5 Ways to Promote Workplace Diversity

StrategyDriven Diversity and Inclusion Article | 5 Ways to Promote Workplace Diversity

A diverse workplace is inclusive and ensures equal opportunities and rights for all staff members, regardless of their color, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical ability, religious beliefs, and more. It should be free of harassment and discrimination. A diverse, multicultural workplace permits new processes and ideas. This talent diversity means broader skills range among workers and perspective and experience diversity, which boosts the potential for high productivity.

A company with a diverse work environment is deemed a better employer, and prospective employees want employers who treat their staff members fairly while accepting and being tolerant of different backgrounds. Here are five ways to promote workplace diversity.

Invest in diversity training

Diversity training programs increase participants’ awareness regarding various diversities, appreciate the differences among colleagues, and offer strategies and knowledge to improve employees’ communication and interpersonal skills to create a positive work environment. Diversity training helps organizations prevent civil rights violations, promote better teamwork and develop a more inclusive workplace while increasing the inclusion of various diversity groups.

Investing in diversity training for your staff enables you to attract talent while maximizing company profits, adhere to the organization’s legal and moral standards, and disseminate information concerning organizational policies and diversity-related concerns. You can hire a certified professional diversity coach or let your managers get diversity coaching certification and then train the employees.

Establish diversity mentoring programs

Minorities in a workplace usually experience many challenges, including development and growth. With a diversity mentoring program, you can help overcome these difficulties. A diversity mentorship program provides encouragement, support, and a listening ear to employee concerns while creating a connection with other team members.

When mentees learn new skills via their mentor’s expertise and knowledge, it becomes easier for them to thrive. Diversity mentorship programs give employees a sense of inclusion and belonging, expand a company’s talent pool, promote innovation and teamwork, and increase productivity.

Develop more inclusive workplace practices and policies

As you embrace workplace diversity, consider conducting a comprehensive workplace evaluation and current practices to determine how inclusive your company is. Start by amending the existing policies and practices, including performance and recruitment assessments and promotions, to facilitate diversity. You may also extend an alternative for flexible work hours, allow your workers to take off days for religious holidays your company doesn’t officially observe, and more.

Create cultural awareness opportunities

Companies with more than offices in another country, state, or within the same region should let their employees learn about various cultures by sending them to different locations for long or short assignments. This allows them to know their co-workers better and the environment they work and live in.

Alternatively, you can organize volunteer opportunities for your workers to interact with people from different backgrounds, including visiting the disadvantaged, assisting at an immigration center, and more. This can give them a different perspective on issues while broadening their horizons for interacting and working with people from diverse backgrounds. It’s also a great chance for team bonding.

Hold cultural activities and events

Organizing workplace diversity activities is a fun way to embrace inclusivity. Consider celebrating specific diversity days by recognizing them in your organization by publishing details about them, why they matter, and how you’ll observe them. Your organization may also sponsor diverse events in the community, like fairs, parades, concerts, and more.


A diverse work environment benefits from various perspectives, more innovations, high employee engagement, better decision-making, and more. Use these tips to make your workplace more inclusive.

How To Keep Your Employees Happy

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article |Employee Culture|How To Keep Your Employees Happy If you are keen to grow your business, there will most likely come a time when you are no longer able to do everything by yourself, and you will need to hire people to help you. This is an exciting time, but there is a lot to consider before you take anyone on. Apart from the obvious need to be able to pay everyone on time each month or week, you also need to make sure that your employees are happy.

Happy employees are more loyal, more productive, and more healthy than those who are unhappy in their jobs. It makes sense to keep your employees as happy as possible, and here are some of the ways to do it.

Keep Them Involved

Something that can often cause employees to feel unhappy is when they don’t feel involved in the business. Although as a boss you may not want to tell everyone what is happening all of the time, it is wise to keep them informed of the details that do involve them, or that they might be able to help with.

When you let people know what is happening around and within the business, they will feel more involved, and they will also feel more like part of a team. They will be more engaged in the business, and will often work harder, coming up with ideas to help if they know what issues or plans you are dealing with.

