In today’s interconnected world, the impact of diversity in the workplace cannot be overstated. Embracing a diverse workforce goes beyond representation. Diversity fosters innovation, enhances problem-solving, and propels organizations towards greater success.
To truly understand and harness the transformative power of diversity, organizations can turn to data-driven research. For instance: MarketWatch reports that greater representation of BIPOC people (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) in management roles is tied to higher cash flow, net profit, revenue, return on equity, and stock performance!
In this post, you’ll learn the benefits of diversity in the workplace, as well as how to recruit and empower a diverse workforce. Additionally, learn how to work through challenges when it comes to promoting diversity, resulting in a stronger team for everyone.
Types of Diversity in the Workplace
There are many types of diversity within the workplace. Here are just a few examples:
- Neurodiversity in the workplace
- Ethnic and racial diversity
- Gender diversity in the workplace
- Age diversity
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity and expression
- Cultural diversity
- Religious diversity
- Physical and mental abilities
- Cognitive diversity (diversity of thought)
Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace
Creating an inclusive, affirming, and diverse workplace provides crucial advantages for both employers and employees.
Some benefits of boosting your diversity in the workplace:
- Workplace diversity can boost creativity, a skill many CEOs value most in their employees (via Forbes).
- Banks with higher more women on the board were found to have higher capital buffers, lower proportion of nonperforming loans, and greater resistance to stress (via International Monetary Fund).
- Creating a diverse workplace can boost recruitment. That’s because 76% of job seekers report that a diverse workforce is an important factor to them when considering where to work (via GlassDoor).
Improved Creativity and Innovation
When hiring people with differing life experiences, thought processes, backgrounds, and viewpoints, differing ideas may emerge. As a result, many leaders find one of the benefits of diverse teams is that they’re more creative, because they bring more ideas and perspectives to the table. Additionally, each person’s experiences may help the team uncover valuable insights about the company’s offering, the market, or unmet consumer needs.
For instance, Ellevest is an investing platform for women created in response to the financial industry being largely male-dominated. In fact, Deloitte reports that around the world, within financial institutions, women hold 21% of board seats, 19% of C-suite positions, and just 5% of CEO positions. With the tagline, “Not your dad’s financial advisor,” this company speaks to women in a way that feels straightforward, welcoming, and encouraging.
Enhanced Employee Engagement
Did you know that nearly half of Black (47%) and Hispanic (49%) job seekers and employees have left a job after witnessing or experiencing discrimination? Creating inclusive, diverse, and affirming teams can boost employees’ workplace satisfaction and engagement, resulting in higher retention rates and less costly turnover.
Additionally, ADP shares that employees who are satisfied with their organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion are twice as engaged as dissatisfied employees!
Overall, hiring and supporting a diverse workforce can result in a team that feels happier, more motivated, and more likely to stay engaged.
Better Decision-Making and Problem-Solving
With more knowledge brought to the table, diverse teams from varied backgrounds can make better decisions and solve problems more adeptly.
Did you know – out of all 500 companies on the Fortune 500 list, only 53 (10.6%) are women? Forbes reports that during problem-solving challenges, groups with more women had a higher collective measure of intelligence, attributed to an aptitude for reading social cues and navigating conversations with varying opinions. As a result, these groups performed better on challenges ranging from puzzles to complex tasks.
While creating an inclusive and supportive work environment is a smart move when it comes to employee well-being, it’s also a smart financial move.
That’s because studies have found that diverse teams tend to perform better financially, across a variety of metrics. For instance, McKinsey & Company found that companies with more ethnic and culturally diverse leadership were 33% more likely to outperform their peers on profitability.
Ethnic diversity in the workplace is a reality of our modern global economy – and embracing it can come with many wonderful benefits – including profitability!
Challenges of Promoting Diversity
When working to create a more diverse workplace, you may encounter challenges. Below are a few of the most common challenges, along with our suggestions for how to navigate through roadblocks to create a more affirming work culture.
“Unconscious bias” refers to the quick mental stereotypes our brains can jump to regarding certain people, groups, and things. Psychology Today reports that unconscious bias can begin in childhood and reflect the societies, background, and environments in which we are raised.
While having learned unconscious biases may not be our fault, it are our responsibility to unlearn harmful stereotypes and snap judgments.
The Harvard Implicit Association Test is a useful starting point. Choose from a variety of online assessments to uncover potential biases when it comes to race, age, religion, weight, and other demographic factors.
Resistance to Change
As you seek to bolster your team’s diversity training and DEI efforts, you may be met with resistance to change. Some people may not see the need for these types of programs, while others could be actively opposed to them.
In these instances, it can be helpful to cite your team’s shared values and company’s mission and vision, along with information about the many positive impacts of workplace diversity programs shared throughout this post.
