5 Diversity and Inclusion Training Programs for Businesses
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If you want to position your business for success, hire a diverse workforce. Why is diversity in the workplace so crucial? In this article, the experts at Sling answer that question.
Along the way, we’ll show you the benefits you can reap from having diversity in the workplace. We’ll also give you three ways to promote this idea in your business. First, though, we’ll discuss why diversity in the workplace is essential for success.
Before we get too deep into the topic, let’s define diversity in the workplace so that we’re all on the same page. Diversity in the workplace involves hiring people from different cultures, viewpoints, backgrounds, and personalities for your team.
The primary reason why diversity in the workplace is essential for success is because businesses are becoming more global every day. Even within a single country, the opportunity to provide goods and services to diverse ethnic groups is a very real possibility.
There are so many benefits of creating a diverse workforce that we don’t have room to list them all here. Instead, we’ll focus on the top five benefits so that you can get a small idea of what awaits you when you make diversity in the workplace a priority.
At first glance, it can be difficult to see the connection between diversity and employee performance. But when you promote inclusivity and equality in the workplace, your employees will feel happier and more comfortable in their work environment. That translates to higher productivity, increased motivation, and improved employee performance.
Could your team benefit from more skill, talent, and experience? Of course it could. That’s what diversity in the workplace has to offer.
When you hire a broad spectrum of employees from varied backgrounds, you get the skills, talents, and experiences that come with different worldviews. This diversity creates an ideal environment in which your employees can learn from and about each other.
The result? A well-rounded team that can tackle any project you throw their way.
Having trouble finding the right fit for your team? When you prioritize diversity in the workplace, you open the floodgates to a larger talent pool. In return, chances increase that you will find an exceptional candidate to fill your needs.
Diversity also has the added benefit of making your business look attractive to prospective employees and customers. They’ll consider your business progressive, which will, in turn, increase its appeal to people from all walks of life.
If you want to get the creative juices flowing in your business, hire individuals from different backgrounds, experiences, and working styles. This provides an environment in which creativity can flourish.
Cultivating diversity in the workplace creates an environment where ideas can grow based on the unique feedback and suggestions that come from divergent worldviews.
The space in which your business operates is no longer based on geography. With the right product and a simple website, even the smallest business can serve the world.
But as powerful as the internet is, you still have to contend with language barriers and cultural differences. Hiring a diverse team of employees (who speak another language or understand a different culture) helps you overcome these barriers and access a broader client base.
One of the best ways to improve the performance of your team is to offer plenty of learning experiences. And one of the best ways to do that is to build a diverse team. Here’s why diversity in the workplace works so well to help your team learn.
A diverse team is composed of males and females of different ages from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds. Because everyone on your team brings their own unique life lessons to the business, their attitudes, work styles, and abilities will diverge from the “norm.”
This gives everyone on the team an opportunity to see your business from a new and distinct perspective. It also gives them the chance to learn from each other and incorporate this knowledge into the team dynamic.
Take, for example, a team composed of individuals from three different generations (Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials). Both Baby Boomers and Gen Xers can learn a great deal about new technology and how to incorporate it into the workflow and problem-solving process from the tech-savvy Millennial generation.
Likewise, the more laid back Gen Xers and Millennials can learn about the “go-getter” work ethic from the more assertive Baby Boomers.
These learning experiences will help your team — and your business — run smoothly and efficiently regardless of the difficulties it faces.
Problem solving is a major speed bump for most teams. Inefficient problem solving can lead to delays in the workflow, ineffective solutions, and, ultimately, loss of revenue. Why does this occur? Lack of diversity in the workplace.
With a homogenous (non-diverse) team, employees only have access to a limited range of experiences and viewpoints. That can delay them from reaching the best solution, or even prevent them from reaching a solution at all.
But with a heterogeneous (diverse) team, employees have access to a wide range of experiences and viewpoint. They can draw on that knowledge and those life experiences to create more diverse solutions in a shorter amount of time than the homogenous team.
And when you have more options right out of the gate, the problem-solving process runs much smoother and much faster.
Like problem solving, ineffective decision making can cripple your team and cause undue stress and delays.