One way to do this is to send out a weekly email to everyone, detailing anything that might have happened that they need to be aware of. Alternatively, you could plan a meeting once a week where these details are discussed.

A Comfortable Office

Unless your employees work from home, you are going to need to have a comfortable office space for them to work in. It should be large enough for everyone to have their own space if need be, and include meetings room if you often have to host meetings for clients, staff, or suppliers.

Sunlight is another important factor; the more sunlight people can be in contact with, the better. It keeps them happy, but also keeps them healthy so they will take fewer sick days, and your business won’t be disrupted. Make sure there are windows in your office, or that your employees can go outside for breaks.

Ergonomic furniture such as chairs and desks, plenty of breaks throughout the day in a real break room, and an office that is clean and tidy in a good location that is easy to get to is also to be considered. Serviced offices can be the ideal way to find the right space, and you can view more here to see what is on offer.

Give Them The Right Tools

Employees want to do their job, and they want to do it well. For this to happen, they will need the right tools and equipment. If you don’t provide what they need, not only will they not be able to do their job, but they will feel unhappy in general, and they won’t want to stay with the company. Hiring new people is an expense in terms of both money and time, and keeping your current employees is a much better option.

Each different person will need different tools for their job, so make sure that you have these in place for when the role is filled. If anything is missing, make sure that your employees are happy to let you know, and that you can get what they need as soon as possible, within reason.

Don’t Give Them Big Goals To Reach

It’s important that your employees have goals that will enhance the business, but if you give them too many tasks to complete or goals that are too big, they will feel overwhelmed and unhappy. Even if they are capable of doing the work, they may not feel that you are listening to them, and they could become unproductive anyway.

The best way to ensure that everyone is happy and not being given too much to handle at work is to break everything down into smaller pieces. That way, the jobs will be more readily completed, and the sense of achievement that comes with this will push the employee to do even more, to be proud of themselves, and to be happy in their work.

Recognize Their Progress

If someone who works for you is doing a good job, let them know. They will appreciate the fact that you have noticed what they are doing, and this will usually make them work even harder, going above and beyond what has been asked of them.

When you acknowledge someone, do it in a way that will make them feel comfortable. They might like others to know what they have done so that you can call them out in front of their colleagues. They might prefer a quiet chat in your office behind closed doors. They might like to receive a store coupon or a voucher for a nice meal out. Everyone is different, so knowing your employees is important.

Trust Them

When employees know that you trust them, they will be much happier in their work. You can show your trust by delegating tasks to them; this proves that you believe your employees can do the work that you would normally do, and this is an important step.

Remember not to micromanage when you delegate, as this will have the opposite effect, and could upset your employees. Let them get on with the task at hand, and if they have any problems or issues ensure they know they can come to you with questions and ask for advice.

Even if you have no tasks to delegate, or you don’t think your staff is ready to do the work just yet, asking their opinion about something can be just as effective a way of showing your trust. You don’t have to implement all of their ideas, but asking is a good first step.

The One Strategic Mistake Your Company is Likely Making

Do you know what your company’s core values are?

You know, those ten to fifteen statements that are supposed to be the guiding principles that dictate the behavior and actions of your company? The foundation from which you are supposed to be ‘Built to Last’ and help you make your most important decisions? Could you recite them out loud right now without looking them up?

I didn’t think so.

Chances are your CEO can’t either. And I think that’s pretty sad. It’s part of the reason why most companies are mediocre. Most people, like your CEO, would say that having core values in business is important. However, very few are actually living them… not because they don’t have any but because of the opposite – they have too many. People can’t remember them all and so they forget. And if you forget what your core values are then you aren’t making decisions using them.

Stop confusing people.

Steve Jobs said it best: “Marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world. It’s a very noisy world… And so we have to be really clear on what we want [the world] to know about us.” And it’s not just about marketing. It’s everything. Your core value should be the lens through which you see the world and make all important choices. By having fifteen “core” values that nobody remembers, you’re needlessly complicating things for your constituents over who you are, what decisions are best for the business, and how to talk about your company. You’re confusing your team and everyone else around you.

What’s the solution?

