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6 Ways to Manage Diversity in the Workplace

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6 Ways to Manage Diversity in the Workplace

You’ve made the rounds to ensure your children are fast asleep. It’s Christmas Eve and you grab a hammer, a flashlight, and a cup of steaming coffee, then head to the backyard to finish playing the role of Santa. He’s bringing your kids a swing set complete with a twisting yellow slide, three swings, and a ladder that leads to the tallest tower, the highest mountain, the secret lair, or whatever else exists within your child’s imagination. Tonight, you have the joy of quietly building what is sure to be a successful gift. But could you imagine staring at hundreds of pieces of a swing set without an instruction manual? You might feel overwhelmed, unsure of how to tackle this daunting task. Maybe you feel frustrated that you have everything you need, but lack direction. Maybe you just feel cold. 

If your company is the backyard and a diverse team is the swing set, we don’t want you to feel discouraged as you picture what could be but are unsure how to move forward. There is too much at stake—too many successes, opportunities, and personal enrichment waiting. You have a diverse team, now it’s time to build it so that everyone can enjoy its benefits. To help you get started, we’ve listed six ways you can manage diversity and build a company culture of inclusivity. 

1. Expand Your Definition of Diversity 

Diversity is not limited to race. Your company can only reap the rewards of a diverse team if it includes people of different cultures, religions, genders, education levels, physical abilities, and ages. Problem-solving, innovation, increased profits, and company reputation are just a few of the benefits of having a diverse staff.

2. Establish Policies that Support Diverse Groups

Consider the needs of your employees and establish policies that support them and make your company more appealing to recruits. For example, offering on-site childcare or flexible hours may be extremely beneficial to men and women with young children. Take time to explore your company’s health care benefits and decipher whether or not it alienates a certain group of people on your staff. Analyze your physical workspace to determine if it’s inclusive to all men and women or if the environment is prejudicial to certain people. Determine ways you can adjust your communication to avoid ostracizing any team member. Finally, ensure that everything from your physical space to your employee forms supports your diverse team. 

3. Participate in Diversity Training

There are two types of diversity training. The first is awareness training that expresses the importance of diversity and the benefits diversity has in the workplace. While it may seem obvious, even the most inclusive person has to address their unconscious bias. And even though most people are supportive of diversity, they may be unsure about how to live it out. Which is when the second form of training is key. Skills training reduces prejudices and practically teaches your team how to be more inclusive. 

4. Overcome Unconscious Bias

Unconscious or implicit bias is a prejudice that you’re not aware of. Unconscious bias still impacts your decision making and affects your behavior. This is why it is crucial to uncover, acknowledge, and overcome your unconscious bias. In most cases, unconscious bias began to build after a singular event or encounter you had with someone of a certain gender, age group, race, or other classification. We even develop unconscious bias from spoken or unspoken beliefs passed down from our parents. For everyone to thrive within your company, everyone needs to work towards overcoming their unconscious bias.  

5. Examine Your Corporate Culture

As you build a healthy diverse culture in your company, you may want to explore each area of this definition of corporate culture from BusinessDictionary. It states that corporate culture is expressed in: 

(1) the ways the organization conducts its business, treats its employees, customers, and the wider community,

(2) the extent to which freedom is allowed in decision making, developing new ideas, and personal expression,

(3) how power and information flow through its hierarchy, and

(4) how committed employees are towards collective objectives.

Find out if there are any areas you need to improve to successfully promote diversity. 

6. Create a Positive Work Environment 

It’s no secret that a positive work environment leads your employees to work harder and faster while increasing retention and company loyalty. If your company is an enjoyable place to work, it’s easier to recruit and reduce turnover. Pair that information with the fact that 67% of job seekers look for diversity when considering a potential employer, and you’re convinced that building a team of diverse men and women who like working together is critical. 

If it’s time to train your company’s leaders to take diversity and inclusivity seriously and give them practical tools that will increase communication, motivation, and build a company culture you’re proud of, contact Front Line Leadership today. 

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