Why Embracing Diversity in the Workplace is Critical
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) allows organizations to celebrate new ideas, different cultures, and background experiences. But many organizations still struggle embracing diversity in the workplace.
Whether from a lack of support, incomplete knowledge, or pushback from non-inclusive team members, not embracing diversity stands in the way of unlocking the benefits of a diverse workforce.
What benefits, you ask? Well, there’s a whole list of them, such as:
- Larger talent pool – A diverse talent pool brings in more highly skilled employees, allowing you to obtain top talent.
- Improved employee happiness – Employees who feel they belong are happier and healthier (physically and mentally)!
- Higher customer loyalty – Customers want to do business with companies that reflect their ideal, meaning you can capitalize on new demographic sectors.
- Better communication – Comfortable employees aren’t afraid to speak up, allowing for better communication between departments and leadership teams.
Diverse companies can adapt quicker and experience larger profits compared to their non-diverse and non-inclusive counterparts. When everyone feels welcome and valued, they share, contribute, and help solve issues that plague the competition.
Plus, the Millennial generation makes up a significant portion of the workforce. As Forbes reported, almost half of Millennial workers value diversity as a deciding factor when choosing new employment.
Now that you know embracing diversity in your workplace is your competitive advantage, let’s examine several strategies you can take to ensure you celebrate diversity!
7 Strategies for Embracing Diversity in the Workplace
Diversity comes in different forms, such as apparent surface-level diversity like ethnicity, gender, gender identity, and visible disabilities. Likewise, there are deep-level or hidden diversities, such as socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientation, invisible disabilities, neurodiversity, beliefs, and attitudes. Here are some strategies leadership teams can take to ensure they embrace diversity of all kinds.
1. Open the conversation.
The first step in embracing diversity is to open the conversation about what it means to have a diverse and inclusive workplace. Leaders must set the stage and tell team members that DEI is a priority. To accomplish effective conversations, embody an open door policy and encourage new perspectives.
Also, it’s critical to encourage others to ask questions and be open with responses. Invite people to share their stories, experiences, and cultural background. However, it’s essential to be mindful, ask for permission before discussing DEI (some people can be uncomfortable with various subjects), and be a good listener!
2. Develop your team’s inclusive leadership skills.
Executive teams looking to embrace diversity in the workplace must ask some critical questions about those in leadership roles. Do your leaders know to be inclusive? Are they aware of their own implicit biases and how to take action to ensure they’re supporting an inclusive environment?
The answers to these questions can be illuminating. If your leaders don’t know, teach them how to build an inclusive culture. Outstanding leadership is about taking ownership; diversity & inclusion are no different, and your company culture will reap the benefits of managers who develop their inclusive leadership skills.
Inclusive companies incorporate extensive inclusion and diversity training into leadership programs. Let CoachDiversity Institute help you develop healthy DEI practices with our one-on-one executive training designed to provide the skills, knowledge, and resource base of those in leadership roles. Apply today and start learning how to develop your inclusive workplace culture capabilities!
3. Place a focus on accountability and transparency.
Everyone has unconscious biases and blindspots, but leaders have a responsibility to remain accountable and transparent with everyone. Successful leaders of diverse companies keep themselves and their teams responsible for behaviors, actions, and language that reflect non-inclusive and non-diverse workplaces.
Leaders also must be transparent about aligning efforts, implementing initiatives, and recognizing areas of opportunity. Obscuring results or hindering efforts will only result in lower employee engagement, increased employee turnover, and decreased trust. You owe it to your team to encourage transparency with diversity efforts, including encouraging others to speak up and take action against discrimination.
4. Ensure diversity during discussions and decision-making.
Implicit biases and a lack of understanding within a diverse workforce can be detrimental during meetings or other decision-making activities. Underrepresented minority groups, like introverts, those with language gaps, or those with neurodiversity, often struggle during engagements that require confident input.
Inclusive leaders create environments to encourage those with different backgrounds to share. They value and seek out different perspectives and alternative viewpoints and are open to new problem-solving ideas. These leaders even evaluate hiring decisions to ensure the entire recruiting and retention process is inclusive and equitable.
5. Be a vocal ally on the frontlines.
Change only happens when individuals are active and vocal, providing support for allies on the frontline. Embracing a diverse work environment means speaking up when actions, behaviors, or language reflects non-inclusiveness and discrimination. It’s crucial that you act as an advocate for those with diverse backgrounds. For example, you can campaign for LGBTQ and gender diversity through various groups on professional social media platforms like LinkedIn.
The most important part of being a vocal ally is not being afraid to call others out for poor behavior or attitudes. Many impressionable individuals need strong mentoring and a leader who understands the benefits of diversity and works to spread that message, even if it means bruising a misguided ego.
6. Commit to change and upgrade.
Leading diverse teams and embracing diversity in the workplace can be challenging, but it’s critical that you commit to change and not be afraid of introspection. This is the time when you can evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself, where can you improve? It’s not enough to be aware. Inclusive leaders take action to improve workplace culture.
Don’t let change stand in the way of unlocking the benefits of a diverse workplace. CoachDiversity Institute has programs for organizations, including large-group training for any industry. Give us a call today to schedule diversity training for your teams!
7. Hold to empathy as a core value.
You already hold the key to making your DEI efforts successful—it’s empathy. Empathy helps you understand and feel for other people’s experiences and struggles. It creates a connection between different backgrounds with familiar emotions, allowing employees to eliminate misunderstandings.
The trick to mastering empathy starts with embracing what it means to be vulnerable and recognizing that everyone comes from different experiences. Listen with an open mind, always ask for feedback, and be willing to adapt; you’ll be surprised at how receptive your team becomes!
Embrace Diversity in Your Workplace with CoachDiversity Institute
By committing effort to these strategies, you can shift your workplace culture to embrace what it means to be diverse. And the real benefit of these strategies is that they help confront diversity of all kinds; whether surface-level or deep-level, everyone can feel valued.
Of course, you’re not alone, and at CoachDiversity Institute we put expert knowledge and resources at your fingertips to support your workforce in becoming more diverse. CoachDiversity has corporate, non-profit, and government diversity training that helps create environments that embrace diversity. Apply today and start embracing the change!