Ultimately, you company may need to make decisions about the values and priorities it deems most important. By ensuring that diversity, inclusion, and equity are top priorities, your company will help create a healthy environment for all employees – and may even boost their bottom line!
Managing Conflicts and Misunderstandings
When navigating cultural and social differences, it’s possible for conflicts and misunderstandings to arise. This is when conflict resolution and communication skills come into play.
To prevent conflicts in the workplace, it’s a smart idea to establish “ground rules” for any potentially sensitive training sessions or topics. Remind employees to always treat each other with respect and kindness, and that intolerance will not be tolerated.
If a conflict arises, ensure that an HR professional or other trained mediator is available – and ideally a part of the experience – to help resolve matters. This may include a guided dialogue or some type of compromise or other mutually agreed-on solution.
Best Practices for Promoting Diversity in the Workplace
When it comes to promoting diversity in the workplace, there are a few key best practices to keep in mind. From the recruitment process to diversity training and creating of a culture of inclusion, keep these tips in mind!
Inclusive Recruitment Practices
Fostering a more diverse team starts with the recruitment process. After all, if candidates’ applications aren’t making it to your desk – how could they ever become a part of your team?
Whether you work with an external consultant or a group of internal stakeholders, implementing a review of your hiring protocols is a smart move. For instance – if you use an automated system to filter through resumes, it’s important to know which parameters the system is using, to ensure groups of applicants aren’t being rejected for reasons rooted in bias.
Additionally, it’s important to address and remove bias throughout the hiring process – from job descriptions to interview questions and applicant assessments.
For example, along with other steps, Airbnb began requiring that women make up half of the interview panel for female data science candidates. As a result, Airbnb’s representation of female data scientists increased from 15% to 30%.
Diversity and Inclusion Training
Diversity and inclusion training can be a powerful way to reinforce your company’s values and commitment to equity throughout the year.
FastCompany reports, “Diversity training works. But only when you take these steps.” The steps they outline include: getting clear on the purpose behind the training, offering training as a voluntary option, coming up with creative alternatives to racial affinity groups, and measuring outcomes.
When planning employee diversity training, it can be helpful to consider:
- What do we hope to accomplish with this diversity training?
- What are our employees’ greatest needs and challenges related to diversity?
- How will this training be memorable or ongoing after this session?
Use Storytelling to Promote Diversity
Diversity in the workplace is all about human connections! Storytelling can be a powerful tool to foster empathy and support within teams.
At Unexpected Virtual Tours, we use storytelling to bring DEI topics to life. By exploring historical figures, inventors and innovators, noteworthy landmarks, and the people behind social justice movements, our programs make abstract topics tangible for your team.
For instance: as part of our Pride diversity training experience, your team will hear about the story of America’s first gay marriage – from 1807! Plus, learn about the bravery of a transgender Civil War soldier, take a live-streamed visit to the Stonewall National Monument, and more.
Virtual Team Building
With many teams still working remotely or in hybrid roles, virtual team building remains an important tool for many companies to stay connected – especially when it comes to building strong, diverse teams.
At Unexpected Virtual Tours, we provide virtual diversity and inclusion activities for corporate teams with Google, The Home Depot, Coca-Cola, UPS, and many others. With topics like Black History Month, women’s history, Pride, Juneteenth, Hispanic Heritage Month, and more, we offer engaging DEI programs to promote inclusion, engagement, dialogue, and fun among your team!
Creating a Culture of Inclusion
An inclusive workplace culture can help employees feel safe, respected, and welcome at work. As with many things, a culture of inclusion starts at the top: with leadership.
In addition to any formal training programs or initiatives, it’s important to be sure team members’ actions are aligned with the values of inclusivity.
Some ways to foster an inclusive work environment:
- Include pronouns in your email signature, and respect others’ pronouns.
- Ensure dress code policies do not restrict natural hair, twists, locs, etc. These types of dress code policies are known as “hair discrimination” and penalize Black workers for wearing their hair in protective and natural hairstyles.
- Avoid needlessly gendering people or groups. For example, try “Chair of the Board” rather than “Chairman.”
- Be mindful of generational diversity in the workplace, and be aware of the harms of ageism. Remember, age diversity in the workplace can be an asset!
- Educate yourself on culturally significant holidays, read books and articles by women, people of color, and people from other historically marginalized groups, and follow topics of discussion in the DEI community to stay informed and broaden your knowledge.
Tailored Team Building Events
Creating tailored team building events is a great way to boost your DEI efforts. By creating sessions that speak to your team’s unique needs, you can ensure everyone is included and feels connected.
