Ideas to Promote Diversity in the Workplace

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According to a report by the University of Florida, diversity in the workplace can positively impact an organization's success by boosting productivity and retention rates, increasing creativity, and reducing lawsuits. As you consider ways to promote diversity in your business, look for opportunities that will help make the workplace a more comfortable, accommodating, and friendly place for employees from all backgrounds.

Spousal Hiring Programs

If you want to promote diversity in your workplace, spousal hiring programs can be used to make a position more attractive for potential candidates. Because employment for a spouse in the same location can be a major consideration for married or committed partners, you can increase recruitment and retention rates by helping find jobs for spouses. If your company is large enough, you can identify internal positions that are appropriate; you can also run a program that uses your business contacts in the area to generate potential job leads. The University of Minnesota's Office for Equity and Diversity uses a Spousal/Partner Hires program to make their workplace more accommodating, thereby reducing some of the barriers to diversity.

Mentoring Program

As you build diversity in your workplace, it is important to provide your employees with the tools they need to excel. Being a member of a minority group in a workplace can be difficult, both socially and professionally. To help employees feel more comfortable as they learn the ropes, set up a mentoring program that pairs a new employee with a more experienced employee. With a mentor, the minority employees can receive the career advice and support they may not have in their personal or professional lives. Mentoring programs also increase collaboration between departments and staff members, making a more trusting, friendly workplace.

Flexible Work Schedules

A common problem when trying to increase gender diversity in the workplace is scheduling. Instead of ruling out female employees who have children or want to have children, make your organization more attractive by offering flexible work schedules; this can also apply to fathers who want to take a more active role in their children's lives. By enabling your employees to take care of their life obligations, you can increase job satisfaction and make the workplace more attractive to a more diverse range of employees.

Diversity Training

In workplaces with a low mix of genders and racial backgrounds, diversity training can help foster an open, welcoming attitude. When you are promoting diversity, make your business more welcoming and understanding by holding seminars that address common problems: religious traditions, racial slurs that might unwittingly hurt other employees, discriminatory jokes, offensive attitudes, and unconscious biases. Encourage conversation and participation with employees in minority groups, and be careful not to accuse or put people on the spot to minimize defensive reactions.

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