Alibaba, Accenture, L’Oreal & Lenovo are names of a few multi-billion dollar, multinational companies operating in different fields. The success of these companies is commonly credited to their recognition for the individual irrespective of their circumstances. They all have a workforce with a diverse background that understands, respects and strives towards the goals of the company.
Diversity is the common meeting point of different people from different places with different experiences. Many factors contribute to a diverse workforce- cultural, gender, religion, language and different education levels. These differences pave way to different viewpoints and unique abilities which aid the business in their own way. It’s about a team of people who think differently, act differently, and look different, working together to solve complex problems. Diversity is synonymous with the representation of different people in an organization, inclusion is offering an equal opportunity to contribute to as well as impact every aspect of a workplace, and belonging is making that everyone feels safe and wanted.
A diverse and inclusive environment sustains a workplace’s ability to instill a sense of belonging among its employees thereby earning deeper trust and more commitment from their employees and making them passionate about working harder and smarter. This form of environment enables employees to feel representative of the company’s goals and principles leading to a higher quality of work.
How to develop a support structure
Managers need to understand the benefits of diversity in the Workplace-People do not leave companies, they leave bosses. Managers should be empowered and incentivized to create, grow and nurture a diverse team. When workplace diversity is embraced, and management is empowered with the appropriate resources, the potential of the workforce increases tenfold as a result of benefiting from the presence of more diverse ideas.
Workplace Policies have to be more inclusive-Every organization should aspire to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. They should relook at policies from recruitment to performance evaluations and promotions, given the diverse workforce. Special care has to be given to employees -Allowing employees to take off work for religious holidays not officially observed by the company so as to respect the sentiments of the entire workforce, offering on-site daycare, etc. The office set-up needs to be revamped to ensure an inclusive facility, by making non-gendered restrooms available, extending the option for flexible work hours, and communicating in a multitude of languages.
Proper communication and employee involvement-Employees should trust their manager and communicate any concerns, especially about their treatment in the company due to their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, age, or other factors. Managers should ensure in their internal communication with employees to avoid making any assumptions and using inclusive language. Managers should regularly ask for feedback from the diverse workforce and create dedicated diversity task forces with team members from every department for candidate recruitment and training. This ensures commitment, transparency, and ownership from the whole team.
Employees need to be engaged with meaningful opportunities.-External exposure to other divisions or participation as a volunteer in community work is a great way to let employees experience and participate in other environments and creates opportunities for the diverse workforce to understand each other better.
Mentorship program-It is a key component of workplace diversity programs to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to advance.
If one tracks the success of any big organization, one is sure to discover a diverse, inclusive, empowered and happy workforce blessed with a sense of belonging propelling the company to greater heights