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Diversity Management

05 Jul 2021

three women smiling at each other

Achieving diversity in the workplace is a crucial element of a successful business in the 21st century. But, too many companies will pay simple lip service to expectations about workplace diversity without really making any legitimate steps towards encouraging proper workplace diversity.

Still, cultivating a diverse workplace culture can significantly benefit your company from top to bottom. With the chance for a more inclusive environment, a set of diverse employees, and an improved reputation within your industry and beyond, it’s essential that your company understands the importance of diversity management, what it means, and how you can achieve it to put your business in the best position.

What is the Meaning of Diversity Management?

Diversity management in terms of HR management refers to the aim of businesses promoting significant inclusion of employees from all walks of life. This includes employees with different racial backgrounds, religions, sexual orientation, who have been ignored or not had the same opportunities or salary rates as other employees.

Firms are increasing diversity in the workplace by integrating these diverse employees into the company’s overall structure, whether through policies, programs, or by providing increased opportunities. This is designed to cultivate a diverse workforce where everyone, no matter their background, has the same type of opportunity as each other.

What is Diversity Management in the Workplace?

A diverse workplace has evolved throughout the years, with the approach and the overall meaning of diversity management. Its beginnings can be found in the mid-1980s in North America, where programs like Affirmative Action gave previously underrepresented professionals more opportunities in the corporate world.

Since then, it has spread worldwide, with many businesses adopting cultural diversity policies to create a more diverse workforce that represents all voices. With the advent of the internet, it has become even easier to improve inclusivity protocols that identify the right candidate for a role, no matter where they are in the world.

With the current - and arguably enduring - popularity of remote working, businesses hoping to improve diversity have their chance to bring talent from anywhere in the world. Quality candidates are no longer restricted by borders or time zones. Instead, they can find a professional environment that is welcoming, comfortable, and inclusive.

Why is Diversity Management Important?

There are many reasons to recognize the importance of diversity management in your workplace. This importance ranges from direct and immediate benefits to improving your company’s standing within your industry.

Increased Chance of Innovation

Diverse cultures offer a broader range of possible innovation techniques compared to sourcing talent from a single culture. Everyone has a slightly different way of doing things, and exposure to different challenges means candidates have been forced to approach challenges differently. This gives them a unique perspective that can help your company overcome problems.

Wider Talent Pool

Similarly, the broader your diversity management, the greater the talent pool. This allows you to hire more people with better ideas, increasing opportunities within your business, which will have a direct impact on the customers you appeal to.

Better Strategies

The increased emphasis on workplace diversity management has led to the creation of chief diversity office roles within companies across the world. These officers are encouraged to think differently about their company’s strategy and identify approaches that will be as profitable as they are inclusive.

Cultural Acceptance and Intelligence

As much as everyone likes to think they know a lot about the world, they are only learning through specifically narrow lenses. By bringing a diverse range of employees, clients, and customers into your company, you can increase cultural acceptance and intelligence. Interacting with different cultures is one of the easiest ways to eliminate prejudices and create a more accepting environment for everyone.

What are the Goals of Diversity Management?

The primary goal of better diversity management within the workplace is to create an inclusive, welcoming, and comfortable environment for everybody, whether they are a new hire or are part of the senior management structure.

Many companies are happy to embrace the element of globalization that diversity management brings, and with quality diversity programs, this could happen for your business, too.

Overall, companies with a strong focus on improving their work and making it more diverse will look to achieve three key things:

  • Recruit a range of  at every level
    diverse employees
  • Improve employee  by providing  for progression for everyone
    retention
    equal opportunities
  • Increase the diversity of employees in senior roles within the company

Many countries also have diversity compliance guidelines that businesses must adhere to and prove they are looking to increase diversity in the workplace, so being compliant is another goal that companies hope to meet.

Types of Diversity within Organizations

There are two primary types of diversity management. These are known as Intranational and Cross-national approaches.

An Intranational approach focuses on finding work for immigrants and minority groups with diversity programs that provide equal opportunities. A Cross-national approach involves managing a team or even an entire company where everyone is from different backgrounds.

