Managing diversity in the workplace is not about race, gender or national origins; it is a wide range of ideas and experiences, all which add up to higher productivity and engagement.
Workplace diversity is more than just gender or race; it is variety of ideas. Diversity (and the way companies handle diversity) can directly affect performance.
Every person offers something unique to the job, defined by a range of unique experiences, viewpoints and personalities.
To achieve the highest level of efficiency, the human resources professional must learn how to deal with every worker based on his or her situation.
Managing diversity is not about preferential treatment. It starts with awareness and sensitivity to how employees interact, as well as addressing things that could lead to on-the-job conflicts.
The heart of managing diversity is communication. Every employee should know his or her role in many of the issues relating to the company—goals, objectives, policies, corporate values and best practices. This includes accepting diversity as a corporate value.
Enact Positive Changes
Managing diversity begins with positive changes. This is best accomplished with teamwork.
Managers must remain consistent in practice. This is especially true when making necessary changes to address needs of different groups.
On way to make this easier is to discuss all changes in practices, custom and culture. Make it clear that the goal is to reach each employee’s full potential.
Create Diverse Teams
On every project, form a group of employees with the necessary qualifications and skills using members from each group. Give every team member a complete job description, expectations and goals.
Appoint a team leader, and one other person to assist the leader in mediating any problems. This creates an environment for everyone to learn from one another.
Develop a Company Handbook making Diversity a Priority
Employee handbooks should be available for each employee to read and sign. In the handbook, clearly state strong company values of respect, tolerance and patience. Expect nothing less from every employee, in all positions.
Decide before-hand what punishment will be for violations. Always be consistent in discipline.
Make Employees Accountable
Make every person accountable to the company, supervisors and team leaders. Team members should each have different responsibilities to complete the project. When employees are given individual responsibilities, they feel they are contributing individually to the success of the project. This gives them a sense of value to the company, the team and themselves.
Other helpful workplace diversity tips:
- Have regular staff meetings either weekly or monthly. Each employee should have the opportunity to speak up, as well as fill out a confidential survey about how he or she feels about the company, policies and best practices.
- Every supervisor and manager should have an open-door policy. Make sure employees are comfortable discussing issues early, before they become serious concerns.
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