Diversity in the workplace brings different groups of people together in a way that makes the best use of individual talents. A diverse workplace makes all employees feel included and welcome, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, income class, education or religion. Your company's diversity readiness is its ability to adapt to a more diverse workforce. If your company isn't open to diversity, any initiatives you want to put into place may fail. By taking stock of your company's diversity readiness, you can lay the framework for a diverse workplace before you dive into training and other policy changes.
Circulate polls, checklists and surveys to reveal how your employees feel about the existing diversity culture in your workplace and general sense of inclusion. For example, ask employees if they feel accepted and how they view the employer's current stance and policies on diversity. Keep responses anonymous to encourage complete honesty so you can accurately evaluate your company's diversity culture. Use the results to identify where your company is succeeding and what you need to fix.
Group Focus Studies
Conduct focus groups in your workplace regarding diversity. You may create a focus group for employees or for regular customers or clients. By observing natural interactions and asking questions that elicit honest answers about diversity and how your company works, you'll gain more insight into where your company stands. Consider arranging for a diversity expert to conduct your focus groups. An outside person who is trained in diversity studies can better analyze information from focus group participants and give you feedback based on their observations.
Complaints made by employees that signal problems with the diversity culture can lead you in the correct direction of specific weak areas. For example, if your human resources department has a number of complaints from employees of one group -- for example, women -- you now know your workplace culture isn't moving forward when it comes to female employees. Review internal complaints and reports made to government bodies -- like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission -- over the last year or two to see what your organization is doing wrong and how deep the problems run.
Your internal policies, such as your hiring and promotion practices, might not promote diversity. Look at your internal procedures to determine whether the practices encourage a diverse workforce. For example, check how your hiring department advertises and vets job candidates. Ask yourself if they're reaching a diverse group of job seekers or appear to only reach candidates from a specific group. You'll need to address internal practices that don't promote diversity if you want your employees to embrace a more diverse workplace.
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