you can promote diversity by hosting cultural activities and events. Take notes of diversity days that you can celebrate, such as Women’s Equality Day, Pride Month, Black History Month, or International Day of People with Disabilities. Involve your employees, new hires and old ones, to commemorate such occasions. If you have the resources, you can sponsor a community-based diversity event such as an awareness fundraiser, a concert, a fair, or a parade.

Besides these festivities, don’t forget to celebrate the special days and accomplishments of your team members. You can highlight promotions or project achievements through company blogs or email newsletters. Doing so makes your employees feel recognized, accepted, and valued. In case you are planning to share special cultural days with your teams, be sure to give details about what it’s all about and its purpose. Nonetheless, this sends a message that your management respects your employees’ values and beliefs.

From increasing workforce creativity and business profits to improving hiring results and employee retention, a diverse work environment won’t run out of perks to offer your business. But remember, you need to first transform your workplace into an environment where employees feel accepted and valued. Use these suggestions to get started.

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