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A diverse workplace consists of employees with a variety of characteristics. A healthy, diverse workplace is one where no employee feels left out because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender assignment, educational background or family status. A fully inclusive and diverse workplace is a more interesting and personally fulfilling environment for all employees who are respected, valued and appreciated.
Workplace diversity is beneficial to all organisations as the greater mix of people brings a greater mix of skills, ideas, perspectives and experiences. This is what makes a business unique, and it is reported that diverse companies outperform non-diverse companies by 35%.
Let’s look at some steps a business can take to encourage a healthy, diverse workplace.
As the diversity in our society increases, employers have a duty to provide a positive workplace for everyone and to value every employee as an individual. Having diversity-friendly policies in place will demonstrate that your company actively welcomes employees from a variety of backgrounds. It will also have a positive effect on your customer base, as many prefer to support a company which demonstrates strong ethics.
Polices should include the following; equal opportunities, harassment, grievance, recruitment, maternity, parental leave, flexible working and equal pay. These will indicate your commitment to promote diversity and tackle discrimination.
To encourage members of under-represented groups to respond to your job advert all advertisements and literature should promote that your company supports diversity. The advert should be posted to a variety of locations to reach a wide audience.
You may wish to outsource the recruitment exercise to a HR specialist company who will be able to screen the applications and submit the most suitable for the role. At this stage, your company may not need to see the applicant’s name, age or ethnicity.
During the interview, more than one person must be on the panel to ensure several views are taken into consideration. Policies must be clear that hiring is based on merit and not quotas.
As one size does not fit all, a company’s benefit package must be diversity-friendly. This may include childcare vouchers and a willingness to allow employers to take time off to celebrate their cultural and religious holidays.
Benefits, such as flexible working should address start times and include possibilities such as working from home and job sharing. For example, this will appeal to working parents or those who care for a family member.
A person’s disability may not have any impact on their ability to work. An employer has an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities to attract and retain a wide range of talented people.
Diversity training for all employees including all levels of management will help to build healthy relationships, decrease harassment and explain legal implications. An effective training programme will teach your employees how to work together and to benefit from each other’s experiences; this will result in a happier, accepting workforce who are able to celebrate their differences.
Drive Positive Change
Many organisations have set up employee network groups and allow employees time to meet up regularly to discuss how improvements can be made to support and encourage diversity. A group representing different diversities has a very powerful voice.
If you wish to discuss any issues raised in this blog please give us a call. We understand that to achieve a successful diverse-rich workplace a business can face many challenges, but equally understand the importance and benefits this brings.
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