Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience. If you picked number one or two, welcome to the club. My skin color connects me with my cultural heritage. Diversity educator and expert Dr.
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And yes, these conversations can be both deeply personal and appropriate in the workplace. Some personality conflicts have their origins in unacknowledged differences, for example, and leaders who have the know-how to talk about these issues can help their team members learn to be more empathetic and tolerant of one another.
Good leaders can help the workplace become a more comfortable place for everyone by both listening with empathy and being open to push the discussion further.
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As Muse writer Felicity Barber says in an article on making your workplace more diverse , simply sharing stories with each other—good and bad—can help get that crucial dialogue started. Welcome to the complexity of diversity! One of the most challenging and most rewarding steps any leader can make is learning to notice their own, largely unconscious biases and behaviors—from hiring to managing to decision-making.
Diversity in the Workplace: Seek Similarities First
Know this: Everyone has some level of unconscious bias about something; the skill you want to improve upon is noticing your own and then working to overcome it. For an organization looking to cultivate a more diverse and inclusive workplace, it is important to understand what constitutes workplace diversity. Workplace diversity refers to the variety of differences between individuals in an organization. Diversity not only includes how individuals identify themselves but also how others perceive them.
Diversity within a workplace encompasses race, gender, ethnic groups, age, religion, sexual orientation, citizenship status, military service and mental and physical conditions, as well as other distinct differences between people. There are many benefits to having a diverse workplace.
For starters, organizations that commit to recruiting a diverse workforce have a larger pool of applicants to choose from, which can lead to finding more qualified candidates and reducing the time it takes to fill vacant positions. Businesses that do not recruit from diverse talent pools run the risk of missing out on qualified candidates and may have a more difficult time filling key roles, which increases recruitment costs.
According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor , 67 percent of job seekers said a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers and 57 percent of employees think their companies should be more diverse. These numbers are telling. Not only can organizations fill positions with qualified candidates more quickly by recruiting from different talent pools, but a diverse workforce also benefits their employer brand which is crucial when it comes to getting the right talent.
Having a diverse workforce with multi-lingual employees and employees from varying ethnic backgrounds can also be helpful for organizations who want to expand or improve operations in international, national, regional and local markets. Managing diversity in the workplace presents a set of unique challenges for HR professionals. These challenges can be mitigated if an organization makes a concerted effort to encourage a more heterogeneous environment through promoting a culture of tolerance, open communication and creating conflict management strategies to address issues that may arise.
Before you continue...
For leadership to effectively manage diversity in the workplace, they need to understand their backgrounds and how their behavior and beliefs can affect their decision-making within a diverse environment. Policies, procedures, safety rules and other important information should be designed to overcome language and cultural barriers by translating materials and using pictures and symbols whenever applicable.
Avoid making assumptions about employees from different backgrounds. Diverse work teams let employees get to know and value one another on an individual basis and can help break down preconceived notions and cultural misunderstandings.
Set one standard of rules for all groups of employees regardless of background. Ensure that all employment actions, including discipline, follow this standardized criteria to make sure each employee is treated the same. Look for ways to incorporate a diverse range of perspectives and talents into efforts to achieve organizational goals. To build a diverse workplace, it is crucial to recruit and hire talent from a variety of backgrounds. This requires leadership and others who make hiring decisions to overcome bias in interviewing and assessing talent.
If organizations can break through bias and hire the most qualified people, those with the right education, credentials, experience and skill sets, a diverse workplace should be the natural result.