What does it mean to embrace diversity as a business? Basically, you should seek to understand and incorporate people of all cultures, backgrounds, races, religions, socio-economic groups and ages. The world has become more globalized over time, so ensuring you provide a work environment conducive to everyone’s needs is more important than ever before.
A Pew Research Center report predicted there won’t be a single predominant race by 2065. The idea of minority groups will likely cease to exist as the country becomes more and more diverse. In the meantime, brands embracing diversity are on the cutting edge of modern trends. If we’re to survive the next four decades without warring with one another, we must figure out the needs of all.
As a web design company, you have an opportunity to hire people from all across the country to do remote work. You may find it’s easier for you to embrace diversity than some other sectors of the economy where work from home isn’t an option and people are limited to recruiting candidates in a specific geographic location.
Your company has a unique opportunity to change things now. If you’ve noticed some areas where you’re lacking in inclusiveness, here are some ways you can embrace diversity in the workplace and as a brand.
1. Share Knowledge
Every person in your organization comes with a unique perspective and set of skills no one else has. No matter their ethnic or cultural heritage, they have a way of looking at things like no one else does. Some of the knowledge comes from their culture or upbringing, but some comes from life experiences.
Embrace diversity by encouraging people to share their ideas. Create an environment where there are no bad ideas, just opportunities to expand on other’s thoughts. Actively engage everyone and ask for their feedback.
You can also allow for anonymous suggestions for people who might not feel comfortable speaking up in a meeting. Some cultures teach reverence to elders, so a younger individual might feel they shouldn’t talk when leaders are sharing ideas. Allow multiple methods for sharing thoughts to counteract this, such as via text, email, anonymous drop box and within meetings.
2. Outperform Competitors
Seek out a diverse workforce and you’ll do better than your competitors. Studies show businesses with higher diversity also have higher profits. Some studies estimate an increase of 35%, while others around 20%. You’ll have better business performance, a wider range of ideas and higher profit margins.
The key is valuing employees for who they are and what they bring to the table. The color of their skin or how many wrinkles they have shouldn’t matter one bit. All you should care about is how they add to the skillset of your team and if they fit your company culture. Just make sure your company culture is inclusive.
While age and race are two ways to create a diverse workforce, you should also consider overlooked groups, such as those in the LGBTQ+ community or overweight individuals. You might find skills you didn’t expect and a person just waiting on a company to give them a chance.
3. Seek Candidates
One issue you might run into in rural areas is finding a diverse workforce. Unless you live in an urban area with an already diverse population, you may need to think outside the box to find qualified candidates.
Start by having a presence at job fairs. You can even seek out events in larger cities near you and encourage candidates to apply by offering a moving expense allowance and signing bonus. In addition, talk to local universities about offering opportunities to their upcoming graduates. Those just finished college are open to transferring to a new area.
What work can you take remote? You open the window to people from around the globe when you allow employees to work off site. It’s much easier to create a bit of diversity when you can hire from anyplace.
4. Encourage Communication
All businesses benefit from better communication skills. Make them a hallmark of your company culture. A lot of misunderstandings can be solved simply through a conversation.
Encourage team meetings and stand-up chats. Get everyone on the same page and involved in the process. Your workforce won’t remain diverse long if segments of it feel overworked and overlooked. Ensure everyone has a voice in your company.
5. Add Workforce Education
It’s important to educate your workforce on how diversity in the workplace should function. Not everyone comes from the same background and some may have prejudices they don’t realize exist.
Be sensitive to everyone in your employ, though. Coca-Cola recently got itself into hot water with some of the wording in their employee training handbook. Remember true diversity means everyone is appreciated for who they are and what they have to offer. No one should feel less because of their skin color, country of origin, sexual orientation or any other factor.
According to InStride, 92% of business leaders feel it’s vital for businesses to institute education programs to help with diversity. It’s best to bring in experts in how best to approach the program and make sure everyone feels included and comfortable.
6. Hold Scrum Meetings
Daily scrum meetings aren’t just important for diversity but for your company culture as a whole. Make sure you stick to the goals of the business in the meetings. What do you hope to achieve for the day?
Ideally, department heads speak unless a specific employee has something to bring to the table. The meetings should be short and focused. Make sure your leaders are diverse in makeup. They should come from different races, ages and represent the best society has to offer.
7. Build Teams
Team building helps people understand the unique aspects each employee brings and how to relate to one another. Make it a part of your regular schedule to host team building events. The more your staff understands their co-workers, the less misunderstandings there will be.
An annual retreat can even include some classes in diversity and inclusion. Don’t let people gravitate toward those like them when participating in team building. Match the teams up beforehand, making sure they are diverse and represent your company as a whole.
8. Check for Equal Pay
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics still shows a disparity in pay equity, citing women’s wages at only 82% of their male counterparts. The difference was also noticeable between white women, Asians, Blacks and Hispanics.
If you want to embrace diversity, make sure you offer equal pay for equal work. Double check the salary levels of all your employees and make sure you’re being fair. While no one expects an entry-level position to make what an executive does, similar roles deserve the same salaries.
Pay attention to bonus structure, too. Is the system set up fairly? Is the opportunity for bonuses truly available to everyone? For example, a single mom might not have the extra time to put in hours outside of work to complete a company training program. Bring the opportunity to your office during lunch breaks or even part of the workday can equalize things a bit more.
9. Train Leadership
Take the time to invest in diversity awareness training for the leaders in your organization. It’s hard to create a company culture focused on inclusion if your managers don’t embrace the concept.
At a minimum, you should offer an annual refresher on the concepts involved. Make sure there aren’t any underlying prejudices and work to actively seek opportunities for everyone in your company to excel.
If you have an issue with one or more managers not being inclusive, offer additional opportunities for training. You also may need to make some difficult decisions to cut some workers if they won’t comply with company-wide attitudes. You don’t want negative behaviors rubbing off on other leaders or costing you employees you want to keep.
10. Refocus Your Marketing
In the last couple of years, many companies realized their advertising wasn’t very diverse. Their customers were made up of all different types of people, but the marketing didn’t reflect the wide base of clients.
Start with an awareness of whether or not your marketing is diverse. You can add elements to your website, social media and digital ads to ensure you embrace all cultures, religions and lifestyles. Who isn’t well represented in your past efforts? How can you include them moving forward?
Your ads should be as diverse as your customer base. If you only serve one segment of society, there is likely a reason. How can you reach out and embrace other cultures and bring them on board?
Expand Your Personal Circle
People tend to stick with the same acquaintances. You might find your own circle of family and friends isn’t very diverse in beliefs or culture. If you truly want to change your company and become more inclusive, you must start with your own life.
Seek friends from different areas, age groups and with varied interests. Each brings something unique to your life and helps you see the world in a new way. Seek out people who aren’t like-minded, so you can think outside the box.