Diversity and Inclusion: The First Step of Many
How Diverse Workforces Don’t End With Hiring
As we continue to teeter along the precipice of massive social and political change, and in an effort to better reflect the general populous – more and more companies and sectors are taking the necessary and much needed steps to increase diversity and inclusion in their workplaces.
To get directly to the point: Diversity in the workplace is a key to successful businesses. Not only does diversifying a workforce better reflect society and indicate a level of corporate sensitivity towards a customer and consumer base, but it also makes for a better business practice overall. By opening a workforce to a variety of different racial backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, abilities, behaviours and beliefs, workplaces are also opening themselves up for a diversity in thought, perspective, and collaborative problem-solving skillsets. They further open themselves to customer connection, employee motivation, quality improvement and more rounded training practices.
What is important to remember when working to further diversify a workplace is that there is no sure-fire single way to tackle it. Though it may seem like a good start, diversity and inclusion does not stop once the hiring process has been adjusted and after the hire has been made. The act of promoting diversity in the workplace is not the same as executing it successfully. It is more than tokenism, more than a quota to be filled or “boxes to be checked”, and more than a passing trend. Quite simply: diversity and inclusion is not something that needs to be continuously debated – it is an opportunity that needs to be put into action and actively tackled.
The act of inclusion is a long-term dedication to evolving alongside necessary changes in the hiring process. It is the willingness not only to diversify the initial candidate hiring pool, but to create a workplace that is wholly inclusive for a variety of different employees, with strategies to retain said employees and dismantle and rebuild old business mindsets and structures. It is the inclusion of diversity not only in the employee pool, but amidst executives, CEOs, leaders and boards. It is the day-to-day effort to create a healthy, accepting environment for employees and working constantly to eliminate unconscious bias, lumping individuals into categories, and workplace harassment.
In order to encourage and retain diverse hires, businesses must be willing to change and adapt, not only in how they search for said individuals, but in how they organize the workplace overall. This can come in a variety of different forms, including training, the formation of diversity boards, and providing more accommodations. For example, our current situation has demonstrated that remote work is not only achievable, but dynamic and flexible in its results. By continuing to offer the option of remote work even after we begin to re-adapt to a post-COVID world, businesses will be opening further options for accommodation, increasing their hiring pools and giving chances to good employees who may not have otherwise been considered.
Like anything else, businesses should be reflections of society they are in – colourful, diverse and dynamic. The act of diversifying workplaces is not easy, but it is reasonable to say that, now more than ever, it is fundamental.