An increasing number of companies are realizing the benefits of having a diverse workforce. After all, when workplace diversity mimics the diversity of the surrounding community, employees are more likely to feel like they belong and give their absolute best at work. That can lead to more innovation and greater productivity for companies.
But what exactly does “diversity” mean for companies? What does a diverse workforce look like? How do you build a more diverse workplace? And how do you know where to begin?
What is Diversity?
The “diversity” definition in the context of a workplace means having employees of different backgrounds. That includes people of different races, nationalities, cultures, religions, sexual orientation, age, gender, political views, education, and socio-economic background.
Workplace diversity can be thought of as falling into four general categories: internal and external, and organizational and world view.
- Internal diversity refers to characteristics with which people are born, such as their race, ethnicity, and physical ability.
- External diversity refers to characteristics that significantly influence people’s lives, such as education levels, religion, and family status.
- Organizational diversity refers to things such as job function and seniority, which are directly related to people’s roles within their companies. The last kind — worldview — refers to how people experience the world as a result of their past experiences, and includes things like cultural events, political beliefs, and general outlook on life.
Discussions about workplace diversity often stop at the first two categories, internal and external diversity. However, companies that take a broader approach to diversity’s meaning create spaces that are more welcoming for all kinds of people — and the varied talents and skills they can offer.
What Does Diversity Mean for Companies?
Having a diverse workforce isn’t just about caring for the people who make or break your business. In addition to greater innovation and productivity, SCORE.org lists the following benefits to having a diverse company:
- An increased ability to retain employees. People feel happier when they feel like they fit in. That means that employees are more likely to stick around long-term, resulting in rich institutional knowledge and employees who are well-positioned to mentor newer, less seasoned personnel.
- The ability to adapt to changing business needs and challenges. The more diverse your workforce, the more likely someone on your team has encountered the situation before or has the skill set needed to solve the issues at hand.
- An easier time recruiting top-notch job candidates. Having a diverse workforce encourages talent from many different backgrounds to apply. That means a bigger selection of skills sets and expertise to help you fill open positions with the best people for the job.
- Mirror your client population. Your customers and clients are more likely to feel like they’re in the right place if they see employees who share similar backgrounds. Plus, the more diverse your team, the more likely it is there’s someone on it who knows exactly where your client is coming from.
How Can You Support a Diverse Workforce?
Increasing your company’s employee diversity starts with a focus on how you recruit, hire, and retain new talent. ASME.org provides the following suggestions:
- Leverage diverse job boards. Advertising on job boards that serve underrepresented groups is a good way to make it clear that you want to hire them.
- Highlight your commitment to diversity on your website. Drafting a simple statement about your commitment to diversity and placing it on your career page can be a simple way to do this.
- Provide targeted internships to underrepresented groups. Similar to advertising on select job boards, actively recruiting interns from underrepresented groups is an excellent way to build diversity.
- Create an inclusion team. Shifting to a diverse workforce is too big a task for any one person to handle. Consider creating a team in charge of developing and implementing your new hiring policies and processes.
- Provide training for recruiters. Unconscious bias is a reality and can influence your recruiters without them realizing it. Providing training can increase their awareness and reduce its impact on their hiring decisions.
That may sound like a lot of work. If your company has been traditionally homogeneous, the shift to a diverse workforce could take some time and effort. The benefits, however, certainly outweigh the costs.
How Can Diversio Help?
Diversio has data-tested systems that use artificial intelligence and natural language processing to parse survey data into D&I metrics that help you identify the most important areas to focus on for improvement. Once identified, we partner with you to develop a custom strategy to diversify your team.
Our unique technology was developed by a multidisciplinary team of social scientists, diversity advocates, and engineers. It uses natural language processing and matching algorithms to add rigor and accuracy to your diversity & inclusion strategy.
If you’d like to supercharge your workplace diversity efforts, get in touch to book a demo and find out how Diversio can help you.