5 Strategies, Tactics and Traits to Support Diversity in the Modern Workplace

StrategyDriven Diversity and Inclusion Article
 
Whether it’s embracing differing cultural backgrounds or bringing in workers from abroad, modern businesses are becoming more diverse than ever in terms of talent.

However, bear in mind that today’s companies aren’t adopting a sort of “melting pot” mentality “just because.” In fact, there’s a strong argument to be made that embracing more diverse backgrounds is a net positive for modern businesses.

Think about it. Beyond data that supports that more diverse companies reap higher profits, casting a wider net in terms of backgrounds and culture means dipping into a deeper pool of talent. In other words, hiring the absolute best people possible to meet your business’ needs.

Also consider the need to expand into new markets and connect with other cultures from a business standpoint. The more diverse your team, the easier it is to tap into those markets.

And if nothing else, diversity can ultimately lead to a more connected, open-minded workplace. Fresh ideas and perspective can be powerful motivators, if nothing else.

That said, it takes a thoughtful leader with strong attention to detail to ensure a positive, diverse work environment that products results. Below we’ve broken down a list of strategies and traits necessary to make sure that your team thrives while also supporting workplace diversity.

Conduct Individual Check-In’s

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of creating a stronger team is taking the time to understand your workers on an individual level. This is especially true of workers who are coming from abroad.

According to Gallup’s most recent State of the American Workplace, many employees feel like their concerns, strengths and needs completely go over the heads of higher-ups. On the flip side, having stake in your workers’ personal lives alongside their professional ones ultimately makes you more approachable in the long-run.

In other words, take the time to have one-on-ones to understand the motivations of your employees. Perhaps they could only climb the career ladder in a new country. Maybe they regularly send remittance payments to family back home and therefore have a huge stake in their jobs. Either way, regularly one-on-ones create that ever-so-important bond in the office.

Collect Frequent Anonymous Feedback

Consider that not all workers will be so forthcoming in one-on-one meetings, particularly those who might be nervous about concerns over discrimination or bullying.

To address such concerns, collecting anonymous feedback is a must-do for any office. Providing multiple avenues for feedback gives you a more comprehensive view of your teams’ strengths and weaknesses, while also holding workers accountable.

Whether through anonymous email surveys, engagement surveys (think: a employee net promoter score) or a digital suggestion box, you’d be surprised at what you can by asking the right questions. Feedback received from workers serves as valuable insight as you strive to continuously improve your company’s working environment.

Encourage Group Collaboration

Allowing employees to frequently work in groups, whether through an open office setting or on their own terms, is a smart move. This does double duty of helping people from different backgrounds assimilate while also driving home a “team” mentality. Rather than allow departments to become siloed, collaboration can be the catalyst your company needs for fresh ideas.

Be Aware of Bias

The epidemic of unconscious bias in the workplace is a serious issue that is overlooked simply by nature. In short, people don’t realize that they might have biases against someone’s background until it becomes an outright problem. This not only opens companies up to legal trouble, but could ultimately lead to improper treatment of workers which is unacceptable.

Acknowledging bias is a must-do, and anyone found to display bias should be held accountable. A company culture of empathy and open-mindedness is a good starting point, yet also think about biases that occur during hiring such as disregarding someone for their background or perceived lack of experience.

Rethink Your Onboarding Process

A huge factor in making any team member feel welcome and comfortable is how you onboard them. There is no “right” way to onboard employees, but there are ways to ease people into your company without overwhelming them, all the while celebrating their diversity. For example:

  • Introduce your new hires to current team members in “waves,” ideally allowing them to mentor or be shadowed by someone who they can form a working relationship with
  • Convey your company culture of acceptance from the word “go”
  • Make their success a priority, with frequent check-in’s as per usual in addition to giving them multiple points of contact for questions and concerns

While the concept of diversity in the workplace is nothing new, many companies struggle when it comes to adapting to new backgrounds, cultures and experiences. By emphasizing these tactics and traits, you can manage your team with more peace of mind while also embracing diversity.

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