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Embrace Diversity: Here’s How to Leverage Differences in the Workplace

Companies that appreciate and celebrate diversity encounter higher levels of innovation and productivity.

embrace diversity

Diversity is not just a passing trend or a corporate buzz word. It is a major factor that sets productive and profitable companies apart from those that ignore this crucial element of a successful corporate environment. 

Companies that appreciate and celebrate diversity among their employees find that innovation is more common and productivity gains are more lasting.

Corporate leaders should consistently assess the levels of diversity in their workplace. This includes races, ethnicities, genders, and backgrounds. These efforts to embrace diversity in the workplace will create an environment where innovation, collaboration, and creativity can thrive. 

Below, you will learn more about how you can embrace diversity in the workplace and reap the many benefits:

Recognizing a Gap Between Management and Employee Perceptions on Diversity

One reason some companies get complacent is that they fail to realize that management and employees will have different perspectives on diversity.  

Management might think they are actively embracing diversity, but the employees could have something different to say. This is why it’s crucial for management to seek feedback from employees – it keeps everyone on the same page.

As a company, you want to prevent that all-too-common disconnect between employee and management when it comes to diversity in the workplace. It should be a priority, even though many don’t see it that way. 

This can be done by keeping communication open at all times. Conduct surveys – these can be anonymous if necessary. Ask questions and tell them that your door is open for suggestions and feedback at all times. Make sure they know that the issue is important to you. 

Looking Beyond the Numbers to Evaluate Employee Engagement

Having a certain percentage of employees representing different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and genders is only the first step towards prioritizing diversity in a company. 

You need to evaluate the actual engagement of employees from all backgrounds in all aspects of the company’s operation. This is the real key to leveraging diversity in the workplace.

Employee engagement is essential to the success of any organization. Highly engaged employees are personally and emotionally invested in the work that they do. They care about results and they pay attention to how it contributes to the company’s mission. 

One way to help engage all employees is to identify and fix any communication barriers that might be holding some people back. Gaps in communication can prevent people from participating meaningfully in their work and understanding feedback.

Recognizing and embracing cultural differences in communication styles is a significant part of encouraging employees to lean in at work.

Establishing a Culture of Employee Retention

People notice when their peers or supervisors leave the company, especially when employee turnover is high. This can have a negative impact on morale and may cause employees to shift their focus. They will be more inclined to pursue other career opportunities instead of focusing on their commitment to the organization. 

This is especially true if employees of diverse backgrounds are unable to see a future for themselves at the company. A lack of diversity in company leadership sends a message to some that advancement will not be available to them. This will also have them looking elsewhere. 

Be deliberate about promoting employees of diverse backgrounds to leadership within the company. This communicates to everyone that there are plenty of opportunities for upward mobility. 

When this happens, employees of diverse backgrounds will model the patterns of managers within their own company who rose through the ranks and view them as potential mentors.

In addition to improving overall employee satisfaction and productivity, reducing employee turnover can help a company’s bottom line. Improving employee retention rates means that companies have lower administrative costs and fewer human resource issues to deal with. 

It also allows employees and management to remain focused on their projects instead of spending time on recruiting and training new employees to replace the ones who left.

Making Opportunities for Employees to Connect

In order to make the most of the creative potential in your diverse workplace, employees need opportunities to engage and interact with each other. Bringing different departments together at times ensures that everyone in the workplace experiences the benefits of collaborating. 

Incorporating a short team-building activity into company meetings is a good place to start. For example, you could have everyone complete a story from a writing prompt generator

Another way for employees to appreciate the diversity throughout their workplace is to create affinity groups for employees from similar backgrounds. 

This shows that company leaders support initiatives to embrace employees of all backgrounds. It also tells them that their unique abilities and perspectives are valuable to the workplace. 

Lastly, It empowers them to embrace their uniqueness and provides a comfortable environment for them to discuss challenges and navigate cultural differences.

The Bottom Line on Embracing Diversity in the Workplace

Companies can harness the full potential of their workforce by fostering diversity. Attracting and retaining employees of diverse backgrounds is only the first step in building and empowering a diverse workforce. 

A commitment to creating a diverse workplace and embracing differences is an ongoing project that requires consistent assessments of a company’s progress.

Corporate leaders must actively create opportunities for employees of diverse backgrounds to climb the corporate ladder and participate in all aspects of the company’s operation.

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