Diversity Management in the Workplace – Why it’s Important and How to Implement it in Your Workplace

As more and more companies introduce diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, it becomes more and more important to ensure that all members throughout the organization are educated. 

Some employees and managers may be eager to get started with the new changes and embrace diversity with open arms. Others may be well-meaning but unaware of what workforce diversity management entails. A few may even be suspicious and require education. AllyBot can work across all areas of awareness and raise sensitivity levels across your organization. 

Remote-based businesses with virtual teams can struggle to implement diversity initiatives. When employees are spread over the country or the globe, it can be difficult to get everyone on the same page. Virtual work can also cause people to say things online that they wouldn’t necessarily say in person. Remote work has the possibility to create even more diverse and inclusive teams worldwide, and AllyBot can help make those teams safe for everyone.  

What is Diversity Management in the Workplace?

Workplace diversity management is a coordinated, company-wide effort to create a more diverse workforce at all organizational levels. This can be accomplished in multiple ways: 

  • Diverse hiring initiatives 
  • Inclusion to make the workplace safe for everyone
  • Establishing diversity metrics and setting diversity goals
  • Continuing education for a healthy, safe, workplace

Diversity management is more than just inclusive hiring. It is a specific mindset that seeks to make the workplace a more vibrant place through open conversations, new perspectives, unique talents, and an emphasis on the inherent value in each employee.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Why is Diversity Management Important?

Diversity management allows an entire organization to be on the same page about diversity and inclusion. If diversity initiatives are limited to once-yearly training or specific groups in the organization, the full impact and benefit of the initiative will be lost. 

Diversity and Innovation

Diverse organizations gain a broader perspective. Multiple cultural groups bring more viewpoints and problem-solving methods to the table. Non-diverse groups tend to create groupthink, where people assume agreement without actively reaching an agreement, and silos, where group consensus is reached without considering other viewpoints. 

Diversity initiatives ensure that everyone is given an equal voice in the organization. Groupthink or silo thinking can lead to group outsiders feeling unheard or silenced. Diversity initiatives break those molds and allow for more open, honest, empathetic communication in all teams.

Increased Employee Engagement

Once you have more voices speaking up in your organization, you automatically have increased employee engagement. Foster an environment of receptivity to new voices and ideas, and reap the rewards.

Reduced Employee Turnover

Higher levels of employee engagement lead to more satisfied, committed employees and team members. This leads to lower turnover, lower hiring costs, and higher employee loyalty and retention.

Diversity Management In A Remote Organization

The future of work is remote, which can help promote an inclusive workplace. As a matter of fact, 93% of employees with a remote option felt more included in their workplaces, as opposed to their time in the office. Remote work tends to create a level playing field among knowledge workers. Your accent, language skills, dialects, skin color, physical disability, or neurodivergence matters much less than your knowledge, skill, and productivity level.

In a White, male, hetero, neurotypical environment, those that don’t fit the mold can struggle with in-person interactions, unspoken cultural expectations, dress codes, and more. It’s no wonder that marginalized communities prefer remote settings where the focus is on technical knowledge and skill rather than how well they fit into a stereotypical White society.

Working remotely has extra challenges when it comes to promoting diversity. Written communication can easily come across as moralizing or unempathetic. People are more likely to say or do things online that they wouldn’t think of doing in person: making microaggressive comments, interrupting, cutting others off, and more. Luckily, there are multiple strategies remote-based companies can use to promote digital diversity and inclusion.

Promoting inclusion and addressing microaggressions in the workplace is our specialty at Allybot. As we’ve mentioned, written communication can sometimes come across in the wrong way, whether unintentional or not. But with our handy Slack plug-in, we provide suggestions for more inclusive messages, that can help educate your team on the language they use. Add us to Slack today and help your team become better allies! 

Set up a hybrid mentoring program

A hybrid or remote mentoring program is one of the most powerful things a company can do to retain its diverse new hires. While some companies may hire based on diversity quotas or metrics, retaining that talent is another story. If the new hires and lower-level workers in an organization are diverse, but diversity disappears higher up the corporate ladder, do you really have a diverse organization? 

Establishing a mentoring program empowers otherwise marginalized people to rise in an organization and achieve higher levels of success. A diversity mentoring program can also foster higher levels of employee satisfaction and team connectivity by helping employees feel unique and special.

Set up a remote D&I committee

A diversity and inclusion committee can go a long way toward making your company more inclusive and empowering for everyone. The D&I committee can start by polling employees to find out what they need or feel needs improvement. They can use this data to create educational materials on inclusivity, which can help an employee become a workplace ally. Finally, they can serve as a contact point for employees, management, and different teams to ensure open diversity conversations both horizontally and vertically in the organization. 

Nurture a culture of belonging

Everyone needs to have a place where they feel like they belong. Employees who feel they belong in their workplace or organization are much more likely to feel fulfilled and valued at work and connected with colleagues. This leads to higher levels of employee satisfaction and retention.

Different types of diversity management

There are two main types of workforce diversity management. Intranational diversity management focuses on the different sorts of diversity within a nation, state, or city. Cross-national, or international diversity management, focuses on diversity across different languages and cultures.

