Most business leaders understand the value of diversity in the workplace. Bringing people together from different backgrounds can lead to innovation and more effective problem solving, allowing the cumulative life experience of the team to create additional value.
However, when it comes to creating a diverse workplace, not all companies take the right approach. While hiring a diverse staff is certainly an important step, creating an inclusive culture is also vital. Otherwise, not every employee will feel as though they fit in, or are even welcome, and this can be incredibly harmful to the organization’s culture.
If you want to make sure your diversity initiatives are effective, here’s what you need to know.
Don’t Focus on Differences
When many companies work to create a diverse workforce, they concentrate on what makes employees different. They may focus heavily on minority groups based on what sets them apart, an approach that can actually make workers uncomfortable.
Similarly, broadly highlighting what makes minorities valuable can make the majority feel resentful or even fearful, worrying they may be displaced as a means of achieving a diverse staff or that they are somehow to blame for the perceived shortcomings of the company’s current workforce. Additionally, they may be anxious about how they are expected to act at work, leading them to question how they handle every interaction with someone who happens to be in a minority group.
Ultimately, these approaches can promote separation, not togetherness. Over time, a sense of exclusion leads to increased stress levels and may even have employees fearing for their professional survival.
Encourage Social Interactions
As human beings, socializing is a critical part of everyone’s existence. It allows everyone to bond by finding common ground and through pure interaction, creating a sense of connectedness that might not automatically occur through work-oriented encounters.
Plus, those who feel socially excluded are almost guaranteed to struggle, potentially becoming more withdrawn, anxious or aggressive. It can even lead to self-sabotage, especially if they embrace the idea they somehow don’t belong, harming productivity and the quality of their outputs.
By creating opportunities for positive social interactions, such as team lunches or other team-bonding events, you can bring people together. This helps create valuable connections, as each person gets to know their co-workers, making the culture seem more inclusive and welcoming.
Similarly, mentorship programs or assigning new hires a buddy to help them get acclimated can give employees a valuable ally in the company. The person can act as a bridge, helping them connect with more workers and feel secure in their place in the organization.
Ultimately, by crafting an inclusive culture, workplace diversity is easier to achieve and maintain, particularly once it becomes part of your employer brand. If you are interested in learning more about how you can create a workplace that focuses on inclusivity and not just diversity, the professionals at The Advance Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members about your culture goals today and see how our expertise can make it easier to create an inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive.