Diversity in the workplace is a hot topic these days. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that our society in general is becoming more diverse, or at least more accepting of diversity.
It’s taken some time, but people are finally realizing that even if you’re different, you might have some smart things to say.
Not only that, but their different view can add to what you’re doing, and actually increase your chance of success on any project or task.
There are a few types of diversity in the workplace, so it might make sense to break those down first. Things like age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic background, and sexual orientation are all forms of diversity.
There are many ways to encourage diversity in the workplace, but basically it comes down to treating everyone as equals.
It’s important to understand that there are many smart people out there, regardless of what they look like or how old or young they are.
Emotions like empathy play a huge role in this, and we need to train our leaders to be more accepting and more open.
Facts About Diversity In The Workplace
First, let’s look at a few interesting facts about diversity.
- 321 large global enterprises surveyed in a Forbes study in 2011, 85% agreed or strongly agreed that diversity is crucial to fostering innovation in the workplace.
- People of color own 22.1% of U.S. businesses
- Women own 28.8% of U.S. businesses (with Latina-owned businesses being the fastest growing segment)
- Gay or transgender individuals own approximately 1.4 million of U.S. businesses
Also, a study from Deloitte showed that having a diverse workforce leads to increased market share, which makes sense, since having different backgrounds and ethnicities can help you better market to those consumers.
Ways To Increase Diversity At Work
Let’s look at a few ways that you can increase diversity at work, but again, it comes down to being respectful, and accepting of everyone, and removing any preconceived notions you may have.
It’s important for me to note that you shouldn’t be trying to fill an arbitrary quota, so you only look to hire a certain type of person. I personally think it should be much more organic, and happen more naturally.
1. Have An Equal Opportunity Policy
It all starts with how you view recruiting new candidates. You want to be known as an equal opportunity employer, and you can use the Federal guidelines to help you figure out what to do.
2. Increase Your Talent Pool
You can do things like talk to local churches or community centers to help you reach a wider talent pool from specific groups. There are also websites you can use (like diversityworking.com) to help.
3. Measure Diversity
There’s a saying that goes, you can’t improve what you can’t measure. If you want to improve diversity at your workplace, you need to be measuring it, and finding areas where you can be improving. You can include questions about diversity in your employee engagement survey.
4. Offer Flexible Schedules
Offering flexible schedules is a great way to promote diversity, because it shows that you are willing to accommodate cultural and religious holidays.
Case Study On Diversity: Google
I have to give a lot of respect to Google, for being so transparent, and for opening a dialogue about diversity at their company.
Recently, Google released data from their hiring, and the results weren’t too great.
From the blog post:
Put simply, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity, and it’s hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly
In Google’s defense, and they address this in the blog post, it might be a supply problem more than a demand problem. Google is committed to diversity, and has no reason why they would want to limit workers.
They’ve even developed an algorithm to determine where they can improve on it.
In the post, they mention that women earn roughly 18% of all computer science degrees in the United States. Blacks and Hispanics each make up under 10% of U.S. college grads and each collect fewer than 10% of degrees in CS majors.
We’ve written before about how we need more women in the tech industry, because their opinions and knowledge is invaluable.