Diverse Teams: Why Diversity Matters, and How to Achieve it in your Organization

Businesses are moving towards hiring a diverse workforce because of the benefits it offers. The best benefits are increased productivity and revenues. However, the effects trickle down to several other areas by boosting creativity and innovation. The fact is that hiring employees from diverse backgrounds and cultures bring unique perspectives that help deliver better products and services. On the other hand, many businesses, particularly start-ups, struggle with diversity. It’s not as challenging as you might imagine if you plan and implement a few strategies for successfully creating diverse teams.

Be clear about what diversity means

Hiring diversely doesn’t mean restricting recruitment to people of color or a specific gender or race. The true benefit of diversity can only be felt when people from varied backgrounds contribute their ideas and perspectives. Therefore, one needs to look beyond race, gender, and color to other factors. These can include age, personality, sexual orientation, disability, religion, and culture.

Create a culture of inclusivity within diverse teams

When people from diverse backgrounds work together, differences of opinion are inevitable. In building teams that can work together, creating a culture of inclusivity in the organization is essential for success. This includes hiring and retaining diverse teams. Doing this might require publishing clear policies to prevent harassment. It also needs to build suitable infrastructure for accommodating employees with physical impairments.

Alter recruiting strategies

Recruitment is the key to hiring a diverse workforce. So, it’s essential to evaluate the current recruitment processes and strategies. Assess their effectiveness in attracting diverse talent. You might change the language used in job postings to avoid biases towards age, gender, or other criteria. Further, you could use technology and AI to shortlist candidates based on qualifications. Similarly, provide unconscious bias training to recruiters and managers. Doing these things can provide an even ground for interviewing prospective employees.

Create an environment that celebrates differences

Instead of a one-size-fits-all environment that focuses on efficient workstations and layouts to improve productivity, create spaces that celebrate diversity and make employees feel valued and accepted. As a result, this can increase creativity and performance. It might require creating spaces for meditation or prayer, relaxation zones or disability-friendly workstations or amenities. Celebrate holidays or organizing events that highlight different cultures. Also, offer employees the flexibility to take time off for holidays that they celebrate. These are strategies that can promote inclusivity.

Provide opportunities for training and development

Many organizations fail at diversity as they don’t look beyond entry-level recruiting for building diverse teams. Unless employees are provided with the opportunity to move up the ladder, sooner or later, they will look for better opportunities elsewhere. Offer training and development opportunities. In addition, setting up mentorship or cross-functional programs can help employees from diverse backgrounds gain new skills Doing this prepares them for leadership roles in the future.

Get employee feedback

One of the biggest mistakes is to implement diversity measures, which managers believe will benefit employees. The better alternative is to listen to employees, understand their experiences, and appreciate their perspectives. Then, write out action plans that meet their needs. Design mechanisms for continuous feedback, whether through online surveys or weekly face-to-face meetings. These can help see things from the employees’ perspective so corrective measures can be taken before it’s too late.

Encourage empathy among the leadership

Leaders need to look beyond performance as the sole criteria for evaluating an employee in a diverse work environment. Listening to employees and showing empathy to their unique experiences or situations will make them feel valued and empowered. Encourage a culture of trust and respect. Respect and trust will go a long way towards ensuring that diverse teams thrive within the organization.

Measure the results

Conducting periodic reviews of diversity initiatives is as essential as implementing them. Only by assessing the effectiveness of strategies can issues be identified and remedied to ensure the success of DEI initiatives.

Diversity is beneficial and necessary for businesses to attract and retain top talent. Creating an environment for diverse teams is lengthy. Still, the resulting innovativeness and creativity can boost the business image and profits, making it well worth the effort.

Recommended Podcast

Episode 14 : A Roadmap for DEI Investments and Human Flourishing

Recommended Reading

The Scientist : Why diversity matters

ABOUT DIVERSEEK

Diverseek serves as a platform for meaningful conversations, education, and advocacy surrounding issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.