Diversity is an important part of our society – no matter where you go in the world. Now more than ever, different places are doing what they can to ensure a risk-free and unbiased environment for everyone. This is just as important when it comes to workplace diversity.
Plenty of research and discussions have been had in order to determine the best path forward for businesses looking to embrace diversity. This article aims to help with that, by providing you with the information you need to understand the importance of having a diverse workforce that supports each other and how to promote one.
Why is Workplace Diversity So Important?
There are a number of reasons why diverse groups are critical in the workplace – and it is important to look at why to better promote it in your business.
Raises Cultural Safety
One of the most important is that it promotes cultural safety in the workplace. Cultural safety is about creating an environment where everyone feels safe, respected, and valued. It’s about making sure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed, without feeling like they have to conform to one specific way of thinking or behaving.
Widen Ideas and Skill Sets
In a work environment, it is also important to have diverse ideas and skill sets. When you only have people from one background, chances are they will all have similar ways of thinking. This can lead to groupthink, where people are less likely to challenge the status quo or come up with new and innovative ideas.
Having a diverse group of workers will help combat this, and allow for better brainstorming from many different thought patterns – plus, better brainstorming means better ideas.
A More Productive Workforce
Not only does managing diversity foster creativity and innovation, but it has also been shown to lead to increased productivity in the workplace. A study by McKinsey found that companies with a more diverse workplace were more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.
Higher levels of productivity is sure to be of benefit to everyone at a business – showing that diverse teams can be even more than just good social practice, but also provide a competitive advantage in your industry.
How Can I Promote Diversity in My Workplace?
It’s critical to look at how to best embrace and effectively manage diversity in a work environment. Here are some things you can do to take the steps to workplace diversity.
Understand Cultural Biases
It can be difficult to manage diversity if you don’t know all that much about it. One way to get started is by learning more about your own personal cultural biases, as well as others that exist.
Cultural bias is the judgments or assumptions we make based on our own cultural values and beliefs. We all have them, but being aware of them is an important step in managing diversity because it can help us be more objective when working with people from other cultures.
There are a few different ways you can learn about your own cultural biases. One way is to take an online quiz like the Harvard Implicit Association Test. This test will give you a score that indicates how likely you are to think about issues in a certain way based on your cultural values.
To learn about other cultural biases that differ from your own, you can perform research on industry articles that go into detail on different forms of bias that raise cultural barriers. You can also try attending workshops or taking classes on cultural competence or awareness to learn these different perspectives.
Make Changes to the Work Environment
Once you have a general understanding of the different biases that can exist in the workplace, it’s important to start managing diversity. This means creating an environment where everyone feels safe and respected regardless of their diverse backgrounds.
This starts with setting up guidelines for communication. It’s essential that all team members are able to communicate effectively with one another. This means using language that is respectful and not offensive. You should also be mindful of how you express yourself when discussing cultural topics.
It’s also important to consider the physical space in which work takes place. Are there any images or decorations on the walls that could be seen as offensive? If so, they should be removed or covered up.
Encourage Diversity Training
One way to help employees feel comfortable in the workplace is to encourage diversity training. This can help people learn more about other cultures and how to interact with them respectfully. It’s also a good opportunity for everyone to share their own experiences and perspectives.
When set up in a good environment, having mature and responsible discussions for learning purposes can be very beneficial to building mutual cultural understanding and camaraderie. When you encourage employees in this way, it shows your willingness to make positive change.
Make the Effort to Connect with All of Your Employees
Diversity should be celebrated in the workplace. By making an effort to support diversity, you’ll create a more positive and productive environment for everyone. A simple way to do this is to talk to your employees – but not just to learn different diverse perspectives.
Get to know your employees on a personal level. Ask them about their families, hobbies, and interests outside of work. Showing compassion as well as an interest in their lives while being personable will go a long way to making employees feel valued and appreciated.
Creating and maintaining a diverse workforce is so incredibly important, especially in this day and age. At Ledge, we support diversity in the workplace as we believe it can lead to team and business success – especially if it’s nurtured and managed in an effective manner.
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Please note the information provided here is general in nature and does not constitute financial, tax or other professional advice. You should consider whether the information is appropriate for your needs and seek professional advice prior to making any decisions.