When it comes to creating a thriving workplace and boosting employee engagement, workplace diversity is the key. Diversity in the workplace helps to engage the team spirit, encourage creativity and innovation from each employee, no matter their position or role in the company. All these backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives offer a unique viewpoint that can greatly impact your bottom line.
A study from McKinsey & Company found that companies that have the most culturally and ethnically diverse boardrooms were 43% more likely to attain higher profits.
In addition to a surge in activism and social justice responsibility, a Forbes article notes that “the near future of life, society and business is diverse. The sooner companies acknowledge the beauty of our multicultural American culture, the faster they’ll launch their businesses into the future”.
It’s time for companies to embrace diversity and the rise of innovation that will compliment it.
What is Workplace Diversity?
Before we dive into answering that, it’s important that you acknowledge the significance diversity plays in the workplace and the benefits it brings along with it. Production, marketing, the company culture – these are all influenced by diversity and how diversity is perceived by everyone, company-wide.
Chron further defines workplace diversity as, “The term diversity includes understanding and acceptance of the fact that people have individual characteristics, which make them unique from each other, particularly when comparing individuals in a group. These characteristics may include race, ethnicity, gender, religion, political ideologies, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities or socio-economic status. These characteristics also may include life experiences and cognitive approaches toward problem-solving.”
Obviously, dealing with different social groups, for example, managing multigenerational employees in the same team is an additional challenge for the HR managers. But the benefits of workplace diversity make it all worth it — it truly offers your company a competitive advantage. Below we list eight ways you can boost workplace diversity at your company.
1. Workplace Policies Should Promote Diversity
Promoting workplace diversity may involve creating new policies or amending current ones – from hiring, to employee performance evaluations and promotions. Consider posting an opening at your company with a job description that can reach a more broad audience. You can also share that job description with hiring/job fairs, outreach programs or community hiring officers.
One expert article suggests that “the human resources group should submit resumes and applications to departmental managers without names on them or any ethnic indicators so managers make their decisions on whom to interview based on the merit of each candidate’s background”.
These types of policies create an equal level playing field for every candidate and hiring managers can no longer make unconscious biased decisions.
Just make sure the applicants meet the key qualities of a good employee.
Check if your company is an equal opportunity employer (EEO) that has been approved by the Federal EEOC. If it doesn’t, then ensure you’re meeting their standards and gain approval as soon as possible.
Expert Tip: a few diversity-friendly HR policies you may consider adding are allowing employees a day off for religious holidays (ones not necessarily observed by the company), on-site daycare, flexible hours and more.
2. Offer Diverse Opportunities
If your company has multiple locations, then consider allowing your staff to go visit other locations – whether it’s in another city, state or country even. In addition, send a survey to learn where your employees like to spend their free time and what they’re passionate about in terms of volunteer work. This information will help you arrange activities that suit everyone to help boost employee morale and engagement.
With outings like this, you allow your employees to experience and participate in different kinds of environments which helps create opportunities for your staff to really get to know one another. In addition, your employees can learn how other locations deal with problems that are similar to their own, so they can discover new ways to handle situations. This kind of “new thinking” is something they can implement back home to further enhance their department.
For example, take your employees out for a company fun day to an escape room or to a team building exercise where they will need to work together in order to succeed. This will boost company morale and encourage employees to trust each other, regardless of their differences.
Expert Tip: Consider creating group chats and events for people with common interests and/or professional skills and mix up employees from different teams and locations for team-building, volunteer work or seminars.
3. Employee Management Apps That Promote Diversity
Effective employee management encourages your employees to do the best they can in a diverse workplace. You want to make sure employees have all tools and technology they need at their disposal to be able to focus on what really matters while you elevate your company’s diverse standing.
