What can you do to create a more diverse company culture, strengthen the work atmosphere and become more attractive to potential employees? Here are 21 tips for implementing diversity & inclusion.
There’s no denying that diverse teams are more successful than homogeneous teams. A study by researchers at the University of Michigan found that diversity leads to higher rates of creativity and innovation, and that diverse teams are 25% more likely to come up with a new product or service idea. In addition to the positive effects on customers, a diverse team composition also has many positive effects on the respective company culture and employer branding. In this article, you’ll learn how to integrate diversity into your company and why it’s so important.
Why does diversity strengthen company culture?
For one, diverse teams are more likely to challenge the status quo and bring new ideas, always contributing to internal improvements. That’s because people from different backgrounds bring different perspectives. They are also more likely to recognize mistakes because they are less likely to form biases based on their own experiences and adventures that transfigure ways of looking at things. Similarly, there is less prejudice against fellow human beings, which has a harmonizing effect on the group dynamics in teams and thus strengthens the team structure and the corporate culture.
Other benefits of diverse teams:
- They make employers more attractive and thus counteract the shortage of skilled workers
- They strengthen the agility and adaptability of team members
- Diverse teams open up new target groups and markets
First steps for more diversity
1. Check the numbers – where do we stand?
To understand how diverse (or not) your organization already is, it is useful to collect data and analyze the current state. This can be done through existing data such as an age structure analysis, interviews, focus groups or employee surveys. The results of these internal studies provide valuable information for developing tailored measures for your company.
2. Find your personal way to implement diversity
Of course, it is desirable to strengthen any kind of diversity in the company, but this is also a budget and capacity issue. So ask yourself the question: What does diversity actually mean for your company or for you personally? Is it more women in positions of responsibility? Does it mean fewer Müllers & Maiers on the team in Germany? Is it more gender balance, ethnic origin, age, sexual orientation …? What kind of diversity is meant and should be pushed, can vary from industry to industry & from company to company, and has to do with different cultures, values and the actual states in organizations. Find your individual way.
3. Define your vision about diversity
After having done some thinking about what diversity at your workplace means to you, it is important to put this down in words, in a company-wide definition or vision of diversity. This provides orientation for all employees and managers and creates transparency about which goals the company wants to achieve with its diversity strategy.
4. Set clear goals & objectives
The goals and objectives of a company’s diversity strategy should be as specific and measurable as possible. Only then can you tell later whether the measures have actually had the desired effect. A SMART approach (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) is particularly helpful here.
5. Make sure everyone is on board
The success of a diversity strategy depends to a large extent on how well it is anchored in the company. To ensure this, it is important that representatives of all management levels are involved in the development and implementation and are convinced of it – starting with the CEO, to executives, HR, etc. You should make a list of all stakeholders to be informed. Also, proactively ask for help, as a project like this can only be managed as a team.
Implementation of activities
6. Name a Diversity Officer or a Diversity Team
For many companies it has proven helpful to appoint a central contact person or even a whole team for all questions concerning diversity. These can be employees from different departments who have already been active in the field of diversity and have a good overview of the company’s structures.
7. Communicate the diversity strategy internally & externally
After the company has defined its vision of diversity and set concrete goals, it is important to communicate these to all employees. This can be done through internal channels such as intranet, e-mail or posters, but also at team meetings or town hall events. Externally, the company’s website or social media channels are suitable for this. In this way, not only current employees learn about the measures, but also applicants and customers get an impression of how seriously the company takes diversity.
8. Train managers & supervisors
An important target group in companies when it comes to implementing a diversity strategy are managers and supervisors. They play a key role in setting an example, creating awareness and anchoring the topic in everyday work. Diversity training courses for these groups are therefore often part of company programs.
9. Introduce flexible working models
Flexible working models offer employees greater freedom in how and when they work. This increases satisfaction and motivation and at the same time contributes
10. Creating an Inclusive Environment
Once you’ve started to increase diversity in your workplace, it’s important to create an environment that is inclusive for all employees. Here are a few things you can do to make your workplace more inclusive:
11. Encourage open communication
Encourage employees to openly communicate with each other about their experiences and perspectives. This will help create a better understanding of the challenges faced by different groups of people and how to overcome them.
12. Promote respect for all employees
Respect is essential in any workplace, but it’s especially important in a diverse environment. Make sure that all employees feel respected, regardless of their background or identity.
13. Offer training on diversity and inclusion
Offer training to all employees on topics related to diversity and inclusion. This will help ensure that everyone is aware of the issues and knows how to avoid inadvertently causing offense.
14. Be open to feedback
Create an environment in which employees feel comfortable giving feedback about their experiences with diversity in the workplace. This will help you identify any areas that need improvement.
15. Celebrate differences
Celebrate the diverse range of backgrounds and identities represented in your workplace. This will help create a positive and inclusive environment for all employees.
Update your recruiting strategy
There are a number of ways companies can go about recruiting diverse employees. Here are a few:
16. Expand your recruiting efforts beyond your usual channels
If you’re only recruiting from the same places, you’re not going to get a diverse pool of candidates. Make an effort to reach out to underrepresented groups, such as women, minorities, and LGBTQ+ individuals. There are a number of online job boards that focus on diversity, such as Diverse Jobs and InHerSight. You can also partner with organizations that focus on diversity in tech, such as Code2040 or Girls Who Code.
17. Review your job descriptions for bias
Your job descriptions might be unintentionally excluding certain groups of people. For example, if you use gendered language (such as “he or she”) or mention specific qualifications that aren’t actually required for the job, you could be dissuading qualified candidates from applying.
18. Be flexible with your hiring requirements
If you’re only considering candidates who have a certain degree or experience level, you’re likely excluding a lot of qualified candidates. Instead, focus on what skills and qualities are actually required for the job, and consider candidates who may not have the usual qualifications but have the potential to be successful in the role.
19. Diversify your interview panel
Your interview panel should reflect the diversity of your company. This will help ensure that all candidates are treated fairly and have an equal opportunity to shine.
20. Ask targeted questions
When interviewing candidates, ask questions that will give you insights into their experiences with diversity. For example, you could ask them about a time when they had to work with someone from a different background or how they would handle a situation in which they were the only person from their group in the room.
21. Be aware of your own biases
We all have unconscious biases that can influence our decision making. It is important to be aware of these biases in order to proactively counteract them, not only during the hiring process. An uncuncios bios training helps uncover one’s own biases.
These are just a few ways companies can attract more diverse applicants. Making a company’s culture more inclusive can be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort. Taking steps to increase diversity and create an inclusive environment not only improves the lives of employees, but makes a company more successful – whether in day-to-day business with customers or through the positive impact on employer branding and your employer branding strategy.
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