Tips for Managing Diversity in the Workplace

Jade Hynes
February 3, 2023

When you look at your team do you feel confident you have a diverse group of people?  As a business owner, you have the responsibility to encourage diversity.  In this blog, I’ll be walking through the importance of diversity strategies in implementing diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) policies, and how to recruit diverse talent to bring different perspectives to your organization. 

The Importance of Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity is the practice of including people from different ethnic, cultural and racial backgrounds and, lived experiences. Diversifying your team has benefits, including greater representation internally and externally, increased employee morale, and a focus on reducing harassment. 

Throughout my career, diversity and feeling represented has been pivotal to my success because it has allowed me to contribute and understand multiple perspectives.  When companies commit to developing a more diverse workforce, they open themselves to greater opportunities for growth because you are considering more than one perspective when making business decisions.

5 Tips and Strategies for Managing Diversity in the Workplace 

When it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies, the options can be overwhelming.  In this section, I’ll focus on five things you can do to get the ball rolling.  These strategies will include zero-tolerance policies, behavioral interviewing, implementing diversity training, and encouraging collaboration.

1. Implement Zero-Tolerance Policies 

A zero-tolerance policy means that there is a clear policy in place with predetermined repercussions for violating it.  

To build a zero-tolerance policy, regarding discrimination and anti-harassment  consider the following:

  • Explain your policy requirements clearly to your employees and make sure they know who to direct concerns or reports to.
  • Create an investigation process for when a violation of the policy occurs.  An investigation includes the person or department in charge of conducting investigations gathering the necessary information by speaking with all parties involved, following a uniform documentation process, and evaluating the information.  Generally, your human resources department is responsible for managing this process and documenting and maintaining all records.
  • Follow through with all reports of complaints and occurrences reported.
  • Enforce repercussions when you have determined that a party has violated your policy.

Outline your company’s stance on diversity in the workplace and anti-discrimination and harassment policies and procedures in your employee handbook. Your policies, and their consistent enforcement, demonstrate support for diversity in the workplace and support company compliance by leading by example

2. Invest in Diversity Training For All Employees

Identify the goals of diversity training.  You are looking to unify and educate employees.  Be honest and specific with your intended outcomes.

When introducing diversity training, consider the following – 

  • Create training collateral that is accessible to all employees. This allows team members to reference the information when necessary and acknowledges that different people learn in different ways. 
  • Set expectations with team leaders to schedule and document all attending employees to guarantee your entire organization has been trained. Just like building your zero-tolerance policy,  be clear with your expectations for attendance.
  • Create a safe space for questions. Human Resources should be available to provide resources to ensure employees can seek guidance privately when needed.
  • Establish timelines for follow-up and stick to them. Following up will hold you accountable to your team and demonstrate your ability to prioritize company diversity and inclusion practices. 

3. Include Diversity in the Recruitment Process 

Diversity in your workforce demonstrates a commitment to representation and drives innovation within your team. 

To integrate diversity practices into your recruitment process – 

  • Evaluate opportunities to increase diversity by using metrics and hiring data.  
  • Set measurable diversity goals to influence decision-making.

Behavioral interviewing is an interviewing technique which contributes to more equitable and inclusive hiring practices. In Behavioral interviewing the candidate has the opportunity to demonstrate their potential for success in the job by providing specific examples of how they handled similar situations in the past.  This allows you to recognize transferable skills instead of only focusing on candidates with specific industry experience.

To develop more inclusive hiring practices, evaluate your hiring criteria.  For example, reconsider degree requirements when hiring for specific jobs. To illustrate, states 89.8% of Americans have a high school degree, while only 35% are college graduates.  Exploring that statistic, there is an opportunity to build your pipeline and expand your diversity efforts by hiring candidates without a degree.  Non-degreed employees have untapped potential and have the demonstrable, real-life experience they can leverage on the job.

4. Incorporate Diversity Within Your Company’s Culture 

At Red Clover, one way we model diversity and inclusion is through our core values.  Through our value,  “Got your back”  we create trust and safe spaces between colleagues who provide different perspectives based on their unique lived experiences. If your company is committed to developing more robust DEI practices, reflecting those efforts in your core values – how you expect people to behave at work – is a first step.

5. Encourage Collaboration

One goal of diversity is to leverage collaboration between employees.  Actively encourage people to work together.  Encourage cross-functional collaboration by providing overlapping opportunities to work together and share ideas.

Acknowledge employees have different needs.  A key to collaboration is setting the standard of a judgment-free zone between colleagues.  Identify tools you can use to get granular with each one of your employees’ particular communication styles to foster a better understanding of each other.  We use TriMetrix® assessments to examine the behaviors individuals bring to the job, the motivators that drive them, and their emotional intelligence. 

Need Assistance Managing Diversity in Your Company? 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion bring tremendous value to an organization. However, it can be very challenging to know where to start.  Red Clover has experience in helping companies integrate their commitment to DEI throughout the employee lifecycle; through policy creation, recruitment process overhaul, and communication style assessments and debriefs.  Contact us to learn more.

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A commercial roofing contractor was in hyper growth mode. They had goals to increase their field workforce to expand their service area to additional states and geographical locations. If they were to grow their field workforce, they would also need to increase their administrative, operational and sales headcount to support the additional workload created by increased field work. Additionally, they were challenged in workforce retention and development, experiencing high turnover, and did not have a dedicated Human Resources professional to manage employee relations and compliance issues that come with trying to scale a business.

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