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How to build and empower a diverse workforce

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Diversity is more than a buzzword. It's a business imperative.

Diversity isn't just about hiring people from different backgrounds. It's also about fostering an environment where all employees feel valued and respected, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

That's why it's important for companies to have policies that protect employees against discrimination and harassment — and make it clear that the company won't tolerate such behavior in any form.

But diversity goes beyond protecting employees from discrimination. It can also help companies attract top talent by offering benefits that appeal to a wide range of workers — such as flexible scheduling, paid parental leave, and child care assistance — that many other employers don't offer.

Companies with strong diversity programs often see better results in terms of employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention rates than those without these programs in place.

Diversity, by definition, is the inclusion of people from all walks of life, who can contribute a variety of perspectives and experiences to an organisation. It's also about fostering an environment that celebrates differences while recognising that we all have something to gain from one another.

In today's business world, diversity is the key to success. Companies that seek to embrace diversity, inclusion, and equity (DIE) have a competitive advantage over those that do not.

From a practical perspective, having diverse teams also means employees will be able to better understand their customers because they're able to relate on a personal level with them. This improves customer satisfaction and retention rates which leads to increased sales revenue for your business.

Best practices to design and build a diverse workforce

Diversity and inclusion are a challenge. It requires everyone to step back from their own experiences and perspectives and take a fresh look at the world through the eyes of others. That's hard for all of us, but it's especially difficult for people who have been in leadership positions for years.

The good news is that you can make progress on this issue by focusing on these things:

1. Create a culture of inclusion from the top down

2. Create an environment where everyone feels comfortable taking risks and learning from mistakes

3. Be intentional about diversity and inclusion in your hiring practices

4. Be deliberate about the language you use when communicating with colleagues and clients, especially if you're a leader or manager

5. Ensure there is equal access to high-quality education and training opportunities for everyone, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status

6. Provide opportunities for employees to grow their skills through on-the-job training (OJT) programs, as well as formal training programs that teach new skills such as leadership, communication, collaboration, and problem-solving.

The culture of inclusion

The culture of inclusion is a cornerstone for building a diverse workplace. The culture of inclusion is more than just the right thing to do, it’s strategic, from the boardroom to the cube farm. It’s about creating an environment where everyone can bring their best self to work — no matter who they are or where they come from.

Here are some ways to make sure your office is inclusive:

1. Take advantage of unconscious bias training (included in our Diversity & Inclusion Training). This type of training helps employees understand their own biases, which can be the source of discrimination in the workplace.

2. Create a diverse leadership team that reflects the makeup of your workforce.

3. Make sure there are clear policies regarding diversity and inclusion at all levels of management within your company.

4. Ensure that managers have access to resources so they know how to handle situations like harassment or discrimination if they arise.

5. Supporting people with disabilities by providing reasonable adjustments to help them do their jobs effectively.

6. Make sure that employees feel comfortable reporting concerns around sexual harassment or discrimination (without fear of reprisal).

7. Taking action when someone reports an incident of harassment or discrimination.

In the long run, a company that implements a culture of inclusion will see a rise in productivity and profit. This is because it allows employees to feel safe and secure in their workplace. A happy worker is a productive worker and so if you can keep your employees happy, then you are likely to reap the benefits of this.

Employees who feel included in a company’s culture tend to feel like they belong there. They feel like they have a sense of purpose and meaning when they go to work every day. This makes them happier at work and helps them stay engaged with their jobs for longer periods of time than before when they didn’t feel included in their company’s culture or mission statement.


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