One menace that has plagued the corporate world and leadership sector for many decades is the lack of diversity. Opportunities are not visible to everyone and eventually, there are many people who are qualified to be in certain positions but they are unable to access these positions because the work environment don’t embrace diversity.
As a leader, you need to be open and ensure that your company culture and policies create room for diversity and underrepresented people so you can attract unique talent to work with you and collaborate with your company. According to Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers put workplace diversity in consideration when they are applying for jobs. Also, more than half of current employees desire an increased diversity in their workplace. The figures don’t lie. Leaders, now is the time to pay attention to diversity in the workplace.
Encouraging diversity at work entails embracing employees from different spaces and with dynamic features. This includes giving a chance to every kind of employee regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, religion, tribe, and political affiliations. How can this be achieved?
– Have a target audience for internships: one of the many ways you can ensure diversity and access for underrepresented people; not just with your employees but with your leadership is to have targeted recruitments. This is especially true for internships. While it may be difficult for you to consider only diversity when employing, you can make sure diversity is a top priority for your interns. Create internship opportunities for underrepresented groups. This allows people who would not have had a chance when the general recruitment process to be included this time around. And having them as the target shows that you really want them in the company and that you are really interested in having underrepresented people working for you.
– Train your HR and Recruiters to Embrace Diversity in Recruiting: when hiring new talents, make sure diverse people are included. This helps a lot in dealing with unconscious biases. There is a higher chance of fairness and equal assessment when diverse people are included in the decision making process. It is very hard for privileged people to see through their unconscious bias.
Another thing you can do is to train your recruiting team on how to see through unconscious bias and be sensitive. Bias can make even the most experienced recruiter hire the wrong person and ignore a rare talent. This will slow your growth as a company and limit your reach.
– Have a Diversity Friendly Policy and Make it Public: as a leader, you have to make your diversity policy public. When you are making your policies, make sure you consider diversity. You can also review old company policies to see if they are diversity friendly and if they put into consideration underrepresented people. Create room for breaks, leave options, flexible schedules and recreation while putting diversity first.
Also, review your employee benefits. Are they fair to underrepresented people at your company or they are just equal to all? Are the internal teams in the company diversified?
All these need to be considered to ensure that diversity and underrepresented people are top priority in your company.
– Discourage Discrimination at Work: as a leader, you have to always be on the lookout for discrimination and make sure you address it when you see it. The employees (mostly underrepresented people) who bear the brunt of the discrimination don’t often speak up about their challenges. As a leader, you have to always ensure that you discourage discrimination and also make sure your team does the same. Let your workplace have an “all-inclusive” model. Employees should not feel they have to hide some core parts of themselves or pretend to be who they are not just to get accepted at the workplace. Once that sets in, discrimination is already in full swing and should be addressed immediately.
Encouraging diversity is very essential to the growth of your company. And when we consider how the world is and how it is should be, diversity and inclusivity are the right things to do. Most company leaders have ignored this for too long. Be on the side of progress by targeting underrepresented groups for internships, training your recruiters and HR to recognize and see through unconscious bias, and discouraging discrimination at work.