Creating a Diverse Workforce

February 1, 2022

It is no surprise that organizations across all industries are recommitting or increasing their commitment to DEI. According to an article in Venture Beat, 79% of companies are planning to allocate more budget and resources to DEI in 2022.

However, despite progress and increased investment, some organizations may not achieve the goals aligned with their DEI efforts – for example, improved employer brand positioning and employee satisfaction and retention. While companies may be exerting a lot of effort and making large investments in DEI initiatives, they may be failing in achieving goals for one simple reason – poor communication.

The Venture Beat reveals that studies have shown that companies are communicating with their employees about DEI goals and progress biannually or annually just 30% of the time. In order to keep employees engaged and to foster a culture of trust and transparency, companies need to communicate regularly throughout the year.

Many companies approach DEI with a goal to diversify the hiring process. A good start and a move that will certainly result in a strong ROI. According to a McKinsey report, companies with ethnically and racially diverse management teams were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean.

However, if the company doesn’t have a culture that values diversity – one where everyone is expected to embrace and play a role in fostering a more inclusive environment, not just as an HR function – hiring diverse talent will ultimately backfire.

Training is a key factor in addressing barriers to diversity and inclusion — such as unconscious bias and microaggressions that can make day-to-day life miserable for diverse talent, resulting in angst and mental stress. Companies need to foster a sense of belonging in the workplace, creating space for everyone to feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.

As shared in an article from Harvard Business Review, “Diverse teams are more likely to constantly reexamine facts and remain objective. They may also encourage greater scrutiny of each member’s actions, keeping their joint cognitive resources sharp and vigilant. By breaking up workplace homogeneity, you can allow your employees to become more aware of their own potential biases — entrenched ways of thinking that can otherwise blind them to key information and even lead them to make errors in decision-making processes.”

As companies combat the Great Resignation, improving employee morale to drive retention is critical. According to an article by Indeed, “employees who are part of diverse teams are more likely to find satisfaction in their careers and feel that their teammates and supervisors respect their ideas, skills and talents. A diverse workforce is essential in encouraging and motivating your team to work together and achieve success.”

So, what are the first steps to diversifying your team and fostering diversity within your workplace? According to Forbes, conduct a diversity audit of your current practices, find metrics you need to improve and encourage the use of the social and professional networks of your diverse employees to find new candidates.

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