True corporate diversity is based on recognizing that all employees bring their unique differences to the workplace. Unless you effectively manage diversity, you will not be able to capitalize on the full potential of your workforce – or survive under increasingly complex and competitive business conditions.
Your impetus for diversity initiatives must come from awareness of the business implications as you use them to accomplish both individual and corporate goals. First and foremost, address the needs of your employees and be sure your needs, mission and vision are aligned with theirs. Only then can you satisfy competitive demands and fulfill the requirements of your company’s role in the larger community.
Best Practices in Diversity Strategy
It’s imperative that you provide your employees with the right skills for operating in a work environment where they understand their own as well as others’ cultures. Best practices include:
- Training and education: Fulfill your company’s needs for awareness building and helping employees to understand the need to value diversity. Provide skills and development activities that enable diverse groups to work together and do their jobs. Support is critical. The benefits of training will be threatened unless participants return to a supportive environment for applying what they’ve learned.
- Policies: Your corporate policies, procedures and practices must mandate fairness and equity.
- Outreach: Implement internships, partnerships and other programs that target recruitment in the community and involvement at area schools and universities.
- Evaluation: A clearly focused evaluation plan can bring your organization to a place where it can see success and make the changes necessary to achieve and sustain it. Conduct regular organizational assessments on issues like pay, benefits, work environment, management and promotional opportunities to gauge your progress over the long term.
Your diversity program success depends on a number of factors, beginning with commitment and support from senior management. Make sure that your leadership team is aware that productivity and profitability depend on the full utilization of your workforce.
Take a Holistic Approach
Companies with the most effective diversity programs take a holistic approach that includes:
- Linking diversity to the bottom line: When you work out ways to build profit, look to new markets or to partnering more strategically with your current clients. Consider how a diverse workforce will help you meet these objectives.
- Walking the talk. Make diversity evident at all levels, cascading down from senior management. Show respect for the issues and promote clear, positive solutions and responses.
- Broadening your efforts. If diversity at your company is limited to only race and gender, expand the range and definition of your efforts. As baby boomers age and more minorities enter the workplace, managing a multigenerational and multicultural employee population is quickly becoming the norm. Don’t risk losing leading talent to your competition because your culture and environment are diversity limited.
- Removing hiring barriers. Your interview style may be a disadvantage to some candidates. Older individuals, for instance, tend to be less familiar with behavioral tactics and may not perform as well unless recruiters ask directly for the kind of experiences they’re looking for. Train your interviewers to understand the cultural components of their candidate interactions and give equal opportunity to each one.
The recruitment and workforce development experts at BrainWorks can make diversity work for you as you achieve and exceed your ongoing goals. To learn more, contact us today.