The rise in remote work after COVID-19 has created an opportunity for businesses to start a more diverse and inclusive culture. Here's why it is important and how to promote it.
Now, more than ever, there is an opportunity for businesses reopening after the COVID-19 to start a new workplace culture. A culture of respect, diversity, and equality is the best way to go as the rise in remote work creates an opportunity for companies to hire employees of different backgrounds and characteristics.
By creating a diverse and equal workplace, your company will be able to draw on a wide range of ideas from a workforce full of different skills, knowledge, and experience. More importantly, you will be able to guarantee equal opportunity and respect for employees regardless of their country, race, or religion.
For companies to effectively promote equality and diversity in their workplace, they must first understand the benefits of fostering respect and equal opportunity for all employees. This leads to the question:
Why is it important to build an equal and diversified workplace?
Here are five reasons why it is essential to build an equal and diversified workplace:
- Talents want a diversified workplace: A study by Ziprecruiter reveals that more than 86% of job seekers consider diversity a crucial factor when seeking employment. This shows that having a diverse workplace is key to attracting the best talents as it indicates that your organization values people of different backgrounds and treats them equally.
- Attract a diverse customer base: These days, employees are likely to interact professionally with customers and clients of different cultural backgrounds. A diverse workplace will be more equipped to handle this as employees will find it much easier to engage a broader range of clients. This improves your company chances of entering new markets and capturing new customers.
- Lead to business growth: Companies with a diverse workforce are likely to experience more business growth than companies without. According to a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study, companies with diverse management teams bring in 19% more revenue due to innovation. This finding proves that diversity of minds, experience, and ideas is an important part of a successful business.
- Improve retention rate: When employees feel their individual performance is valued, they are likely to stay with a company for a long time. According to a Kaporcenter survey, 40% of employees who voluntarily left their job cited unfairness in the form of harassment and bullying as the major reason they left. Fostering a sense of belonging in an organization will prevent harassment and prevent talents from leaving your workforce.
- Increase employee engagement: A great workplace culture leads to engaged employees, who are high-performing and 21% more productive than the average employee. According to a Deloitte study, 80% of millennials are actively engaged only when they feel their organization values a diverse and inclusive culture. Therefore, diversifying the workplaces is an impactful way to increase your employee engagement.
Now that we know the benefits of promoting equality and diversity in our workplace, let's look at the best ways to achieve it.
4 ways to promote equality and diversity at workplace
1. Educate managers and employees on equality and diversity
Many managers and employees may not understand the importance of workplace diversity if they share similar backgrounds and characteristics. This could create unintentional bias in the workplace and lead to others being treated differently.
Using a top-down approach, companies can solve this by equipping managers with the skills needed to manage a diverse team. Organizing cultural and sensitivity training for them is one way of helping managers understand how to manage a diverse group of employees. The training should be extended to employees so they would know how to treat their colleagues fairly and with respect.
2. Create an equality and diversity policy
As companies, especially ASEAN, move to become more diverse and inclusive, there is a need to have a policy in place to guide them through this transition. This policy will apply to every employee to guarantee equal opportunity for everyone and prevent workplace discrimination.
An equality and diversity policy should specifically outline how the regulations apply in areas like recruitment, employee development, and promotion. It should also state the disciplinary action violators will face deterring anyone from disobeying. It should be handed out along with the Employee Handbook during the onboarding process.
Creating a policy about equality and diversity is not enough, companies have to follow-through with and make sure the regulations are strictly adhered to.
First, managers are to set examples by following the regulations in the policy. Next, they are to regularly monitor the application of the policy and follow through with consequences when employees display unacceptable behaviours. Lastly, managers are to regularly review the guidelines by conducting surveys among employees to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy.
3. Encourage communication and feedback
Employees should be encouraged to meet their managers if they are treated differently or discriminated against based on their background or characteristic. Managers should also play their part by opening up direct communication channels with employees and regularly asking for feedback. More importantly, managers are to ensure that employees’ concerns are addressed and feedback is given for every complaint.
Companies can promote this direct communication between managers and employees by implementing an open door policy. This policy will help your company build a culture of trust, communication, and feedback.
4. Assign mentors to employees
Research has shown a key component to making your diversity program work is having a mentorship program in place. Potential employees regardless of age, race, sex, or other factors should be assigned a mentor to ensure that they all have equal opportunity and access to development. With a chance to learn directly from more experienced colleagues, employees can get professional advice, connect as a team and develop their potential.
For companies without mentor programs, there are other ways of developing employees.
Companies can support employee development by connecting them to groups dedicated to professional growth. Also, top executives in the organization should be a reflection of the diversity the company hopes to achieve so employees will be inspired to work harder.
Get started with our free Equality and diversity policy template
Ready to implement this practice at your workplace? You can download our free Equality and diversity policy template right here. This policy is key to creating a diverse workforce full of different skills, knowledge, and experience. By promoting equal opportunities in areas like recruitment, training, and promotion, your managers and employees will treat each other with respect thereby fostering the growth of the organization.