With an employee management app, such as Connecteam, you can increase internal communication, provide and collect feedback in a click, acknowledge team members and so much more while simultaneously boosting diversity and diversity awareness. Some of the features you can immediately implement to promote workplace diversity include:
- Effortlessly onboard and train new hires on your diversity policy. Remotely manage training and onboarding through the employee management app. All training material is stored in the app so there’s no need to carry around loose papers that often are outdated. You can even keep track of a new hire’s progress through the training material. Make sure your diversity training is mandatory for all new employees as well as for any employee who might have missed it!
- Receive feedback on your diversity training through surveys and suggestion boxes. Create polls and suggestion boxes in order to keep track of your employees’ needs and concerns. Ask them their thoughts on how the company could improve their workplace diversity policies. When employees are more involved in what is happening with the company, they are more engaged, productive and more loyal in the long run.
- Promote healthy communication with an in-app chat and social feed. Through group chat and social feed, you can share birthday wishes, work anniversary milestones, personal celebrations like a marriage or a new baby, team outings and so on. Take the time to celebrate your employee’s personal achievements, whether in or out of the office. Employees will appreciate the attention and will be motivated to work harder. In addition, if someone posts or comments something that is inappropriate or offensive, you can delete the comment and confront the employee privately about the value of positive communication.
- A digital checklist and task feature to remind employees to finish their diversity training. Send a one-off task to remind employees they only have a certain amount of time to complete the diversity training. Receive a real-time push notification once your employee has completed the training.
- Customize updates and policies. Customized folders and user grouping lets you organize your links, updates and policies and send them only to relevant employee groups. For example, with forms and checklists, people can see policies and regulations directly specific to them. Also, you can send group-specific updates, like updates on the diversity policy, maternity leave policy, monthly medical check-ups for the golden age employees, or special language courses for your immigrant employees; without distracting the rest of your workforce with irrelevant information.
Expert Tip: By using an all-in-one employee management app like Connecteam installed on everyone’s phone — you provide your team (and yourself, as a manager) with a complete set of tools to make your workplace diversity policies and other important daily operations more efficient and streamlined – plus, fun and engaging!
Boost Workplace Diversity With Connecteam All-in-one Employee App
4. Educate Managers
Don’t assume all your managers understand how important diversity in the workplace is. From the hiring process to managing a diverse group of employees, there must be a connection and a trustworthy relationship between managers and their employees. Therefore, it is essential that managers are aware of the benefits of diversity in the workplace and know how to support every employee – scheduling cultural and more sensitivity training can be a key first step.
On a regular basis, reevaluate to ensure that diversity in the workplace is taken seriously. For example, examine if non-gendered bathrooms are available, review employee feedback strategies, see what religious holidays can be celebrated and so on.
One expert recommendation mentions that “leadership should make employees feel valued, be open to varied perspectives, and encourage a culture of open dialogue. Women and racial minorities can increase positive employment outcomes by pursuing higher levels of education and seeking employment in larger organizations. All individuals should be willing to listen, empathize with others, and seek to better understand sensitive issues that affect different identity groups”. It’s essential that upper management and senior employees are aware of the benefits of diversity in the workplace and its effect on other employees as well.
Expert Tip: The key thing to remember is that when you celebrate workplace diversity, your team can go on to achieve more than you thought possible.
5. Create A Mentorship Program
Sure, hiring a workforce that is diverse is great, but without proper mentorship not everyone will have the same advancement opportunities. Regardless of your employees’ race, age, sex, or anything else, everyone should get the same access to mentors and training programs. By having a mentor, your employees have someone they can go to with questions or problems, while providing a clear structure and support for career growth.
A few development opportunities you can offer include continuing education, resource groups for women or culturally relevant groups. Additionally, ensure that you hire diverse candidates from the get-go.
Expert Tip: Face-to-face mentoring might be too time-consuming and expensive for many companies, but everyone can create engaging mobile training programs with employee training software like Connecteam.
6. Communication Is Key
Policies that promote diversity in the workplace are all well and good, but without clear internal communication, those policies won’t be effective. Your workers must feel comfortable enough to come to their managers with any issues, especially if they aren’t being treated fairly because of their age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality or anything else. Employees must feel that their voice is heard and that their concerns are legitimate.
