Diversity matters a great deal in today's workforce.
Studies show that diverse teams can be more productive than non-inclusive teams by over 50%. Others suggest that brands with diverse leadership teams tend to be innovative and register improved revenue performance. Yet, many companies still lag at improving diversity and equity in the work environments.
If you want to make space for diverse opinions and grow your business fast, promoting diversity is among the essential things to do as an entrepreneur. Here is how to do it right.
1. Assess your team
The way your team is composed will determine whether those in leadership come from diverse backgrounds. That means your team's composition can tell you a lot about inclusivity and equity in your organizations.
In your assessment, look at employees' pay and titles. The common assumption is that employees at the same level of organization and education should earn the same.
But in most cases, you find that people of color, women, and the disabled may earn less. Find out what is causing this and the damage it has. It may be the low pay that makes the minorities not seek higher-level positions.
Assessing your team may also require you to look at the channels that employees can use to launch complaints and whether they are effective in addressing these complaints.
2. Launch a training program
Among the many reasons inhabiting minorities from occupying leadership roles include lack of mentorship and sponsorship, chances for leadership experience, and access to the right knowledge to learn about equal opportunities. Therefore, organizations need to launch mentorship programs with an inclusive culture and mindset.
These mentorship programs and training should be implemented quickly, especially in tech and medicine, where minority representation is usually low. This will help boost the confidence and morale of those seeking to achieve leadership roles or positions.
Such training programs should also help educate employees and leaders that bias exists, how to recognize bias, and address it.
While most organizations promote these mentorship programs and training during team-building initiatives, organizations can also use the available course platforms to host courses where employees can access lessons anytime.
3. Diversify your talent acquisition process
If you want to have a diverse group in leadership positions, start with how you recruit employees. In every management or leadership role, recruit various candidates to increase the chances of having diverse management or a future diverse workforce.
To succeed at hiring diverse talent, go beyond your typical checklist for hiring and onboarding employees.
First, you can use external professional networks to find candidates instead of your internal recruitment team. Another way is to advertise management roles or positions for minorities and those with disabilities.
You may also seek candidates from women's colleges or universities with a major population of minority communities. Finding diverse talent is like picking a business partner. Hence, look beyond settling for the most qualified person.
4. Set up values that you can uphold and enforce
One reason diversity in the workplace may be at rock bottom is the existence of weak diversity and equity values that the leaders themselves cannot uphold.
Therefore, organizations should come out strongly in developing proper values, systems of communicating these values, and laws of enforcing them. Ensure these values can be read and understandable to everyone including those not working for the organizations like what Adobe has on its website.
Leaders can be role models by upholding these values and enforcing them throughout the organization, even if it means dropping certain cultural norms that have existed for a long time. Employees also need to embrace these values within the organization and outside the workplace.
5. Create a supportive workplace or a support system
For some organizations, promoting diversity may seem like a burden or adding unnecessary cost to the organization, and some leaders don't even recognize their benefits. To create a supportive workplace, leaders must understand the professional and personal advantage of a diverse workforce.
Then it will be easier to develop roadmaps and allocate resources for building a diverse workplace. A supportive workplace may include having a structured feedback mechanism, opportunity for diverse communities to connect outside work, and employee-led task forces to implement policies that promote diversity.
Most importantly, a supportive workplace should have everyone involved. It is not just the diverse communities' responsibility to be promoting diversity and championing inclusivity and equity.
Many entrepreneurs and business leaders are quick to share things that make them successful, yet few ever include how to promote diversity or equity.
But if you lack any diversity or inclusivity plans, the quickest way to start is to look at what you have at your disposal.
Assess your current team, set up diversity values, have a support system, or hire new talent if you have a homogenous team. After all, a lack of diversity in the leadership roles hurts not only workers but also companies and the economy as a whole.