Huge companies often chant about having a diverse working environment, but it is highly important to understand what diversity means. It does not mean having an equal number of male and female employees but what it means is to involve or include people belonging to different social and ethnic groups. Diversity remains a crucial element and even now in 2020, some of the businesses are still working hard to struggle with the concept of diversity.
So, what are the effective ways to educate employees on workplace diversity? These involve training on diversity, diverse leadership, diversity and inclusion as a core value, open discussion on diversity, offering ways to promote diversity, conducting surveys, acknowledging religious and cultural practices, and voting against the unacceptable clauses of NDAs.
There are numerous benefits to having a diverse group of professionals. It means that there will be a wide spectrum of ideas, different opinions, and a different skill set which is going to help the employer to have a more innovative approach towards a single problem. Every individual is going to have a different perspective about a similar thing which means there will be some amazing ideas that can prove to be beneficial for the company.
Let’s take an example of one of the famous chain of coffeehouses, Starbucks. It closed around 8000 shops for racial sensitivity training. This happened after the manager of one of the shops asked two African American men to leave the restaurant because they were not ordering anything. Upon questioning, the men told the manager that they were waiting for their colleague. The manager was not satisfied with the answer and had to call the police which led to a huge backlash for the entire company. At such an event, Starbucks decided to hold a workshop on diversity management.
There are many big names which are concealing the truth with the help of NDAs like harassment, bullying, and workplace toxicity.
Diversity happens at the hiring level, but all the employees should be given training on the value of workplace diversity. It is important to have upper management that not only encourages workplace diversity but accepts the idea with open arms. Good leadership and education can improve the relationship between colleagues belonging to a different social and ethnic group, gender, age, religion, and mental and physical abilities.
So, below mentioned are some of the measures that an employer can adopt to educate their workforce on the importance of diversity.
The talent acquisition team should develop training modules on diversity. These modules should be made compulsory for all the employees working in a company. The training should convey the message that how important it is to have a diverse working culture. The training should also highlight the benefits of having a diverse culture.
Diversity begins at the top level. Having leadership with different ethnicity, age group, different gender will ensure that the diversity trickles down to the employee level too. The leadership team will make sure the company is hiring a diverse group of candidates.
Every company has defined corporate values which are explicitly conveyed to each employee at the time of onboarding. So, add Diversity and Inclusion to your company’s values and practice them. There is no point in having these as your core values if your company does not favor diversity and inclusion. There are huge companies that have D&I as their core value, but they are still biased to their ethnic group when hiring employees, there should be a check and balance for such members.
What happens when the diversity trainings are over? People forget about it and move ahead with their work. So, there should be a check-in place which should remind the employees of workplace diversity. So, having regular quarterly or bi-annual discussions on diversity should be made compulsory.
There are various ways to promote a diverse working environment. For some people, it is hard to accept a diverse group of colleagues, but these challenges can be overcome if the employer wants. By organizing weekly catch-ups, going out for casual tea breaks, or having annual functions can promote diversity. People will meet often outside their working environment, they will get to know each other more, and this way the ice between them will break. They will accept their colleagues who belong to a different ethnic group or gender.
Surveys are the only way if you need honest opinions of your employees about workplace diversity. Roll out a survey and ask employees to fill it anonymously. This way they will give honest reviews because they know no matter what they say, their identity will be kept hidden.
Ask them if they are facing any challenges due to a diverse environment or how workplace D&I is helping them? Once the surveys are in, discuss the outcome with the employees, and work on the shortcomings as a team.
The companies can acknowledge religious practices by paying more attention to religious holidays and celebrations. If you have Muslims working in your company, then keep some halal food in the refrigerator or keep non-alcoholic beverages for them. If a group you recently hired eats non-veg food, then keep your meaty food separate from them.
Grant your employees holidays, if they have to go on a religious pilgrimage or they have to celebrate a religious event with their family. Don’t make a fuss if your employee is going on a week’s holiday just because he has to attend a religious event.
Remember, when the employees feel satisfied and appreciated, they support the employer and stay with the company for a longer time.
There are many limitations of NDAs but one of the biggest is by prohibiting the employees from speaking against the employer. During the onboarding, the employer presents an agreement to the new candidates and it might have a clause which says that no matter what happens, the person is not allowed to raise their voice against the company. If you see something like this do not sign the contract because many companies take advantage of these NDAs to hide their malpractices like harassing or bullying employees, passing racist comments, or bullying employees of different ethnicity.
The companies should not exploit workplace diversity by letting the candidates sign on clauses which are not right ethically and morally.
Having diversity in a workplace means there will be innovation and creativity as each member belonging to a different background will put forward their unique ideas. When everyone will be working comfortably disregarding their skin color, age, or gender, the environment of the company will be stress-free and every individual will work hard to achieve the common goal, which will positively reflect on the outcomes.
1. What is the importance of workplace diversity for employees?
The only way to make your employees feel accepted and valued is through Diversity and Inclusion. Through these values, the employees feel that they are an integral part of the organization, and whatever they do is contributing to the success of the company. So, when your employees are happy and valued, they stay longer with the company. As an outcome, employers with D&I in their workplace will have lower turnover rates.
2. How does diversity impact the productivity of employees?
One of the biggest advantages of workplace diversity is that it improves the morale and engagement of the employee. When employees feel appreciated, their productivity rate is doubled. So, having a diverse team can help in strengthening the brand name in the market.
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