How to Promote Diversity in the Workplace


Tracy Givens

Oct 15, 2022


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Human Resources

Promoting diversity is an excellent place to begin if you want to keep your employees engaged and focused.

When you have a diverse talent pool to draw from, you'll gain unique perspectives and make employees feel as if everyone has a fair shot. Assuming that your company encourages workers to use their voices—another key strategy—bringing cultural diversity into the work environment will benefit everyone.

Defining Diversity in the Workplace

Diverse team

At its core, diversity is a simple concept. It means bringing people together with different perspectives on life-based on personal experiences.

This could mean many different things. Perhaps they've traveled a long way to settle in your hometown, even speaking another language (or several). Or maybe they had a nontraditional education and can offer unique feedback based on what they learned. Whether the differences are religious, gender-based, or otherwise, they can all contribute to diversity in your workplace.

Of course, talking about the importance of a diverse workforce is one thing. Creating a culture that actually supports the concept can be quite another. If you manage to pull it off, you'll be rewarded with greater creativity, faster problem-solving, and a more innovative and confident workforce overall.

How To Promote Diversity in the Workplace

Now that you understand the importance of the concept, what can you do about it? Here are some tips on how to promote diversity in the workplace.

1. Educate Your Managers

Did you know that poor relations with management are one of the main reasons employees quit their jobs? You can help to sidestep this landmine by educating the people you select for leadership roles.

A good manager should do more than just keep workers in line. They're also there to provide support and to make employees feel safe. During management training, stress the importance of creating and maintaining a diverse workforce.

Make sensitivity training a part of your routine. There's always a chance that someone might harbor unconscious biases that affect their attitude in subtle ways. You should also encourage employee feedback—if anyone feels uncomfortable for whatever reason, they need to speak up. Otherwise, the issue will remain buried.

Most importantly, try to promote from within whenever possible. That way, your management team will reflect the diversity that your company embraces on every level.

2. Create Inclusive Policies

Diversity & Inclusion

Speaking of unconscious biases, you might have policies that could be alienating members of your workforce without your knowledge. The following strategies can help you create a more inclusive work environment.

  1. Allow employees to take time off for religious or cultural holidays that might not be on the company calendar
  2. Offer on-site child care
  3. Make sure workers have access to non-gendered restrooms
  4. Offer flexible work schedules
  5. Post job openings in a variety of places, including outreach programs and job fairs
  6. Have a translation feature in your mobile workforce app

It goes without saying that the Federal EEOC should approve your business as an equal opportunity employer (EEO). If it's not, now is the time to ensure that you meet those standards to gain their approval.

Although knowing how to attract customers from competitors is a useful tool to have in your arsenal, understanding how to promote diversity in the workplace through your policies—and not merely your words—is just as important.

3. Foster Strong Communication

This is a critical point even if you don't yet have the diverse team you're aiming for. It's vital to encourage clear communication, but just as important to follow up and ensure that everyone's voices were heard. That's the only way to ensure your initiatives work as you intended.

Every employee should feel safe enough to approach management with any concerns. This includes, but is not limited to, concerns about their treatment based on their race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or age.

Managers must also keep their communication clear and basic, using inclusive language (such as preferred pronouns). They should refrain from making assumptions until they have all the information.

You might even consider creating a task force that regularly asks for feedback instead of waiting for workers to approach management. At that point, the problem may have already escalated past the point of repair. The key is to be proactive on every possible level.

4. Offer Opportunities for Employee Engagement

Diverse Team work

Help your employees engage with company culture by creating programs encouraging them to forge stronger bonds. If your business operates in multiple locations, offer "field days" that allow them to travel to another spot. That way, they'll meet co-workers that they wouldn't ever see in person otherwise. The trips will also give them a more comprehensive outlook on the organization.

Another way to make employees feel as if they're part of a larger work family is to have them volunteer together. Create pulse surveys to find out how your workers prefer to spend their free time and whether any of them volunteer regularly. You can organize a company-wide "Give Back To The Community" day, or something similar, based on their feedback.

5. Celebrate Accomplishments

If you don't have a company email newsletter or blog, now is the time to create one. In the publication, include information about any team member who's successfully managed a certain project and details about how they achieved their goal. In addition to making employees feel valued, this will encourage their co-workers to put their own talents to work.

You can also share photos and videos about certain cultural holidays or events celebrated by your team members. They're sure to appreciate the effort, and you'll educate the rest of the workforce.

The Bottom Line

When you understand how to promote diversity in the workplace, it will make it easier for you to implement programs that will benefit all levels of the organization. Focusing on the employee experience will reward you with a stronger and more productive workforce.
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