Diversity is a word thrown around quite a bit lately. But, what does it mean? Diversity is “the practice of including and involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.” The definition is clear. However, many wonder why diversity is imperative, particularly in a workplace.
Well, like their customers, workplaces should be diverse. Diversity in the workplace provides diverse insight on customer wants and needs. It also increases productivity by providing an increase in employee morale and involvement within the business. A diverse workforce also allows for diverse opinions on the products and services that the workplace offers.
How to incorporate diversity into the workplace:
- Policies should reflect diversity and inclusion – Diversity should be worked into the fabric of the organization’s policies and procedures. This indicates a commitment to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the organization.
- Offer diversity and inclusion training regularly – This is not a one-and-done concept. Training should be offered by top-tier professionals in their fields. Training should be provided at no additional cost to the employees and should occur regularly.
- Marketing and communications should depict a diverse workforce – If your workforce sees themselves in your brand, they are more likely to commit to and promote that brand. It also sends a message to customers that diversity is paramount to the organization and decision makers.
- Offer mentorship, women’s groups, committees, taskforces, and boards within your organization – These groups, with the support of the organization, offer employees the opportunity to relate to others with similar experiences and work together for the betterment of the organization and society. This is particularly important in construction skilled trades where women are underrepresented. Providing these groups are a great way for employees to connect and prosper.
- Work with leadership and management – It starts at the top. If the leadership and management do not see the value and necessity of diversity, it will not work. Employees must see and believe that their leadership understands diversity and inclusion.
- Encourage an environment of safety and communication – If employees fear retaliation for their opinions, they will stop offering them. Creating an atmosphere that welcomes all forms of constructive feedback allows employees to feel like an integral part of the business and its success.
- Constantly evaluate and revise your methods – The work is never done. Creating a plan and then forgetting about it does not serve the employees or the business. The plan should be constantly scrutinized and improved based off feedback from employees and leadership.
Diversity is here to stay. Denying diversity in the workplace creates a stagnation that will likely not survive our ever-evolving world. Employees and customers have acknowledged repeatedly their appreciation for diversity in the workplace and the world.
Guest Blogger – Allie Perez founded Texas Women in Trades in 2013, an organization working to bring more women, minorities, and young people to the trades. She also serves as the VP of Marketing and Operations at George Plumbing Co. in San Antonio and on the National Taskforce for Tradeswomen as the Communications Committee Co-Chair. A graduate of New York University, Allie has contributed to trade periodicals for more than seven years. To contact her directly, firstname.lastname@example.org.