For instance, make space for neurodiversity in the workplace by planning sessions with a variety of elements. From an interactive panel to trivia questions, games, virtual field trips, and lectures, you can create a menu of offerings that allows people to participate according to how they learn best.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
Employee Resource Groups have traditionally been a way to promote diversity in the workplace. By offering employees the chance to network with people of a similar background or life experience, ERGs can provide opportunities for mentorship and deeper connection at work.
For instance, Geico offers Employee Resource Groups across a variety of categories. These include groups for women, LGBTQIA+ employees, Black employees, Hispanic and Latinx employees, and a group for parents to connect!
Measuring and Monitoring Diversity Progress
As you move forward with DEI initiatives, it’s crucial to measure and monitor your progress. What this looks like will vary, depending on your goals and the types of programs you’re implementing.
However, some key metrics when evaluating diversity in the workplace may include:
- Examining pay parity to ensure roles are compensated fairly
- Delving into the composition of your executive leadership and board
- Look at the percent of gender diversity in the workplace as well as race and other demographic categories represented on specific teams, or across your workforce
- Offering employees a self-assessment on the viewpoints and biases they may hold, to see how this may shift over time with training
Consider sharing this data with employees and stakeholders, as a way to build trust and accountability while gathering ideas for improvement.
5 Examples of Companies Promoting Diversity in the Workplace
As the largest hospitality company, Marriott International has committed itself to diversity in the workplace. Marriott has longstanding partnerships with more than three dozen diversity organizations including The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, The Human Rights Campaign, The National Organization on Disability, and other groups.
Additionally, they publish an Employer Information Report sharing demographic statistics of their employees by job category. Because of these and other initiatives, Marriott has been awarded one of “The Best Employers for Diversity” (Forbes, 2022), “100 Best Companies to Work For” (Fortune, 2022), and “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality” (Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 2022).
Global professional services firm Accenture places a focus on equity when it comes to their workforce. A few of their key initiatives include creating a gender-balanced workforce by 2025, providing employees with disabilities with access to the latest technology and resources, and supporting the LGBTQIA+ community.
With 738,000 people spread across 120 countries, Accenture is an example of a large company uniting in support of shared values, even across cultures. By respecting each employee’s needs, they can find what works for each person and foster successful multiculturalism in the workplace.
From supplier inclusion to mental health initiatives and ethnic diversity in the workplace, Accenture’s website is also inspiration for sharing your company’s DEI initiatives.
The global astrology market is slated to reach nearly $23 billion by 2031! In a time when tarot cards, crystals, and astrology have made a major comeback, CHANI is one of the most well-known astrology apps out there. Look to CHANI for inspiration when it comes to inclusive job postings.
In addition to paying competitive salaries and full health benefits, CHANI also offers benefits such as gender-based violence paid and protected leave, as well as menstrual leave.
This online bookshop is revolutionizing the way we buy books – again! Bookshop.org is a great example of a business that’s making a positive impact while also promoting marginalized voices.
As a Certified B-Corp, Bookshop.org has raised more than $26 million for local bookstores, with carbon neutral operations. Consumers simply go to the website, choose your local bookstore of choice, purchase a book, and Bookshop gives over 80% of their profit margin to independent bookstores!
With a focus on inclusivity, their front-page promoted books include “Rainbow Parenting: Your Guide to Raising Queer Kids and Their Allies,” A Darker Wildness: Black Nature Writing from Soil to Stars,” and “Disrupting Racism: Essays by an Asian American Prodigy Professor.”
Awarded as one of the “Best Places to Work 2022” by Glassdoor, Cisco has taken an active approach to inclusion and collaboration. They support community partnerships, legislation, and advocacy to drive equal rights and access to opportunity.
Cisco has also committed $150 million dollars to preserve the legacy and sustainability of the HBCU ecosystem, has increased their spending with diverse suppliers by 28%, and has increased their African American representation in director-level roles 94% since 2020.
Browse more examples of effective diversity training and ideas for even more inspiration!
Foster Diversity and Inclusion With Unexpected Virtual Tours
As a BIPOC and woman-owned company, Unexpected Virtual Tours is on a mission to make diversity training exciting, engaging, and memorable for teams across the world! Promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace with team building programs on Black history, women’s history, LGBTQ+ Pride, AAPI Heritage Month, and so much more.
As an optional add-on, you can have a thoughtfully-selected variety of treats and snacks shipped directly to each member 0f your team. The items included in Treat Boxes reflect the topic you’ve selected and help support other small minority businesses!
Reach out today to learn more and schedule your team’s private session!
Unexpected Virtual Tours offers unique team building programs and diversity training for some of the world’s top corporate teams. Join us and see why we have a 5 star rating on Google, with nearly 1,500 reviews!