Contributed By Cowen Partners
The top DEI C-suite recruiters at Cowen Partners have put together this diversity guide for board members and Boardroom Pulse.
Diversity in workspaces isn’t just a perk considered by professionals and job seekers today.
Top talent takes it as one of the primary deciding factors while choosing a new organization to work for.
Not only that, diversity has a wide set of benefits for organizations too. They can harness the innovative ideas coming in from their diverse workforce. Diversity puts more diverse thought at a company’s disposal so new ideas could be brought in and discussed more efficiently.
How can your company leverage diversity to serve the community? Here’s everything you need to know.
The importance of diversity
Diversity is crucial for businesses to build close relationships with their clients.
A community that doesn’t have representatives in a company automatically feels separated from it. It’s safe to say the business feels a bit foreign to customers from that community.
For instance, let’s say you inaugurate an educational institute in a foreign country.
If you don’t hire local talent to work in your institute, the community you’re serving won’t be able to accept you as their own.
Furthermore, the lack of diversity limits the creative ideas coming in. Your business gets confined to a limited set of ideas and won’t be able to thrive at its peak capacity.
Diversity boosts your business’s attractiveness
As mentioned earlier, diversity is considered a plus-point by the top talent and professionals. According to a survey by Bayt.com, 7 out of 10 workers in the Middle East consider diversity to be important.
Even then, only 27% of the survey participants said their current workplace honors diversity. This represents how companies are unknowingly lacking in the precious asset of attractiveness.
How you can promote diversity in your workspace
To improve the level of diversity in your workplace, consider taking the following steps.
Make your values clear while hiring
Healthy company culture is arguably the most important pillar of a thriving business. To make sure your new hires are contributing positively to it, you should hire people that are relatable to you in terms of values and ethics.
For example, if your company focuses on being transparent and honest with the customers, you should hire people that represent the same ethics in their personality. It’s easier if the person you’re hiring has experience in the industry — as you can look into their previous work record to determine the same.
However, it’s comparatively difficult to assess the values of fresh graduates you’re hiring for an entry-level position. In such cases, you can look into the candidate’s soft skills they demonstrated during their school/university projects and assignments.
Needless to say, your decision to hire a specific person must not be based on any kind of discrimination — as that can severely damage your company’s diversity.
Use a systematic approach to remove bias
Human beings, by nature, are biased. They unknowingly tend to develop an image of someone in their mind right after seeing them. That could be a deal-breaker for promoting diversity in the workspace if your HR representative screens CVs based on discrimination.
You need to make sure your organization doesn’t reject candidates based on where they’re from, what’s their cast or race, what’s their cultural & religious background, and so on. For that, you either have to use screeners that you trust to not be biased, or use a computer-based system that algorithmically filters candidates purely based on their skills and compatibility.
Coach your hires to promote diversity
Your work is not done even after you have found and hired a candidate that represents values relatable to yours. You need to train them even further to make your ethics and concerns about diversity crystal clear.
If the person you hired is diverse from other employees in your organization, they might be unconfident in your workspace; that’s until you mentor them and empower them to be self-aware of their hard and soft skills. Make sure to communicate your views about cultural diversity clear to them so they feel confident stepping into the office every day.
Providing mentors to employees also gives leaders the opportunities to hone their leadership skills. By mentoring and coaching employees to represent ethnically and morally great values, they come across new ways to lead.
Provide diversified benefits
Every company provides benefits to its employees for remarkable work efforts and results. However, many of them fail to honor diversity while choosing and distributing benefits.
You see, a single type of benefit may not be attractive to employees from different cultural or native backgrounds. For instance, your family leave package may be attractive to one set of employees but not be that valuable to another set.
You need to handpick the benefits you’re providing to make sure you cover all of your employees, no matter their native background, race, caste, religion, gender, or physical disability.
Develop a culture focused on diversity
Last but not least, you need to promote diversity in your company culture to make it a permanent component of your organization. Encourage your workforce to promote diversity at their scale and also educate them about its importance.
Moreover, you can arrange corporate events like dinners and picnics so your workforce gets enough time to be friends and recreate together. It will bring them closer to each other regardless of their diversity.
Diversity is a primary consideration by professionals and job seekers when they look for a new company to work with. Even then, many companies fail to promote a sufficient level of diversity in their moral and ethical values.
For your company to represent the communities it serves, you need to fix the mistakes done by that majority and promote diversity to a greater extent. To do that, you can rely on the methods mentioned above.
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