Creating a diverse workforce is an essential part of competing in today’s fast-moving and global world. However, far from simply a buzzword in corporate memos, diversity provides a series of tangible and strategic benefits that allow a business to adapt to changing circumstances more adequately, expand into new markets and cultivate new avenues of doing business and responding to adversity.
A diverse workforce can be cultivated in many ways and can take many forms, but what these ways and forms all have in common is that they contain a wide range of individuals who come from different backgrounds and provide additional insights into the human experience.
Having built a global business in one of the most necessarily diverse industries today, I have seen firsthand how this has empowered and strengthened both our brand and bottom line. The following are some of the actionable steps you can take today to encourage a diverse workforce, as well as the benefits that this type of working environment can provide.
Take the time to do it right.
Making profound shifts in the makeup of your workforce is not something you can force overnight. You need to spend the time to find the right talent for the proper aspects of your organization, and you need to put people in the places where they can do the most good for your company and their own futures. Conduct a diversity audit of your current practices, find metrics you need to improve and encourage the use of the social and professional networks of your diverse employees to find new candidates.
Often, making efforts to retain your employees from different backgrounds will be just as crucial to the long-term diversity of your business as your initial hirings. For example, the greater the representation of women in a business’s top management teams, the better the organization’s performance. Unfortunately, however, women have a turnover rate at the higher echelons of most companies, nearly double that of men.
You need to cultivate a workplace that directly addresses the concerns of women and people of color, and that makes direct efforts to retain talent.
Strengthen relationships and cultivate inclusion.
Better education and an environment that includes all its members is integral to attracting and retaining employees from all walks of life. Team-building exercises, workshops, better education and policies that encourage diverse employees to express their cultures and unique wants and needs are all critical. Learn to both celebrate and support your team’s differences. How this looks and how you can best go about it will depend on both your industry and the people you have working for you.
For example, providing your internal content in multiple languages will help your more diverse members — or those you work with who are in other nations — feel much more comfortable with your company culture.
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