Promoting diversity in the workplace is the first step to building a culture where everyone can thrive. Not only does diversity in the workplace foster belonging and community, but it also is good for business: Companies that promote diversity see larger profit margins, have greater employee retainment rates, and collaborate to cultivate new ideas and innovation.
But promoting diversity in the workplace isn’t as easy as it sounds. In order to truly promote diversity and inclusion at work, companies will have to look inward at their current practices and lead bravely into a culture that celebrates people with different life experiences and backgrounds.
Let’s dive into what diversity in the workplace looks like, strategies to promote diversity at work, and companies that are leading the way.
What does diversity in the workplace look like?
Organizations that promote diversity are more likely to see higher profits, have more engaged employees, and offer innovative products and services to market. But what does that look like?
Often, companies believe that diversity and inclusion at work begin and end with optics. That if enough people look different from each other, then they have done their job at promoting diversity at work.
But people see through this quickly. Folks with different lived experiences, namely people within underrepresented groups, know when true belonging is being fostered at work. Diversity for diversity’s sake doesn’t foster that sense of belonging for everyone, and it’s obvious when companies only focus on optics.
Companies that only focus on diversity optics are more likely to see higher turnover rates and less engaged employees, simply because they see beyond the mirage. Instead, promoting diversity at work must always include a top-down approach. When executives and other leaders find ways to promote diversity and implement them, these systems will live on as a company grows.
Diversity in the workplace looks different for every company. But the organizations that get it right are often the ones that lean into vulnerability, accept realities of unconscious biases, and don’t assume there is a race, gender, or socioeconomic standard for what diversity is and is not.
When identifying whether diversity in the workplace is authentic, look deeper into the systems and processes of the organization. How do they handle conflict? Is their leadership team inclusive and diverse? These are questions to ask when identifying what diversity in the workplace can look like.
Now that we have a better understanding of what diversity in the workplace looks like, let’s get a little deeper into the benefits of diversity in the workplace.
What are the benefits of diversity in the workplace?
Diversity is more than just a “nice to have” in the workplace. It actually enables creativity and allows for innovation and new ideas. If a team consists of people with similar backgrounds, they would likely tackle a problem in similar ways. But by promoting diversity in the workplace, you introduce people with different backgrounds and experiences. In turn, new solutions and ideas combine to maximize creativity and innovation.
The data is there to back it up, too. According to McKinsey, companies that promote diversity and are in the top 25% for racial and ethnic diversity perform 35% higher than the national median average for their industry. A 2018 study concluded companies with a diverse workforce produce 19% more revenue than their counterparts.
Recruiting top talent also keeps companies competitive, especially in today’s job market. When companies promote diversity in their organizations, they’re more likely to attract and retain talent. By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be Millennials, and one-third of Gen-Z and Millennial employees believe their employers should strive to improve society. Because of this, employers need to implement and promote diversity at work.
Diversity in the workplace also fosters Integrative Complexity, which is defined as the ability to consider and combine multiple perspectives and points of view. When colleagues collectively possess integrative complexity, they’re more likely to experience individual creativity and add a unique value to their team.
The ripple effect of diversity in the workplace touches an organization’s operations and its products and services. Often translating to engaged employees and broadening target markets and customers. The benefits of diversity in the workplace touch more than those who interact with the company – it also sets the precedence for other companies who have yet to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Strategies to promote diversity in the workplace
Companies that have not yet prioritized diversity and inclusion at work can implement strategies and practices that will promote diversity in their organizations. Here are some steps leaders can take to implement these new strategies.
- Offer flexible work hours.
- Consider offering onsite daycare for working parents, or a childcare subsidy.
- Allow employees to take off work for religious holidays that aren’t commonly observed.
- Rethink your current office set up, is it inclusive for people with different abilities or do employees have access to gender non-conforming restrooms?
- Create an employee-led task force or employee resource groups for connection and community.
- Offer mentorship programs for employees seeking to be mentored by leaders they can relate to.
These are just a snapshot of some strategies to promote diversity at work. Diversity, equity, and inclusion work demand a thoughtful, empathetic approach. Implementing strategies like the ones above can help your company promote diversity in the workplace.
Companies that promote diversity
There are some companies that have paved the way for diversity and inclusion at work. Executives and C-Suite leaders can learn a lot from the policies, practices, and heart-centered approach to diversity these companies have taken.
According to Fortune, Microsoft was the leading company in diversity, equity, and inclusion metrics in 2021. The tech giant offers onsite daycare, has staff-led employee resource groups, and many policies and practices in place that promote diversity.
AboveBoard connects senior executives to exclusive leadership roles at today’s leading high-growth companies and organizations. AboveBoard expands access to career opportunities and resources for underrepresented groups of executives, including Black, Latinx/Hispanic, and women.
This biotech company has over 7000 employees and has been named the #1 place to work for people with disabilities. 51% of the management team are women and 30%.
Gap ranks as one of the most inclusive places for women to work. With over 125,000 employees, the company’s VP-level and executive team is 58% women. Gap was featured as a top employer for the 2020 Human Rights Campaign.
Whether they’re on the S&P 500 list, or a startup looking to promote diversity everywhere, these companies make it their mission to see a collective, diverse workforce consisting of people who can connect, create, and learn together.
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Partner with us today and get started on promoting diversity in your workplace.