Workplace diversity goes beyond hiring Millennials and Baby Boomers to do the same job. It's about creating a company culture of different ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations and abilities so that employees appreciate co-worker differences. Brad Karsh, president of Chicago-based JB Training Solutions, works with employers to enhance business skills. He says companies that set and attain workplace diversity goals have productive employees who are happy, career-driven and loyal.
Offer Employee Training
When employees of all abilities, skills, genders and races are given equal training opportunities, employers see an increase in productivity, job satisfaction and company morale, Karsh says. Companies wanting to diversify should offer additional education to employees, such as paid courses from a nearby college or online school, job-enhancement seminars and a strong mentoring program. Employees without proper training have less company loyalty and more workplace frustration, says Douglas N. Silverstein, a Los Angeles-based employment and labor law attorney at Kesluk & Silverstein, P.C. Also, without training, friction between management and employees is more likely.
Put a stop to discrimination by insisting that all executives and managers get harassment and sensitivity training. To create a diverse workplace, the human resources staff should carefully consider candidates who may not be obvious contenders. Women who desire warehouse work, a woman with an accent wanting a sales manager job or a young man applying at a department store make-up counter are examples of people who may not initially seem qualified, but who may possess skills and have life-experiences that are in line with the position. By ending both subtle and obvious discriminatory practices, employers have a better chance at recruiting and retaining the right candidates.
Embrace Employee Differences
Employers who embrace generational, gender and cultural differences have teams with greater synergy. When a team is responsible for creating an advertising campaign appealing to the mass market, for example, it helps to have employees who can bring ideas to the table based on different cultural backgrounds, work and life experience, and job skills. A woman with a learning disability can succeed at a writing job with the help of a tape recorder and extended deadlines; a man in a wheel chair is an efficient delivery man when given the proper vehicle; and an employee from a different country just may be the ticket to scoring a new, global client.
Hire Based on Skill
A diverse workplace culture happens when a company makes a commitment to hire and promote people based on their qualifications and desire to learn, not personality or nepotism. It's not right for a pretty woman without sales experience to get a coveted sales job simply because she's attractive, or a workplace that has a "boys' club" mentality to toss aside applications from qualified women. And, it's crucial to workplace diversity that a qualified, younger-generation manager be considered for an executive position, even though her subordinates will be older. Her tech-savvy knowledge, efficient communication skills and open-to-change attitude can benefit the company's bottom line.
Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.