Managers must feel confident in their internal communication strategy with all their employees and that includes avoiding assumptions and using inclusive language. With the following, managers are able to create an open and respectful internal communication channel at the workplace.
Additionally, make sure your managers are gaining feedback from employees and are creating diversity tasks for each department based on the feedback. This helps create transparency and ensures your employees are being heard. However, respect that your employees may want to send feedback anonymously, so use a communication chat app to send surveys on a regular basis, without forcing employees to sign their name – this will help strengthen honest responses and boost engagement. By the way, surveys are a great way to embed overall workplace democracy in your company.
Expert Tip: Employee communication apps like Connecteam let you streamline your daily interactions with individuals or teams, always deliver the right message to the right employees, collect feedback, track the reaction, make sure everyone’s points are heard and considered. With features like group chat, private chat, an employee directory, immediate updates and social posts, you can take your workplace communication to the next level.
7. Offer Diversity Training
Here’s the thing, whether we care to admit it or not, a lot of us have some form of bias that can be unconscious or otherwise. This can be as simple as associating with “like-minded” people or just hiring employees who “fit” the company culture. As a result, to overcome this bias, we need to be aware of its existence and that happens with diversity training.
Whether you send your HR team to a course or hold it in-house, it’s important that all your employees are educated in diversity training to ensure an inclusive workplace.
A Business News Daily article notes that the best “diversity and inclusion training programs should target all employees and address a range of issues, including unconscious bias, microaggressions and cross-cultural communications. Effective training moves beyond simply encouraging employees to tolerate differences to teaching employees how to work well together while embracing diverse perspectives”. Do your research and provide your workplace with a reputable and comprehensive diversity training to make sure employees get the most out of their training opportunity.
Expert Tip: With Connecteam’s training solution, you can deliver training materials by having the option of using existing documents, PDF files, media of any kind, and even web-services like YouTube, Dropbox, Google Drive or your company website. Add a quiz to ensure employees are understanding the content and your online employee training is good to go.
Create Your Diversity Training With Connecteam Employee Training App
8. Create Employee Resource Groups
Employee resource groups (ERG) are used internally to help a company grow and develop their talent pool, making it easier for managers to gain key insights and make more informed decisions. However, it is important that the ERG allows everyone to participate and it isn’t complicated to join.
ERG are employee-led groups that are formed based on specific traits that group members possess. ERGs could be focused on race, gender, religion or any other defining characteristics that group members share.
ERGs can positively affect turnover rates, increase loyalty, encourage organizational goal achievement and even propel productivity rates within the organization.
Expert Tip: Make sure that the ERG has one senior leader to guide the group and that the goals of the group align with the company’s business goals.
Bottom Line On Ways To Boost Workplace Diversity
So as we’ve learned, workplace diversity is a crucial topic in 2021 if you want to build a loyal, capable team that works together as a whole, where every person feels valued and engaged.
We listed eight clever ways that your company can improve employee engagement through more diversity-focused initiatives and processes for your workforce.
Make sure to create workplace protocols that are inclusive and promote workplace diversity. Create open channels of communication where employees with similar interests can chat and engage with each other. Use the right tools and technology to help enhance your internal operations. For example, with an employee management app like Connecteam, you can create live polls or surveys so that your employees know their voices are heard and their opinions are valued. Gain valuable insight from employee feedback to make improvements on your company policies and protocols.
Ensure that management is trained and educated on the benefits of workplace diversity and create a mentorship program for new employees. Make sure your company fosters an open door communication policy, so that all employees feel comfortable communicating with upper management should they need.
Offer diversity training to all employees and resource groups to encourage employees to engage and communicate with one another. It’s essential to remember that your employees must feel that they are heard and that their feedback is invaluable. Start making these changes today to boost happiness and engagement across the board.
Diversify Your Company With Connecteam
Effortless digital diversity training, real-time feedback from employee digital surveys and suggestion boxes, promote positive communication and so much more with Connecteam!