There is a secret to achieving greatness in building a vibrant and growing organization. No, it’s not about using any specific tool or onboarding a third-party team for help in innovation; the employee and their rich background, cultural experiences, and ideas make a company great. However, there are only a handful of organizations that know how to manage diversity in the workplace. But why is it that? The modern-day workplace is a thread of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives and promotes the collective growth of employees and the organization. The majority of the time, hiring managers struggle to hire candidates who can minimize the bridge between unknown cultural experiences. However, for some reason, it turned out that building an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected and driving organizational success is the real challenging part for the recruiters. Some will say that to manage diversity in the workplace, you require a certain level of skills and must have proactive measures, commitment, and openness to change. But is it possible? Let’s explore the question and see how someone can manage diversity in the workplace effectively.
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What are the challenges in managing diversity in the workplace?
1. Unconscious bias:
The majority of the time, hiring managers deal with the issue of interviewers having unconscious bias. The primary reason for this is the lack of proper training and awareness of unconscious bias and its implication on the candidate experience. The unconscious hiring bias is something that can not be removed from the interview permanently, and because of that, hiring managers struggle with their interviewers. These unintentional biases can influence decision-making and impact candidate interviews, which ultimately leads to unfair treatment.
2. Communication Barriers:
Well, a communication barrier is not a technical challenge during an interview; it is more than that. Cultural differences can also create communication gaps, and impact the subject understanding during an interview. If the interviewer and candidate can not properly communicate, then the entire candidate assessment and hiring experience is impacted. The majority of the time, this occurs due to unawareness of the candidate’s culture and background, and it lets the interviewer miscommunicate on certain topics. For example, A global candidate not being aware of the laws of another country, even this simple thing can create miscommunication between the candidate and the interviewer.
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This is something that is a hazard for an organization, as you can not eliminate stereotyping permanently from any hiring process. It clouds judgment and influences decisions based on preconceived notions rather than the actual merit of the candidate. The majority of the time, interviewers are not even aware that they have made a stereotypical remark about the candidate. As these notions sneak into their thoughts, they can be assumptions based on the candidate’s gender, race, age, attire, or background. These invisible barriers hinder the interview process and make the candidate assessment much more complex. In addition, it also affects the candidate’s hiring experience and has an adverse impact on the organization.
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The fourth challenge in managing diversity in the workplace is microaggressions. If I put it simply, these are subtle remarks that the interviewer makes while conducting the interview. Though they are often unintentional, sometimes they can turn into discriminatory remarks or actions that may give a hint of a derogatory message toward the candidate. For example, making fun of something in an interview may sound laughable at the time, but it affects the candidate psychologically. These unnoticed actions significantly impact the candidate’s experience and the perception of the interview process.
What are the methods one should follow to manage diversity in the workplace?
1. Make a diversity and inclusion policy
In order to manage diversity in the workplace, it is highly important to devise a clear diversity and inclusion policy. It involves several key steps in order to ensure that the organization and value & aims to promote an inclusive workplace. However, before starting, the hiring manager should do clear and detailed research about the current work culture, policies, and practices and identify the areas for improvement. Recruiters should choose whatever method suits them the best, whether it is conducting a survey or taking detailed feedback from the employees and the management. This simple process helps in defining the objective and articulating the goals of the organization for improving the candidate experience. In addition, recruiters and policymakers should also introduce occasional reviews of policy to keep up with new developments and changes in the work culture.
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2. The hiring process should be diversified
Hiving a diverse hiring process is a highly important component of recruiting a diverse candidate. To implement this process, the first thing one should do is to evaluate the current practices; assessing recruitment methods and sources will let you identify key areas of improvement. Once that is identified, clear diversity goals for your company might help set the hiring procedure and aim in line. In addition, recruitment channels should also be diversified, for example, taking video interviews and closing hiring decisions through short emails and group chats. The primary factor that will help the most in diversity and inclusion hiring is having a diverse interview panel. If the interview and recruitment panel is diverse, they’ll be able to understand and structured interview much better than anyone.
