It may come as a surprise that, to this day, diversity is not common in some companies, but here are some facts to consider when introducing diversity.
- A woman earns 80.7 cents for every dollar a man earns.
- 57% of workers think their company needs to be more diverse.
Diversity has taken the HR sector by storm, and most companies acknowledge the importance of a diverse workforce. However, it has its challenges. With employees working for 35 hours a week, in close vicinity to each other, conflicts are inevitable to arise and without a little consciousness on your side, workplace diversity can add to the flames.
Challenges of a diverse workforce
- Communication problems
With a diverse workforce, communication between employees can get challenging. For many team members, English may not be their first priority. Language barriers mean problems in effectively communicating and understanding each other. Inability to understand instructions can lead to a major drop in productivity and team efficiency.
Also, employees may fail to understand one another if the difference in demographic leads to the use of slang and other languages. Younger employees may use technical terminologies or slang that older employees may not be familiar with. Or women may use polite words and no swear words that could lead to misunderstanding.
- Multiple opinions
With people from different backgrounds and experiences, companies may have different options in dealing with a scenario. But an excessive number of opinions can cause failure to conclude. Innovative ideas may sometimes get ignored in the wide list of ideas.
Humans decide biasedly instead of focusing on logic and facts. This is also practiced in the workspace; employees’ decisions are mostly based on unconscious biases, regardless of their intentions. Distrust can cause doubt about one another’s ability to work and give their best.
- Diversity implementation problems
Forming a diverse workforce looks great on paper, but implementing it can be tough. Though many diversity guides are available, you don’t have a one-size-fits-all diversity plan. Hence, you need a different approach for different teams.
Driving diversity is the duty of managers and seniors. 38% of executives reported that the major enforcing body of diversity and inclusion is the CEO. How can the employees move in that direction if the CEO doesn’t form a diverse and inclusive environment?
The issue is that 41% of managers submitted being very busy implementing diversity policies. They don’t have enough time to deal with time-consuming operations with their own things to manage.
- Retaining poor talent
If your diversity goal is to hold onto a diverse workforce, then it is also important to focus on their performance. With too many bad performers, there will be a fall in productivity, creativity, and morale.
In addition to maintaining a diverse workforce, it is equally important to retain good talent, not just everyone.
8 tips for managing a diverse workforce and overcoming the challenges
To manage the challenges mentioned above, here are some best practices for managing a diverse force from HR experts:
- Stop considering diversity a buzzword
HR has too many buzzwords, but diversity shouldn’t be treated as one. Too many companies become victims of superficial labor to boost diversity. Programs can be a great start, but they are kind of temporary.
Rather aim to develop a diverse and inclusive company and work on its policies daily, just as the sales team works for leads and accounting to keep finances in check.
- Use diversity as a part of your hiring practice
Developing a diverse company from scratch needs time. Audit your hiring practices to ensure you interview a diverse number of applicants.
Ensure the recruitment officers don’t just hire candidates that remind them of themselves. If you wish to obtain a serious approach to developing a diverse company, critically focus on your hiring process.
- Develop connections to form talent pipelines
It is essential to develop internal talent pipelines for your company to ensure you have standardized your hiring process and aim to create a more inclusive workplace culture.
To create a diverse pipeline, companies should look beyond their walls. They can reach out to educational institutes, women’s colleges, and LGBTQ centers to find plenty of diverse talent candidates and expand their base.
- Align leadership with your objectives
Managing workspace diversity can be tough. But, without buy-in from leadership, it is a lost cause.
As you address diversity issues in your company, ensure leadership is onboard with your objectives. If the leadership doesn’t support the plan, it will fail. Also, leadership initiatives, actions, and behavior serve as an example for all organizational levels and set the tone for what the employees need to do.
- Assess the company’s policies regularly to combat systemic inequality
Forming an inclusive company takes effort. But regardless of the actions a company takes, it is essential to know that the policies may sometimes direct to systemic inequality.
Workspace practices, systems, and procedures can unsuitably affect the minority population. The deal with it, audit the policies periodically.
Ensure that the family-leave policies support LGBTQ parents and other couples. Distant work policies are also a consideration to work toward an inclusive workplace. It serves as an opportunity for employees with known and unknown disabilities.
- Develop a forgiving and empathetic culture
Like any other procedure in a company, there will be hurdles with inclusion and diversity. But, it is not a big deal. Everyone has to learn to deal with it.
Leaders should know when to admit mistakes and motivate others to do it. A leader should know how to bring out the best in someone.
Ultimately the goal is to unlock the potential in employees by drafting leadership policies to meet their needs and empathize with them. Customize leadership policies that meet the needs of the employees and foster a culture of forgiveness and acceptance in the company.
It will pave the way for better problem solving, higher employee interaction, deep employee engagement, and much more.
- Know your blind spots
Leaders should recognize their blind spots when thinking of their employees’ and employees’ experiences. Maybe a leader always uses the wrong pronouns when referring to their workforce.
But, what’s essential here is that leaders should know their blind spots and work towards them. The last stage is knowing the actions to develop an all-inclusive environment.
- Conduct diversity coaching programs
Though more and more people are becoming aware of the significance of diversity, it doesn’t come naturally. Most employees and leaders can have unconscious biases. Therefore it is essential to offer coaching to help develop diversity within your workforce.
Diversity coaching programs cover the importance of diversity, how to get rid of unconscious bias, reduce prejudice, and be more inclusive. Diversity coaching programs aren’t just about supporting diversity but also about creating a shift in the mindset. It stimulates coachees to understand themselves better, their colleagues, team, and workspace and to be inclusive and support of everyone on the team.
uExcelerate has developed a robust DE&I Coaching Program to help organizations develop diversity, equity and inclusion within the organization. The coaches at uExcelerate have the expertise to deliver the best diversity coaching program that can be customized and aligned with the company goals. uExcelerate offers one-on-one coaching, team coaching and group coaching to help leaders, managers, and employees accept a positive and diverse workplace culture. The program focuses on consistent learning and development to ensure all members grow equally and foster inclusion by dealing with the challenges. Reach out to us at [email protected] to learn more.