Get it down to One Word. Whether it’s #Innovation (3M), #Love (Starbucks), or #Health (CVS), having a single guiding value helps communicate to your team, your customers, and the world what you stand for. It also helps make the big decisions easier like being one of the first big companies to stand up for gay marriage (Starbucks, #Love) or walking away from $2 billion in annual tobacco sales because it doesn’t align with your One Word core value (CVS, #Health).

This might be painful.

If you’re at an organization that hasn’t ever really dug into what’s most important then turning those fifteen core values from a plaque on a wall to an actionable, meaningful One Word, will be difficult. People will disagree. Some may quit. Others might be asked to move on. But until companies start looking beyond the resume, beyond the skills, and start looking at do our people’s values match up with what we stand for as an organization, then all the other strategies and tactics won’t save your business.

Get your One Word right. Apply it as the operating philosophy through which your entire company is run. Give your team, customers, and investors something to actually be proud of. And watch your culture, impact, and profits soar.

About the Author

Evan Carmichael is the author of Your One Word (December 6, 2016), and he also coaches entrepreneurs for peak performance. At 19, he built then sold a biotech software company. At 22, he was helping raise $500k to $15mil. He has been interviewed or featured as an entrepreneur expert in The New York Times,The Wall St. Journal, Forbes, Mashable, and elsewhere. He now runs, a popular website for entrepreneurs. He speaks globally and is based in Toronto. You can find him on Twitter @EvanCarmichael.

Corporate Cultures – Identifying Your Organization’s Real Values

StrategyDriven Corporate Cultures Article | Corporate Cultures - Identifying Your Organization’s Real ValuesWhile many organizations publish value statements, they tend to be rather general and lofty, indistinguishable for those of most other organizations. Other organizations have no values statement at all. Either circumstance makes it difficult for cultural analysts to divine where on the each value’s spectrum the organization resides and to ascertain the alignment between individual organizational groups to the values because of this lack of definition specificity.[wcm_restrict plans=”60689, 25542, 25653″]

So what are your organization’s specific values?

An organization’s values and beliefs, whether written or stated, leave residual artifacts that assessors can use to divine the very specific cultural traits against which evaluations can be performed.

Documented Artifacts

Documented artifacts are easier to identify and use for values determination; typically including:

  • Organizational mission, values, and goals statements
  • Standards and exceptions documents
  • Policies, particularly focused on:
    • Individual performance evaluation goals and topics
    • Promotions / advancements criteria
    • Rewards and recognitions criteria
    • Talent acquisition assessment criteria
    • Standard initiative / project performance goals and evaluation areas
  • Individual and group performance goals
  • Strategic initiatives and accompanying plan components and management mechanisms
  • Organizational performance metrics (what gets measured and what doesn’t)

When seeking to identify what the organization’s values from these documents, look for commonality among results to be achieved and the methods by which they are to be achieved. Additionally, look for the absence of lower tiered support (standards, policies, initiatives, and metrics) for the documented mission, values, and goals statements. Collectively, these two reviews will reveal the what and how of the organization’s being which in turn reflects what it values.


Many organizations state a topical value of customer satisfaction. However, those organizations with no standards, policies, initiatives, or metrics focused on customer satisfaction likely don’t value it (stated, not real value). Those possessing one or more customer satisfaction artifacts do possess the value to some degree the determination of which can be the subject of an organizational culture evaluation.

Undocumented Artifacts

Undocumented or spoken values are more difficult to ascertain. These tend to reside within decisions based on management judgment. Such decisions are most readily apparent in employee performance evaluations, promotions, and rewards and recognition awards though can also be associated with operational decisions. Initial information gathering associated with undocumented values includes workforce interviews and communications activity (meetings, supervisory feedback sessions, tailgates and prejob briefings, etcetera) observations. Reviewing these decision communications and any available documented artifacts often reveals true organizational values beyond those specifically documented.