3. An unconscious bias training should be provided
Unconscious bias: this is something that every organization has trouble with. And all because recruiters not being aware of their surroundings and the cultural differences of the candidate. Unconscious bias training helps the interviewers in conducting the interview without any preconceived notions that may affect the candidate experience in an adverse way. These biases are often formed through social and cultural differences and impact decision-making in candidate selection. With unconscious bias training, interviewers can become aware of biases and ensure that candidates’ assessments are based on their qualifications and skills rather than unconscious prejudices. In addition, it also improves the candidate’s hiring experience, as each candidate goes through a transparent assessment process, giving them plenty of room to perform their best.
4. Create an employee resource group
You see, creating an employee resource group (ERG) is a long shot process and requires several steps and guidelines checks. However, it is an essential component to manage diversity in the workplace, so it must implemented carefully. First thing first, you need to define the objectives and goals of the employee resource group. This will help you in determining if the focus will be on underrepresented groups or a more inclusive approach to candidate hiring. The second thing you need to take care of is gaining support from leadership and securing sponsorship for the employee resource group. This will ensure that ERG has solid backing and key stakeholders responsible for the success and visibility of the organization. The next in the line should be recruiting the core members for the team; you must select individuals from diverse perspectives and backgrounds to ensure that members can make fair decisions. With all this combined together, you can now proceed with the organizational goal and mission and work towards the goal of achieving diversity in your organization.
5. Foster open communication
Managing diversity in the workplace is not an easy task; one of the key challenges in this task is fostering open and honest communication among team members and employees. Here are some of the tips that you can follow in order to make sure there is open & transparent communication among employees.
- First this first, you need to set the tone from the leadership. Involve the leadership in diversity hiring practices and make sure they are actively participating in promotion and the positive effect of having a diverse work culture.
- The second thing is to establish a safe and inclusive space where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.
- Implement some techniques of communication such as forums, discussion groups, and dedicated meetings.
- Raise awareness via various interviewer training methods.
- Organize various seminars and competitions to promote and invite people for a discussion on the importance of diversity in the workplace.
- The last thing should be promoting active listening and encouraging discussion about diversity among teammates. This will ensure that everyone has a chance to speak and be heard and respected for their view.
6. Celebrate diversity
Celebrating diversity is the primary method to promote inclusiveness in the work culture. However, almost everyone asks the same question: how to initiate diversity celebration within a workplace. Well, here are some examples of how organizations can celebrate diversity.
- Celebrate cultural heritage months such as black history month, Hispanic Heritage, Diversity and Inclusivity Months.
- Organize cultural events and celebration events for different regional festivals.
- Potlucks and food day events can bring employees closer and promote positivity around their culture.
- Invite speakers who can educate on the benefits of a diverse work culture.
- Small awareness campaigns, such as social media posts and small video clips, can help understand people about inclusiveness with real-life examples. It is perhaps the best way to promote diversity in the workplace.
7. Lead by examples
Perhaps the one component that either shatters or empowers workplace diversity in a second. Leadership is responsible for everything that is happening within the organization. It is not a norm but a standard as people look up to the leadership; their actions and ideas inspire employees to be their best. Even if you set up everything according to the book, if there is no leadership promoting or backing your campaign to bring awareness about diversity, it is not good. Hence, it is an essential aspect of managing diversity in the workplace. Making leadership the brand ambassador of the diversity campaign is going to bring a lot of changes rapidly. People tend to follow their superiors and improve themselves for the greater good.
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At the end:
So, it is pretty clear that managing diversity in the workplace is not an easy task. It doesn’t just require effective management. However, it requires positive leadership and a will to change the working culture and bring diverse employment within the team. Surely, having a diverse employee base can give a solid boost to innovation and ideas and create a vibrant working culture, promoting an inclusive workplace and bringing new and top talent. However, it is also going to bring several challenges; one of those challenges would be finding a balance between the new team and the old ones. And the reason for this is that we can not expect people to change in a day. Hence, implementing diversity for any organization is going to be a long-term goal, and recruiters will have to educate their proviso employees gradually and try to eliminate unconscious bias.
In the end, if you look at it, managing diversity in the workplace will indeed be a challenging process for recruiters. However, if the leadership and organization come up with a strong decision and prioritize their goal to promote and bring diversity in the workplace, it is going be fruitful, and we can surely see some changes.