We hear a lot about the importance of diversity in the workplace, but what does this mean in practical terms?
When a workforce is diverse, your employees are varied in age, culture, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and physical ability. Having a diverse workforce does not mean that all your employees need to be dramatically different, it simply means that there should be a variety of people working for you from all walks of life.
A diverse workforce is a critical aspect of every workplace not only does it help prevent discrimination, but it can also bring a host of benefits to your organisation. For instance, a diverse workforce will bring people with different life experiences into the fold, and this can generate creativity, skills, and ideas across the board.
For businesses that want to reach a global audience, a diverse workforce is essential for success and can help you build relationships with a broader group of people, you can also improve your recruitment efforts by attracting a wider talent pool.
You may be eager to increase diversity within your workplace but don’t really know where to start, so here are some helpful tips for promoting and implementing diversity in your workplace.
Managers must not just think about diversity as a ‘buzz’ word or a current trend. It is important that they understand the value of diversity, and therefore diversity training is essential.
Furnish them with information on how a diverse team can benefit them as well as the organisation. Equip them with the tools to recruit and empower a diverse team of individuals. Hiring Managers can often affect the ability of a company to retain employees, so they can play a huge part in encouraging and promoting diversity.
Diversity training can cover many topics such as how to use inclusive language effectively, discovering your unconscious bias and understanding intercultural differences.
Whether or not you are legally required to report on the gender pay gap, you must pay attention to how you are compensating and promoting both men and women. You can improve diversity by levelling any differences in this area and this can help you to become a leader within your industry. At Sitka we know from experience that candidates are attracted to companies that are diverse and fair. If you ensure employees are paid and promoted based on their skills and expertise, rather than their gender or any other factor, it can help improve your employer brand and reputation.
Designing your physical workplace for inclusion is another step towards improving diversity. It may include widening doors and hallways, creating quiet spaces, and environmental controls. Candidates with a disability – whether visible or not – attending an interview will feel more comfortable and immediately valued if you have created a space that accommodates their needs. The addition of gender-neutral toilets is another way to improve your workplace design. An inclusive workplace design is often not considered by employers, but it is a crucial step towards improving diversity and eradicating discrimination.
It’s human nature to gravitate towards people who are like us and share our interests. However, this is one of the ways you end up with a workforce of people with similar backgrounds and outlook on life.
Of course, it is vital that employees feel comfortable with the organisational culture, but that does not mean you shouldn’t consider diversity when hiring new employees. It is a good idea to ensure that you have at least two staff members with different backgrounds conducting interviews and try and mix it up as much as possible, this way you will end up with a more diverse team that complement each other is a positive way.
Structuring holidays in a way that recognises different cultures and religions is an imperative aspect of promoting diversity. It is not considered often enough, and it can make some employees feel that they are excluded. For instance, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, they do not celebrate Christmas. They may prefer to take their holidays then instead of during the Christmas period.
Incorporating other celebrations is one way to promote an inclusive workplace. Not only this, but it could also help support business operations. Many companies close entirely during Christmas, this might not be necessary if you have a diverse workforce, with a mix of cultures and religions.
Reviewing your workplace policies to ensure they promote diversity is a very worthwhile exercise. This may include looking at your recruitment policies. For example, ensuring that your job adverts target a broad audience by advertising across a wide spectrum of resources, including job fairs, outreach programmes and recruitment agencies. You may also want to consider avoiding ageism in your adverts and job descriptions. For instance, if you are asking for 15 years’ experience, you may be seen to be suggesting that younger people should not apply. Similarly, asking for a ‘recent graduate’ would be discriminative towards older workers.
Your policies may also include flexible working options and job share opportunities. These seemingly small steps but they can make a significant difference in improving diversity in your own workplace.
My experience of working with Sitka was very professional from start to finish. In particular, I was impressed by the personal touch, being contacted before and after the interview process even if just to say ‘good luck’.
Sitka offered a more thorough, personal and detailed search for candidates than we have experienced with any other recruitment agencies we have used previously.
I had an excellent experience working with Sitka. They provided a far more personal approach than most recruitment companies, and they were very proactive in helping me find my new job.
The recruitment process was a very smooth one with constant, non-intrusive updates. We benefited greatly from a personalised visit to our business, ensuring the right candidates were sourced for us. We received an excellent service.
The whole recruitment process, led by Karen, was a really engaging and positive experience. I can honestly say it was the best interview I have ever had!
Throughout the process, they kept us informed and the whole process felt like a true partnership. Each candidate came to the interview with a great understanding of our business and had prepared thoroughly, particularly at the second stage interviews.