How to Build Diversity in An Organization?

April 28, 2021
Kaisa Savola
CEO and Founder

“People are not diverse, but teams and companies must be.”

As we may know, a diverse workforce (in age, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, and gender, etc.) brings diverse viewpoints and perspectives to the company. These elements can subsequently lead to higher revenue, more innovation, better decision making, higher rates of job acceptance when organizations make offers to qualified candidates, and better performance than competitors (Martic, 2019).

Therefore, it is highly recommended for a company to embrace policies, launch initiatives, and design tools to increase levels of diversity among employees. We now present 6 ways to help organizations build diversity in their workplace.

5 Ways To Build Diversity In The Workplace

Hire diverse candidates

To make this happen, organizations need to make their recruiting process more inclusive and appealing to people with different characteristics. Firstly, it is important to make the selection criteria and hiring process transparent. In addition, companies should not make exclusive education or experience a prerequisite. More specifically, if companies are only considering candidates who have graduated from a prestigious school, completed an expensive course, or have experience with costly hardware or software, companies are automatically rejecting scores of people who are probably just as talented, but less privileged.

Moreover, it is worthy to explicitly stating on the job description that the organizations are an equal opportunity employer. This lets the candidates know the organizational culture is concerned about promoting diversity, equity, and inclusivity, and that merits are the most important considerations when hiring a candidate. An employer should also remove personally-identifiable information from submitted applications to reduce gender, age, and racial bias. Finally, during every interview, you should allow each candidate to present themselves as who they are before you jump to conclusions about their skill level, work ethic, abilities, interests, etc.

build diversity in an organization

Foster a company culture where every voice is welcome, heard and respected

Employees need to feel free to express themselves based on their unique perspectives. Thus, companies must make sure employees feel included and respected regardless of their age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, physical conditions, cultural background, or country of origin. Also, when it comes to supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, do not play favorites, practice basic courtesy, and pay special attention to how companies can embrace non-discriminatory practices and policies. In addition, employees feel included when they feel “safe” to voice their concerns and opinions without fear of victimization. The freedom of expression without fear also empowers companies to not just listen to but also actively embrace diverse viewpoints.

Encourage Training & Dialogue All Year Long

To ensure that employees understand the importance of diversity, organizations should develop training that is mandatory for all to complete. This will allow their workforce to be educated on the subject matter and decrease the chances of any unfavorable situations. Besides, the organization should consider creating a safe place online and offline that allows continuing related dialogue. With continued dialogue, companies will truly help their workforce feel connected and included in larger company initiatives and goals. Also, companies will gain insights to understand how best to meet their employees' needs and help them thrive. It is also the leader's job to make sure that everyone knows they are important. When the leader makes people feel important, everyone on the team understands the value of every person. A leader may have to remind team members why a person is important, but every person brings value to the team and organization in many different ways.

build diversity in an organization

Celebrate Diversity

One of the most important ways to show employees that you respect their backgrounds and traditions is to invite them to share those in the workplace. The company promotes diversity in other ways, too, with a meditation or prayer room. It may not be convenient for employers to give up an office; for example, 15 minutes every Friday, so Muslim employees could use it to pray, but the gesture meant so much to those individuals. Creating a permanent space, in fact, provided “that diversity and inclusion piece where people felt they could bring their ‘full selves’ to work,”. ......

Communicate Goals and Measure Progress

Establish and clearly communicate specific, measurable, and time-bound goals as you would with any other strategic aim.

“Every company should first benchmark their culture before they begin investing in it.”

We recommend firstly conduct a full audit of your people processes - from recruiting and hiring to developing and retaining employees – and couple the data with engagement and other workforce survey data to gain a full measure of your climate. Then, identify any shortcomings and measurable discrepancies around diversity in your organization. Thirdly, it is key to instill rigor into diverse strategies with data-driven plans and measure the results. After that, establish a clear business case for how the company will benefit by having a more diverse culture by asking:

-       What are our diversity goals?

-       What are the reasons for those goals?

-       How do we quantify diversity?  

-       How will diversity impact our mission, brand, or bottom line?

Once you answer these questions, you have started the journey toward a more diverse corporate culture and make diverse a ‘verb’ versus an ideal.

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