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8 Ways To Improve Diversity In The Workplace

Diversity has been a hot topic in recent years. Large corporations and public institutions have been encouraged to call time on stereotypes and discriminations, even publishing their diversity statistics online. Facebook, an employer of 35,587 people, recently published their statistics. The company shared in a post saying that, since 2014, the number of black women at the company has grown by 25 times and the number of black men at the company has grown by 10 times. They’ve also been heralded as one of the best places to work for disability inclusion.

So, what can the rest of us learn from the likes of Facebook? How can we cultivate more inclusive workplaces?

 

1. Remember that diversity is more than race

In order to avoid the assumption that diversity is simply about race, we need to examine cognitive diversity – the understanding that diversity is not just about gender, ethnicity or age. Cognitive diversity means the inclusion of all different personality types, backgrounds, and socio-economic variants. Rather than seeking to fill quotas or targets based purely on ethnic minorities or genders, companies need to become more open to interviewing people from a variety of walks of life.

 

2. Use the right language in job ads

As it turns out, the wording we use is highly effective in encouraging or discouraging people from applying for jobs. A recent experiment featured 11 job adverts which received a total of 319 applicants – only 8.5% of those applicants were female. The experiment concluded that wording in the job application was deterring women from applying and the company sought to remedy it.

 

3. Promote flexibility

As mentioned above, there are inclusions that can be made in job advertisements which encourage a more diverse range of applicants. As part of the findings from the aforementioned experiment, flexibility was deemed to be a key element in encouraging more female applicants. Allowing women to return to work or continue working after having children increases the likelihood of improving diversity from a gender angle.

 

4. Improve organisational culture

How inclusive is your work environment? As an employer who wishes to improve diversity in their workplace, it might be worth considering gauging what your current staff think about the level of diversity and inclusiveness that currently exists. Are there divided groups or teams who aren’t welcoming? Does a high staff turn over lead to a homogeneous culture by proxy? Examine your internal space before you start recruiting externally.

 

5. Provide training

If, as a result of focus groups or staff surveys, you find that your work environment isn’t very inclusive or open to change, it’s time to implement some training. Diversity training helps staff and managers to understand the many benefits of having a diverse workforce, encouraging them to create a more welcoming environment.

 

6. Share the decision-making process

One of the reasons that many companies don’t realise they have a diversity issue is because a diverse group are not involved in the decision-making process. By including a cognitively diverse range of staff in the conversations around new policies and processes, diversity itself will start to become second nature. Plus, by empowering a diverse team allows for insights from different cultures, walks of life and backgrounds.

 

8. Recruit far and wide

Especially for more isolated or rural companies, expanding the recruitment net a little further may vastly improve the diversity of applicants. Focus advertising efforts and digital campaigns a little further afield to encompass more diverse geographical areas.

 

8. Measure it

The only way to know how well you’re doing in anything is to measure your progress. Just as one might implement KPIs for campaigns, budgets, sales calls etc, KPIs can be set for increasing diversity within a workplace. By making it a focus, improvements will be made much more efficiently. Measure against other companies and pioneering institutions – like Facebook, Gap Inc or Accenture PLC.

 


 

Diversity is not a destination. It’s an ongoing process that will continue to develop, fluctuate and require attention at different times in a business’s lifespan. By making an inclusive and diverse culture one of the foundational pillars of their business ethos and conduct, companies will ensure that improving their diversity statistics is a proud part of their culture.

Neither is diversity solely an issue for management. It’s a staff issue; staff should also be encouraged to examine diversity as a concept and be instrumental in the inclusive and welcoming organisational culture within their department, team or workplace. By working together, diversity can hopefully become a non-issue.

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Ed Trippier

Ed Trippier has been working in journalism and content production for ten years. As a former digital production editor at The Time of London, he has a wealth of experience across both news and features. He has written on a wide range of topics, including travel, health, technology, culture and business.

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