Expanding diversity in the workplace

Diversity in the workplace has been an ongoing issue in American society since the beginning. Workplace diversity is the acceptance and inclusion of all employees regardless of their race, religion, background, sexual orientation, etc. Since the resurgence of the diversity movement in 2020, employers and employees have put a major emphasis on inclusion in the workplace.

It is crucial now, more than ever, to have a strong, diverse workplace. A study shows that 67% of all prospective employees deem diverse work environments one of the most important factors when choosing a job. This is especially true for millennials as they make up most of the current workforce. According to data from a Deloitte survey, 75% of all millennials in the workforce stated that they believe a diverse workplace is more innovative than not, and go even further to say that they would leave a job if the diversity in that particular workplace was not up to par.

With that being said, businesses must implement diversity into their workplace if they want to be successful. If companies want fresh, talented employees, they need to be all inclusive.

Here are three simple tips on how businesses can promote and implement diversity in their work environment:

Implementing new hiring tactics: Reforming the way that employers hire new employees is a fantastic start to including diversity in the workplace. Roughly, about 80% of job opportunities are never posted online to sites such as Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, etc. Usually, open job positions are filled by internal hires or referrals. If most of your employee base is of one demographic, it is very hard to diversify when all of your prospects know each other and are from the same background. The truth of the matter is that most people’s networks are homologous, making it extremely difficult to diversify your workplace by hiring in this way.

Posting your hiring positions online broadens up the type of people applying to the position. With this new broad audience, an employer is more likely to find an array of applicants from various backgrounds to fill a position.

Offering diversity training – but not forcing it: This may seem counterintuitive, however, a study published by the University of Toronto in August 2007  shows that forcing employees to participate in diversity training can actually affirm previous biases against minorities, versus when they are not forced to partake in the training.

Have you ever been forced to do something and end up resenting it due to the lack of choice? It seems as though everyone has at some point. Allowing staff to choose whether or not they partake in these training seminars changes their mindset from ¨something they have to do¨ to ¨something they want to do.¨ Of course, you can strongly recommend that they participate in the training sessions, but making it a requirement takes away the employee’s freedom to do as they choose.

If you are looking to increase diversity levels and minimize bias in the workplace, creating voluntary diversity training will give your employees their freedom to hold an opinion, while also decreasing biases at the same time. Doing these sessions multiple times during the year will invoke positive actions and attitudes towards diversity and spark change within the workplace.

Creating diverse policies in the workplace: By creating more diversity-friendly policies for employees, you open your company up to many different types of people, ranging in age, race, gender, religion and more!

Most workers in America have off from work on the biggest holiday of the year: Christmas. However, Christmas is not celebrated by everyone. In fact, according to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau, about 7 million Americans celebrate Hanukkah, 44 million celebrate Kwanzaa and 23.2 million celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.

This does not even scratch the surface of other diverse holidays that are not given time off in the workplace. Understandably, we cannot all take off from work for every single holiday during the year but allowing employees to choose which holidays they take off would be inclusive for everyone, despite their background.

Furthermore, the addition of policies such as daycares for employees who are working mothers or ramps and elevators for the disabled, would promote inclusivity of everyone and allow for talented, hard-working people to be able to work for you that you may not have had the chance to include before.

In brief, the lack of diversity in the workplace is a multi-faceted issue that cannot be solved in a day, but actively taking the steps to improve working conditions for employees of all types is the first step to a better, inclusive future.