People who manage people want to nurture an inclusive work environment, and yet many business owners and organisations struggle to implement effective strategies that achieve the result they’re looking for.
Below, we’ll outline in detail what exactly is workplace diversity and how you can implement a highly effective strategy, so your workplace becomes truly inclusive while operating on a mutual understanding based on respect and kindness.
What is workplace diversity?
Workplace diversity refers to creating a workplace environment that is equitable and inclusive – in other words, an environment where everybody feels like they are welcomed, valued, respected, and part of the same team.
Companies with workplace diversity make a conscious effort to employ a wide array of individuals, including people of different ages, races, religions, political views, cultural backgrounds, sexual identities, education levels, genders and more.
How to build an effective workplace diversity strategy
Below is your guide to developing a strategy that ensures workplace diversity stays integral to your entire operation.
First, your recruitment process needs to be appealing and inclusive to all. Here are some tips:
- Advertise job positions in ‘diverse job’ locations. This may include making a conscious effort to advertise on places other than just Seek, Indeed, or your website. It can include places such as universities, schools, and lesser-known job boards specifically tailored to different job seekers such as disability employment services.
- Highlight diversity, equity and inclusion on your company’s website, and anywhere else your company promotes its branding and values.
- Have all hiring managers undertake unconscious bias awareness training and have them uncover their unconscious biases.
- Have a diverse interview panel, this will allow your organisation to work towards equity and fairness.
Next, the only way to truly manage a diverse and inclusive workplace is to not only promote it as a value but to incorporate it as a practice. Here are some tips:
- Create diversity-friendly policies, which could include policies promoting flexible schedules, extra leave options, and running recreational activities. This will also include making sure the benefits you provide to existing employees are fair to all.
- Set up a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) Working Group – organisations have an array of experience, skills, and knowledge amongst their employees. Encourage those interested to form a working group to lead, manage and support DE&I in your organisation.
- Introduce DE&I training – train your employees to recognise and address DE&I issues arising at work.
- Establish a mentor system, whereby one person acts as a mentor to another with the aim of helping them identify, address and practice diversity at work every day.
- Have managers undertake inclusive leadership training and promote the six Cs of an inclusive leader in the workplace. An inclusive leader is committed, courageous, conscious of bias, culturally aware, curious, and collaborative.
There is no use in having a diversity strategy if nobody knows about it. You should also make a conscious effort to promote your DE&I work, both internally within your organisation and externally. Here are some tips:
- Organise events that specifically celebrate differences between one another, including the celebration of different holidays (for example, Diwali, Chinese New Year, or Hannukah) and identities (such as those who identify as LGBTQI, and people with different cultural backgrounds)
- Promote your values through marketing, including on your website, in print, and also through internal communication channels.
- Support and encourage staff to volunteer at different organisations that work to serve more underprivileged members of the community.
Learn more from a diversity expert
Cherry Pennycuick is a Diversity Coach who has been managing high-performing teams and implementing Diversity Strategies in various organisations for over 20 years.
Cherry’s consulting practice helps individuals, businesses and organisations understand how to implement DE&I strategies across their workplace, so they embrace the benefits of leading a diverse team full of highly effective people.