Final Thoughts…

It should be understood that identifying an organization’s values is not a determination of where on the individual value’s continuum the organization’s culture lies. Rather, this determination provides the starting point list of values for that cultural analyses to be performed. (See Corporate Cultures articles, Why Policies Don’t Match Actions and Evaluating Organizational Culture, part 1)

Identifying an organization’s actual values list can also be used to pinpoint gaps to performance excellence. Some common corporate cultures, such as safety culture and diversity and inclusion, are well researched and documented. Comparing the organization’s identified values against these available lists may reveal opportunities to further enhance the corporate culture.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember plans=”60689, 25542, 25653″]

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About the Author

Nathan Ives, StrategyDriven Principal is a StrategyDriven Principal and Host of the StrategyDriven Podcast. For over twenty years, he has served as trusted advisor to executives and managers at dozens of Fortune 500 and smaller companies in the areas of management effectiveness, organizational development, and process improvement. To read Nathan’s complete biography, click here.

The Advisor’s Corner – Can Ethics Be Learned?

Can Ethics Be Learned?Question:

Can you teach ethics, or are we ‘hard wired’ and born with or without ethics?

StrategyDriven Response: (by Roxi Hewertson, StrategyDriven Principal Contributor)

YES you can teach the principles and importance of ethics. YES, you can model the ethics you expect within your culture. And… NO, you cannot be sure someone will behave and act in ethical ways just because you’ve taught or modeled ethics for them.

NO, we are not born with a particular set of ethics of what is right and what is wrong in every context.

And here’s why…

Whatever society you live within, its culture, your family, your peers, and the reward and punishment experiences you receive from all of them, shape your ethics. For example, consider China’s one baby ‘recommendation’ versus the Catholic Church’s no birth control edict. Each entity, made up of people, operating within their own culture, thinks they are doing the ‘right’ thing for the ‘right’ reasons. Therefore, what’s ethical in China is not ethical in Rome and vice versa.

We are so quick to pass judgment on other cultures’ ethics and ways of living and being that we might even convince ourselves that ‘those people’ whomever they are, are dead wrong, period. The reality is, their ethics are wrong based on your ethics. It’s just not as simple as we’d prefer it to be. This makes judgment about what is right and wrong a very personal issue and that means we aren’t born with ethics; we learn ethics.

Our personal values are formed in early family life and evolve as we get older. We might challenge our parents’ or cultural values or keep them. We may have an experience that shapes us and alters what matters most. Different stages of life may affect what we will ‘fall on our swords’ for.

And those values, whatever they are, drive our behaviors, even unconsciously at times.

For example: if integrity is high on my values list, I will pay far more attention to ethics than if my highest value is wealth. It’s that simple. And… If integrity and wealth are both on my top 5, then I will behave very differently in my business dealings than if they are not together in the top 5.

One more example:

Think about the ‘mafia.’ There are entirely different sets of ethical standards and ‘rules’ driven by different values and relationships. For ‘family’ life is precious. For strangers, life is indifferent. For enemies, life is worthless.

I believe we all know right from wrong within our own system and culture unless we have a very real mental health disorder that distorts reality. It is also clear that what is right for one culture, family, or society can be totally wrong for another. So if we are going to talk about ‘ethics’ we need to consider ethics within a cultural context and determine how much flexibility the culture we live within is going to permit before we deem something unethical.

In our workplaces, what is not acceptable behavior needs to be very explicit to everyone for all of the reasons we’ve just considered. If you want a workplace where your values and principles are honored and matter, then you must be crystal clear about what that means in decision-making, communications, and for managing relationships with people both inside and outside the organization.

About the Author

Roxi HewertsonLeadership authority Roxana (Roxi) Hewertson is a no-nonsense business veteran revered for her nuts-and-bolts, tell-it-like-it-is approach and practical, out-of-the-box insights that help both emerging and expert managers, executives and owners boost quantifiable job performance in various mission critical facets of business. Through, Roxi — “the Dear Abby of Leadership” — imparts invaluable free advice to managers and leaders at all levels, from the bullpen to the boardroom, to help them solve problems, become more effective and realize a higher measure of business and career success.

The StrategyDriven website was created to provide members of our community with insights to the actions that help create the shared vision, focus, and commitment needed to improve organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results. We look forward to answering your strategic planning and tactical business execution questions. Please email your questions to [email protected].