4 Strategic Ways to Promote Workplace Diversity

A proactive diversity management program is an integral way of increasing customer satisfaction and employee engagement levels. Properly handling workplace diversity will give companies competitive advantages that will enable them to continually grow and attract and retain the best employees.

Establish a Diversity Committee
This will increase employee buy-in through the influence of proactive, model employees, but also managerial support because they will delegate diversity tasks to employees. The stand-alone diversity committee should be comprised of employees who represent every type of diversity category. However, many companies make the mistake of focusing on a few ethnic groups or another gender, but this not inclusive. The company’s top leadership should have visible roles within the committee and be sure to welcome all employees and opinions. Empower the diversity committee to create a diversity statement and guidelines that are approved by executives and incorporated into strategic goals. Empower the diversity committee to independently coordinate diversity programs like lunches, workshops, guest speakers and community outreach programs.

Establish Strategic Hiring Policies and Practices
Developing a diverse workforce requires deliberate planning and policies. If the hiring pool of candidates does not equally reflect the demographics of the area or clients, be sure to review hiring practices with outside HR consultants. It is also helpful to follow standard diversity hiring practices, such as sourcing from schools and job fairs that cater to certain demographics. Diverse hiring practices should never exclude individuals based on their background, but instead strive to find out how each candidate may contribute to the company. Additionally, sometimes selected candidates do not accept job offers because they have misperceptions about the lack of diversity in the company.

Community Involvement
Many companies encourage employees to participate in civic, local and professional organizations that promote diversity. However, many supervisors may simultaneously refuse requests to adjust work schedules. An easy way to resolve this problem is to allow every employee one paid day off per quarter to participate in an approved community event. This could be anything from a tree planting activity to a library outreach program to an ethnic awareness event. Group employee involvement in these organizations provides networking opportunities, fosters community collaborations and act as free advertising. Community activities will strengthen employee relationships as they learn more about important issues and social problems.

Align Diversity Programs with Strategic Business Plans
The key to long-term diversity program success is to incorporate diversity strategies into overall business strategies. In this way, executives will hold managers accountable, which will increase employee participation and engagement. There must be specific and measurable diversity goals with a diversity mission statement. Every year, executives should release a progress reports that highlights accomplishments and areas for improvement through statistical data. These strategic plans should include quantitative goals with specific timelines and benchmarks for measuring progress. Doing so will create a more inclusive business culture and help HR professionals to recruit and retain talented diverse employees.

In addition to this, use company email and intranets to share updates, post information and solicit feedback from employees.