In many cities and towns across the U.S., workplaces are becoming more diverse, and employers have to learn new strategies for increasing and promoting diversity within the workplace. If you are an employer who is trying to come up with a few ways to promote workplace diversity within your company, take these following four steps into consideration. You might find yourself and your employees able to build off of them at your next company meeting.
1. Accept That There are Differences
The first step employers need to take is to recognize and accept that there are differences between everyone who works or wants to work for their company. Take a page out of Google’s book. Google and other major companies have gone on record and admitted that their workforces are lacking in diversity and that they fully intend to change this.
What are some of your hiring policies? Are they truly inclusive? Start asking yourself some of these difficult but important questions and record your answers. You can even put feelers out there to your employees by sending out a simple survey, asking them to anonymously provide feedback on how diverse they think the workplace really is.
2. Emphasize the Value of Diversity
The next crucial step is to emphasize the importance of embracing diversity in the workplace. As a higher-up, you get to lead by example. Enroll yourself and your employees in some diversity training. You can keep it simple to start off with by taking Harvard’s Implicit Association Test, which is open for anyone to take. Sometimes, we just aren’t aware of any underlying biases we have and need a third-party perspective to point this out to us so that we can work on changing our attitudes.
3. Seek New Perspectives
Now that you are aware of your company’s need for diversity and own internalized biases, you can start seeking out new ideas, beliefs, backgrounds, and perspectives. This creates more productive and meaningful business relationships. Once you have established an atmosphere of open and honest communication that embraces cultural differences, employees will likely feel more compelled to remain working at the company. You will also likely attract more highly-qualified, high-quality employees who want to work in a culturally diverse workplace that will embrace their unique backgrounds and ideas.
4. Observe Traditions and Holidays From Multiple Cultures
This is one of the more difficult steps for companies to take, especially due to the fact that traditions and holidays are often religiously and spiritually sensitive subjects. This is why a lot of companies steer clear of “Christmas” and opt for “holiday” greetings and decor. However, taking this approach still sometimes inadvertently neglects cultural diversity and just streamlines culture.
Once you feel you and your company are ready to take the leap, try observing holidays and traditions from various cultures around the world? You can add in Oktoberfest, Rosh Hashanah, and Eid Al-Fitr, for starters.
Additionally, it is important to recognize different dietary needs of your employees. Many employees show up at holiday parties only to find that there are few or no food and drink options for them. Offering vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and other dietary options can help employees feel more welcome and included.
These four steps are just the beginning of your company’s journey into greater workplace diversity, but they are absolutely crucial to take. You can stay true to your company’s ethics and objectives while becoming more diverse. Even if you see your company as already being pretty diverse, it does not hurt to take a time-out in order to consider whether or not your employees would agree with you and to consider getting their input.