Internal Factors

On an internal level, the company’s chief diversity officer is responsible for providing an equal opportunity to recent immigrants and minorities who apply for and gain employment within the business. They are required to design diversity programs that give underrepresented candidates a voice in the application process and make onboarding comfortable and effective.

External Factors

The external factors of diversity management and improving workforce diversity can significantly benefit your company’s reputation and employees. By creating a diverse and welcoming culture, you can help integrate immigrants and minorities into a community where they might otherwise feel excluded. In doing so, you can improve your reputation and stand out as a company that is at the forefront of embracing the benefits of diversity, making your business a 21st-century enterprise.

Benefits of Diversity Management

Companies would not strive for a more diverse workplace if it did not come with an array of tangible benefits. These benefits can stretch across the company, bringing advantages to the business as a whole, as well as HR managers and departments, and even employees.

For Organisations

Companies that put a heavy emphasis on diversity management can expect numerous benefits when looking at reasons to embrace these programs.

Improved Reputation

If your management team wants to push workplace diversity and management, they will often point to how it has improved the reputations of other companies. For too long, businesses have relied on the same types of people to lead, but this ignores a substantial percentage of the workforce that can offer unique perspectives. By embracing diversity at work, you prove to the public that you are a forward-thinking company.

Better Candidate Appeal

If you’re looking for a competitive advantage over other companies in your industry, accepting the benefits of diversity will make your company more appealing to the best talent around. These professionals want to feel respected and have all the opportunities they deserve. If you make this a priority, you will never have a problem finding the next big thing.

Broader Audience and Market

Similarly, demonstrating your dedication to diversity and management will help your business appeal to a broader market. This is especially beneficial if you are trying to grow your company and launch in a new country, while it also shows new customers that you are focused on inclusivity, which will make them more likely to use your service over another.

For HR Managers

Human Resources is the department that will deal with and try to resolve workplace diversity issues, so an emphasis on management can make their job easier.

Fewer HR Issues

Promoting workplace diversity will reduce the number of issues that Human Resources will encounter. A company that promotes inclusivity and diversity management means there will be fewer problems with employees being insensitive to each other. Furthermore, dedicated policies mean that minority employees will not feel unjustly ignored and discriminated against for promotions or raises compared to their coworkers.

Better Employee Retention

This will result in better employee retention and should make sure that diversity in the workplace is one of the most significant incentives for keeping the best talent in your industry. By keeping the best of the best in your company, you won’t need to waste time, money, and effort searching for replacements if someone resigns due to perceived discrimination.

For Employees

Employees can also benefit from diversity management whether they are considered minorities or not.

Improved Cultural Sensitivity

Insensitivity towards different cultures is not always done maliciously. For many, it is simply proof of their ignorance. Although this should not be an excuse, diversity management, and training scenarios can improve cultural sensitivity and decision-making to ensure everyone understands what is acceptable in the workplace.

More Opportunities

Underrepresented professionals often see themselves passed over for progression in the workplace, but a company that emphasizes diversity will give them better opportunities. This can keep the employee motivated and gives them experience for senior roles later in their career.

Education and Key Skills

Exceptional diversity training can improve the work environment, also. By educating existing staff who are otherwise ignorant towards inclusivity protocols, you can create a culture that is welcoming and enjoyable. What’s more, your employees can take this education and key skills they have learned into other companies and their life, spreading inclusivity.

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Challenges of Managing Diversity

As beneficial as diversity in the workplace can be to your business, it also comes with its own challenges. Before considering how to improve diversity, you must understand the types of challenges you can face so it is easy to overcome them.

Team Conflict

Even with thorough diversity training, there is still a risk of team conflict. This is usually when contrasting worldviews clash, making the environment almost toxic. When adapting diversity management, you will need a lot of tolerance and patience, so it’s important to recognize when issues arise so you can solve them swiftly.

Cultural Conflict

Every company will have employees across a broad demographic range. While it is always beneficial to have a good mix of youth and experience, it can also cause cultural conflicts. A middle-aged employee from the US is unlikely to share the same values as a recent college graduate from Japan. Therefore, you’ll need to carry out intercultural workshops to put everyone on common ground.

