Creating a Diverse Workplace and Workforce

Diversity in the workplace acknowledges that every person can contribute with different ideas and solutions. Diversity has a positive impact on many aspects of an organisation’s performance, it can help attract skilled individual employees and develop the organisation. By working together towards a common goal using different sets of skills, diversity can help increase productivity and deliver better results by encouraging creativity and problem-solving.

Benefits of Diversity in the workplace

Genuine diversity helps to build a stronger brand and create a positive reputation, making the company a more interesting and desirable employer. In supporting and encouraging employees to develop and build professional connections, employers can attract and retain talent. Employing people from different cultures and backgrounds can help you to compete internationally and provide enhanced customer support. A diverse workforce can optimise an organisation’s ability to meet the needs of different markets and increase its global presence. Employee turnover costs will be reduced if people feel comfortable, valued and happy in a workplace with an ethical culture.

An example of the benefit this can have is that gender-diverse companies are 21% more likely to outperform other less diverse ones, and ethnically diverse companies can most likely do better by 33% than their counterparts.

Diversity in workplaces leads to a more profitable working environment and a happier, more innovative workforce. Workplace diversity increases job and life satisfaction for women and members of other minority groups provided the workforce is diverse enough.

Recognising discrimination in recruitment

Discrimination is applied in candidate selection. However, there is a difference between fair and unfair discrimination. Fair discrimination between applicants is based on their performance and aptitudes related to their job performance. Meanwhile, unfair discrimination is discrimination that is not part of the relevant standards.

Unfair discrimination has two primary forms:

Direct, or treating others less favourably due to their ethnic group or gender,

Indirect, or when an employer applies conditions to select groups that considerably harder to meet the requirements.

Diversity increases employee satisfaction and builds positive attitudes and behaviours in the workplace. There are several ways to ensure fairness as the organisation creates a diverse workforce. The first step in recruiting for diversity is to attract a wide range of applicants. This can mean extending your sourcing strategy and building your employer brand. If applications are open and accessible to a broader talent pool, not just a select few people, recruiters can be confident that they are hiring the top talent. Ensuring applicants are treated impartially during the hiring process is essential when recruiting, to both comply with legal requirements and to benefit the organisation

Removing bias in recruitment

A key way to develop diversity within the workplace is to work on the talent pipeline: attracting, developing, mentoring and retaining the next generation of global leaders at all levels of the organisation.

Bias can be removed or minimised through training and awareness, as well as adjusting organisational procedures taking bias out of decision making. Removing bias can eventually lead to increased employee engagement. Companies can create diversity programmes to increase levels of diversity and highlight unconscious bias. Successful diversity programmes have clear objectives and are led by top management.

Fair assessments focus on the requirements of the job and testing the relevant attributes of the applicant, thereby removing human biases. When going through a fair application process, applicants will know that they’ve been hired based on their aptitude and are less likely to have negative feelings towards the organisation if they do not get hired. If there is a diverse panel of people working on a project, objections and alternatives can be explored more efficiently and in different ways, which leads to well-thought-out solutions that can be readily and confidently adopted.

Companies need to be aware that diversity is not the same as inclusion. Employers and organisations need to give the same level of development opportunities, and potential of promotion, to all their employees to maintain an inclusive environment. Diversity in a workplace achieves better performance. Nevertheless, a company must change its culture to be truly diverse and inclusive. The management should support the values and goals of the organisation that promote diversity. Further, these values must be aligned with actual practices, providing equal opportunities to all employees.

Learn more about improving diversity in your workplace with The Paradox of Hiring or by talking to John

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