At work, we often talk about diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender. But there’s another kind of diversity that’s just as important—one that has to do with the way people think and see the world.
This type of diversity is called “deep-level diversity,” and it refers to the differences in people’s values, beliefs, and perspectives.
Deep-level diversity can be a source of creativity and innovation in the workplace. When people with different deep-level diversity are brought together, they can challenge each other’s assumptions and come up with new and better ideas.
At AllyBot, we’re setting out to create the most inclusive workplace possible. We believe that deep-level diversity is an essential part of that goal. So without further ado, here are some ways to create a more deep-level diverse workplace.
What is diversity in the workplace?
First things first, let’s get the differences out of the way.
- Surface-level diversity is what we usually think of when we talk about diversity in the workplace. This includes demographic characteristics like race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.
- Deep-level diversity goes beyond demographics; they’re non-observable. It includes things like values, beliefs, and perspectives. People with different deep-level diversity can challenge each other’s assumptions and come up with new and better ideas.
- Hidden diversity is a type of deep-level diversity that are traits that may be concealed or revealed at an individual’s discretion – like sexual orientation, a hidden disability (such as a mental illness or chronic disease), mixed racial heritage, or socioeconomic status.
Benefits of a truly diverse & inclusive workplace
- Better productivity. Your employees will perform better in the workplace when they feel psychologically safe. Besides having a strong leader and empathetic work culture, people need to feel like they belong. An Accenture report revealed that psychological safety at work resulted in 50% more productivity, 27% reduction in turnover, and 29% more life satisfaction. Ain’t that something?
- More engagement. That same report also showed that a psychologically safe work environment boosted employee engagement by 76% with a 67% higher probability that a worker will apply a newly learned skill on the job. If your employees don’t feel like they belong, their interpersonal interactions will take a hit – which affects the productivity and momentum of the entire work group.
- Breed innovation. When you welcome deep-level diversity, you welcome different experiences and perspectives to be directed toward your company goals. A deep dive by Josh Bersin and Deloitte found that small businesses were almost twice as likely to be innovation leaders in their market.
All in all, you enjoy a competitive edge with a more diverse workforce because your team is likely to perform better, make more strategic decisions, become better leaders, and ultimately earn more revenue.
How to promote deep-level diversity for a more inclusive workplace
The good news is that there are many things you can do to create a more inclusive workplace. These are just a few of the things that have worked for us:
Educate yourself and your team on microaggressions.
A microaggression is a subtle but offensive comment or action directed at a minority or marginalized group. They’re often unintentional, but that doesn’t make them any less hurtful.
They’re often so subtle that they can be hard to spot. But they can have a big impact on the person who experiences them. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself and your team on what microaggressions are, and how to be mindful of them in your daily communications.
Design processes to iron out biases
It’s important to not only inform your managers on topics like unconscious bias, similarity bias, structural bias, and self-rater bias but provide them with a framework on what to look for in a new hire or someone up for an existing promotion.
By doing so, you avoid forced rankings and emphasize the ability of a manager to work on goals with employees, and base their criteria for promotion or hire on merit and behavior – not office politics or selective bias.
Make space for difficult conversations.
If you’re not comfortable with conflict, this one might be a bit of a challenge. But it’s worth it to create an environment where people feel like they can have open and honest dialogue – even (and especially) when it’s tough.
This means being willing to have difficult conversations about things like race, gender, and sexuality. It also means creating a space for people to share their experiences and perspectives. If you’re not sure where to start, try using The Privilege Walk exercise to get a conversation going. This can be done in person or online.
By doing so, you create a more aware and awake team that’s more mindful of their surroundings.
Encourage interactions between team members.
When you have a team that’s diverse in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and experience, it’s important to encourage interactions between the people who may seem like polar opposites to break the ice from the get-go.
By providing opportunities for collaboration, you can strengthen mutual respect and appreciation for one another while expanding the views and experiences of your workforce. This can help to break down barriers and create a more cohesive team.
Here are some ways you can do that:
- Host lunch-and-learns where team members can share their experiences and perspectives with each other.
- Encourage cross-departmental collaboration on projects.
- Organize social events that promote networking and relationship building.
Parting words: Take the first step with AllyBot
We know that creating a more inclusive workplace can seem daunting. But it’s important work, and it’s worth it. We also know that it’s not something you can do overnight. It takes time, patience, and commitment.
But you don’t have to go at it alone. There are plenty of resources and tools available to help you on your journey. And we’re here to help, too.
Allybot is your partner-in-communication for more inclusive language within the team. It’s our way of helping you take the first step in building a more inclusive workplace. So go ahead and give it a try.