Diversity is the magic. It is the first manifestation, the first beginning of the differentiation of a thing and of simple identity. The greater the diversity, the greater the perfection. – Thomas Berry
Fostering diversity in the workplace is an ongoing process for most businesses. It can be challenging to move past the stigmas and the prejudices of the past. Yet the research shows that employees want supportive and diverse workplace cultures. They want to be celebrated for their differences and not face harassment or workplace discrimination. This change must come from the leadership of an organization.
Many businesses are trying different approaches to undo cultural, religious, racial, and sexual orientation biases in the workplace. Some of these initiatives have worked, and some have fallen flat. Thomas Reuters has created a Diversity and Inclusion Index analyzing more than 5000 companies and their diversity efforts. To that end, they found that “companies that proactively built and consistently fostered a diverse workplace often financially outperform their peers.” How can your company help minority employees feel appreciated?
- Make a commitment. Major companies like Google, Yahoo, Apple, and others have begun releasing information related to their diversity efforts. This transparency is part of an initiative to showcase they are willing to change and make efforts to include and empower minority employees in the workplace. Change doesn’t happen overnight. And by publicly making this commitment, they are showing the world that they are dedicated to the cause.
- Support events. Cultural events are essential for every minority community. Support minority-led events and invite them to bring them into the workplace, if appropriate. Participating in these events is a great way to show your acceptance of other beliefs.
- Encourage minorities to support one another in the workplace. Networking among minority employees is essential. They have unique experiences and they benefit from the support of one another and allies. Encourage the creation of peer support programs within the workplace.
- Treat all employees as equals. Many workplaces have discriminatory hiring practices in place. It’s time to to extend the same benefits to all.
- Keep learning. Our culture is continually developing and changing. It’s essential to make sure that your business is open to change. Keep up to date on insensitive language, practices, and other patterns so that you can avoid offensive or discriminatory behaviors.
No one should feel harassed or discriminated against because of their differences. It’s time to start making changes that welcome individuality. It can change your company culture for the better and help support those who feel marginalized. Start today to make everyone feel welcome.