Risk of Tokenism

Cultural diversity often runs the risk of falling into the trap of tokenism. This is when employees perceive rewards or inclusion as nothing more than showing they are inclusive. Often, this comes off as shallow. The solution to this is a corporate culture that celebrates all backgrounds and chooses people based on merit, rather than trying to fill quotas or tick boxes.

Steps to Promote Diversity Management within your Organization

Once you understand the possible challenges that your organization will face with its diversity management strategy, you can start to consider how to manage this diversity in the workplace. No matter how large your company is, every business can benefit from exceptional diversity management protocols.

Emphasize Communication

Communication is crucial in any workplace environment, but it becomes even more important when promoting diversity management across your organization. Encouraging respectful communication will keep everyone in the same boat. It informs everyone about different policies, changes in procedures, and new safety measures that enables everyone to feel secure and part of the workplace culture.

Too many businesses will try to exclude some employees because they do not feel they fit within the group, but this clique-like approach to workplace culture is now severely outdated. If you create a workplace where everyone is encouraged to talk to each other, you’ll find that no one is that different.

Treat Employees Equally

It should not need to be said that you should treat employees equally, but prejudices you may already hold about a particular demographic can cloud your approach. While you may speak to people from different backgrounds with no ill intentions, your language and actions may come off as offensive or condescending. This is the opposite of providing equal opportunities, so you must speak to every employee the same way.

Encourage Diverse Group Work

One key lesson from corporate diversity training is to engage with people you would not normally engage with. When it comes to group work, there is no better way for your employees to get to know one another and expand their horizons.

Working with a diverse group of employees for projects introduces numerous skills that you would otherwise miss out on. It can also build relationships between coworkers who would otherwise never speak to each other, which creates better cohesion across departments.

Use Objective Measures

Objective measures are the only way you can ensure complete fairness and inclusivity across the board. By setting each employee to the same standard, you will have no problems with accusations of discrimination. Everyone will feel they have been treated fairly, which is a necessity of maintaining a diverse, welcoming workforce.

The same goes for preparing employees for senior roles. If you are planning on mentoring young and promising employees, you must judge them by the same standards. Being too lenient with others due to their background will only cause issues between other employees and could make it appear like you are playing favorites.

Have an Open Mind

The secret to a diverse workplace is always to have an open mind. When meeting new employees, you should leave any prejudices (whether conscious or not) at the door. This will immediately help you consider the person and the professional, rather than the background.

However, it can still be beneficial to acknowledge backgrounds, especially when considering different perspectives and how that might shape their view. In this case, it’s important to listen to your employees’ thoughts and feelings to gain proper insight into their decision-making.

Hiring

Often, the chief diversity officer will be in charge of hiring. Almost every country has laws regarding anti-discrimination, and you should endeavor to follow these at all costs. Building a diverse company is crucial for finding success in the modern world. You need a range of experiences that complement one another, as this provides exceptional perspective.

Overcoming everyday corporate bias and hiring people based on qualifications is integral to this. It is always essential to welcome as deep of a candidate pool as possible to ensure you find the most exciting talent in your industry.

What is Diversity Management

Diversity management in terms of HR management refers to the aim of businesses promoting significant inclusion of employees from all walks of life. This includes employees with different racial backgrounds, religions, sexual orientation, who have been ignored or not had the same opportunities or salary rates as other employees.

Conclusion

A diverse workplace is no longer a buzzword that companies use to prove how of the times they are. Instead, diversity management is something every company must look at if they want to grow and maintain their reputation.

Understanding how to manage diversity effectively will go a long way towards helping your business succeed. By bringing in an array of diverse talent from different backgrounds, you can give your business the global feel that allows you to see and overcome challenges from unique perspectives.

It is important for all enterprises, whether global organizations or small, hungry startups to emphasize diversity at work. The internet and globalization have made the world smaller than ever, and you can use this to your advantage. So, embracing inclusivity and developing a welcoming professional environment will only benefit your business and help you reach the heights you have always wanted.

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Sign up for a quick 30 minutes demo and see what flair can do to automate your HR department and help you focus 100% on growing your employees the right way.

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