Your team is faced with myriad decisions every day — from the basic and mundane (the style of font to use in a letter) to the complex and essential (what to bid on a new project).
A diverse team brings a broader range of experience to the table, which allows them to see the consequences that their decisions could have on the business. This improves the decision-making process as a whole and enables your (diverse) team to make more informed choices.
A team that can solve problems faster and make more informed decisions gives your business a significant advantage over your competitors.
That advantage translates into access to deeper insights, improved performance, better quality, and a reputation for success. Those intangibles, when incorporated into any business, lead to increased profits and a better bottom line.
As we discussed, a diverse team will be able to tap into their experience to solve problems faster and make more informed decisions. That leads to those intangibles we mentioned in the last paragraph and the increased profits that are every business’s goal.
Here’s a way to visualize the importance of diversity in the workplace as it applies to profits (the > symbol means “leads to”):
A Diverse Team > Faster Problem Solving & Better Decision Making > Increased Profits
So, as you can see, a more successful business (with increased profits) starts with creating diversity in the workplace.
When you build a diverse team of different sexes, ages, races, and backgrounds, you’re actually putting your business on the path to improved employee retention and reduced employee turnover.
Companies with diversity in the workplace are perceived by their employees as more inclusive of different characteristics and perspectives. This abstract — yet crucial — quality can give your team members a very real sense of acceptance and value. And when employees feel accepted and valued, they’re more likely to be happier overall and want to stay longer with your business.
Reduced employee turnover isn’t just good for the unity of your team; it’s good for the bottom line of your business. When employees stay in their jobs longer, you don’t have to spend the time, energy, and money to find and train replacements.
Getting to know the diverse group of people you work with can lead to improvements in the following essential team variables:
When those variables are in place and running smoothly, your team will benefit from improved employee engagement. Without that engagement, your team can suffer from lack of motivation, high turnover, and poor performance.
Another benefit of diversity in the workplace is the positive reputation your business can enjoy. Companies that dedicate themselves to building and promoting diversity in the workplace are often viewed as:
So if a client has to choose between you and another business in your industry that is all but identical in terms of quality and price point, they will often choose the one with the better reputation (you!). All of that because you took the time and put forth the effort to build diversity in the workplace.
By nature, a diverse team will have more cultural insight than a less diverse team. These insights can open many doors for your business when it comes to a wide range of competitive issues, such as:
When you build your team with diversity in mind, you can harness that cultural insight for the betterment of your business.
A diverse team — and the cultural insight that comes with it — can also reduce negative emotions like racism, sexism, ageism, and homophobia that can infect your company culture and cause serious problems.
Now that we’ve discussed the whys of diversity in the workplace, let’s turn our attention to the hows so you can start promoting it in your business.
Promoting diversity in the workplace may take a bit of work on your part — and even on the part of the business as a whole — but the rewards are well worth the effort.
Up to this point, you may not have given any thought to your business’s diversity. Now it’s time to give it the attention it’s due.
That may require that you start to overcome and change some unconscious biases. In essence, you’ve got to care about increasing diversity and be actively interested in improving the variety within your team.
You may have a diverse team already without realizing it. Get to know everyone on your team, and talk to other team managers. Find out more about your employees’ backgrounds and experiences. You may be able to tap into the diversity you’ve already got or pull from other departments to round out your team.
Employees within your business are always looking for ways to grow, improve, and move up within your organization. Maybe the perfect candidate from another part of your business is looking at your team right now.
But maybe their manager hasn’t thought to make a recommendation based on your past hiring practices. It would be a shame to miss hiring a talented employee because others think you won’t consider them.
You can defuse that time bomb by recommending candidates from your team for other positions within the company. When you begin to recommend employees from different backgrounds and experiences, it shows that you value their work.
When others know that you value hard work and results regardless of whom it comes from, they’ll be more than willing to send the best talent your way.
Diversity in the workplace can take many forms, so don’t try to make your business look like someone else’s. The key is to hire the best employees for your team — regardless of race, nationality, culture, background, beliefs, viewpoints, or personality. When you do this, you set your business on the road to success.
For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.