A company's diversity initiatives could be the deciding factor for many candidates during their job search. In today's market, diversity within an employee base is a direct attractor to more diverse, high-performing talent. If you're a company leader, increasing diversity within your workforce and actively supporting diversity initiatives needs to be top of mind as you lead your organization.
In this episode of our Back to Work podcast series, Joe McIntyre, our host, and Regina Blair, Day & Zimmermann's Vice President of Talent, Diversity and Inclusion, discuss key strategies on improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace. They talk about the benefits of having a genuinely diverse workforce and how this gives companies a competitive advantage.
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True Representation of Diversity
In a recent survey conducted by Yoh, less than one-third (28%) of employed Americans said their company has made strides toward becoming a more diverse workplace over the past two years. This low response indicates that a major change needs to happen in many organizations if the want to be truly representative of the makeup of society at large — and they should want to.
Regina notes in the podcast that talent pools are going to be evolving more and more to represent all people, as the next chapter of our American narrative is being written by an increasingly diverse population. This means that it's definitely time for employers to join the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion train if they haven't already to ensure they don't fall behind their competitors.
To some companies, creating a diverse workplace just means checking off some boxes to show that they care about diversity. But this is not the point, and employees and candidates will be able to tell if a company honestly cares about diversity or they are just pretending to care because they have to. Company leaders need to hold themselves and their employees accountable for the actions and outcomes that foster a diverse workplace in order to create the right environment. This is how companies will stay competitive for years, rather than only focusing on short-term success.
Best Practices to Support Diversity
To ensure that all groups feel represented and valued in the workplace, there are certain actions organizations need to take beyond just offering words of support. First, they should look at the policies and practices their company has in place to support diversity. Identify what's going right and what needs to be improved upon, then make a plan to execute these improvements. It's essential to practice what you preach.
Creating a diverse workplace also requires educating employees and managers. Employees need to understand why diversity is important and how they can play a part in fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. Employers also need to train managers to navigate the new normal and empower them to listen with empathy and respond to people's concerns in an appropriate manner. If everyone within a company understands their role in increasing diversity, a company's employer brand will improve significantly.
Another thing organizations can do to promote diversity is investing in Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERGs are a great way for all people to have their voices heard and feel a sense of belonging. Lastly, it's crucial for managers to check in with their employees and ask for honest feedback. Company leaders can then take this feedback and make changes to ensure employee satisfaction.
By implementing these best practices to accommodate people with diverse needs, companies will have the competitive advantage that being a diverse workplace brings. A diverse workforce is more likely to understand all customers' needs and deliver innovative solutions to solve them. A diverse employer will also see high employee engagement and workers who genuinely want to show up and give their best effort.
To learn more, listen to our full podcast here.