Intranational diversity management

Intranational diversity management focuses on the diversity within your country. These diversity and inclusion initiatives usually involve the onboarding of recent immigrants, which gives them a chance to succeed in their new environment. However, intranational diversity management can also mean gender diversity, neurodiversity, and, if you are in a racially diverse country, racial diversity.

Cross-national diversity management

Cross-national diversity management is focused on hiring and retaining the best talent from around the world, regardless of national origin. This can bring added challenges to an organization, including knowledge of local customs, cultural expectations, and religious holidays. A talented, sensitive DEI committee that can keep up with individual employees’ needs and multiple cultures is essential for international diversity management success. 

DEI committees can also be equal-pay advocates between employees in third-world countries and first-world-country C-suite executives. Individuals in third-world countries often have the same or greater skills and talents as those in the western world, but executives are often tempted to hire them for less money. Usually with the excuse that their cost of living is much lower. Since diversity is all about valuing employees equally, this argument falls apart. DEI advocates can ensure that the organization is compensating equal levels of talent with equal pay. 

Diversity management vs. affirmative action

Diversity management may sound like it is the same as affirmative action. This isn’t true. If you imagine total equity in society as a staircase, affirmative action is the first step, and DEI initiatives build on top of that. Affirmative action is the practice of bringing on marginalized groups as firm employees to create a more equitable society. Some companies, however, can misuse affirmative action and treat it as a checklist. Was the racial quota met? Check. Gender quota met? Check. Token minority? Check. Great, let’s continue working with the same corporate policies we’ve always had. 

Diversity and inclusion, on the other hand, look at individual employees’ needs and makes the company a welcoming place for them to stay and thrive. Affirmative action opens the door to a diverse workplace; DEI initiatives make the employees want to stay in the room. 

How to Implement a Diversity Management Strategy in the Workplace

Step 1: Understand Corporate Diversity in the Workplace

Corporate workplace diversity is based on two basic actions: commitment to hiring a diverse workforce and nurturing a welcoming environment for those diverse individuals. 

First, the company should make an underlying diversity strategy roadmap. This will include: 

  • Diversity metrics they want to aim for; for instance. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a racial metric – it could be any diversity metric your company is committed to improve or a combination of several.
  • A realistic timeline to reach those metrics; for instance, in five years.
  • Smaller sub-actions to break down the big goal into smaller ones. Like smaller monthly or annual hiring and retention goals.
  • Specific actions the company/HR will take to reach those metrics in the timeframe. These could include hiring events in majority-Black or all-Black talent pools, such as colleges, high schools, or employment agencies in majority-Black neighborhoods.
  • Best inclusivity practices to ensure a nurturing environment for new hires at all levels of the organization. This is the long-term maintenance phase of the diversity plan. It is no use hiring new Black employees if your corporate culture doesn’t recognize or honor their culture, work expectations, dialect differences, or dress code preferences. While these are all small things, they add to a workplace culture where employees can find satisfaction or frustration. 

Step 2: Get Leadership On Board

Ideally, diversity initiatives come from the C-suite in the organization and trickle downwards. Diversity campaigns that start at the top are more likely to succeed, as other people in the organization are more likely to get on board with top-down initiatives.  

If this isn’t the case and employees need to self-advocate for DEI, it’s important to formulate strategies to get leadership and HR on board. This can be through results from other companies showing the benefits of increased diversity in their organization. For instance, increased diversity is linked to greater employee creativity and satisfaction, as well as higher productivity levels and earnings. These facts can also be supplemented with personal employee stories and opinions about what support they would like to see at work. This can be the beginning of a DEI committee for the company. 

Step 3: Education

Once the organization’s leadership is convinced of the importance of diversity and inclusion, it is time to define exactly what these two concepts look like. This comes through education. It can be as simple as learning about inclusive language choices, or as complex as a full company policy overhaul to become more culturally welcoming. 

The key is for education to be translated into action. Putting up a diversity poster or adding a paragraph in the employee handbook is a start. Still, if it’s merely glossed over and there’s no meaningful change in company policy or individual and corporate actions, the education wasn’t enough. Companies can bring in corporate diversity speakers and implement office policy changes to ensure that inclusion becomes a habit. 

One way to ensure inclusion becomes a habit in a remote workplace is through Allybot. We can help educate your employees on the language they use in their messages, by providing inclusive word suggestions for terms that could risk alienating some team members. We check over 400 non-inclusive words and phrases, so there’s plenty to learn! Check out our pricing, to find a plan that fits your business needs!

Step 4: Eliminate Preferences By Implementing Standard Rules

Standard rules ensure that all employees are aware of inclusion policies. These rules can come with consequences if necessary. AllyBot is perfect for this because it provides immediate, private, friendly feedback when employees use non-inclusive language. 

Step 5: Prioritize Inclusion Processes and Policies

Finally, companies need to prioritize and reinforce inclusion actions over time. If organizations don’t take consistent action to meet their inclusivity goals, diversity will become a shell. It needs to be a part of your company culture, otherwise, they’re just hollow promises. 

Ironically, vaunted diversity that isn’t actually inclusive can be even more frustrating to minority employees. To truly build an inclusive workforce, companies have to listen to these employees’ needs and make the necessary changes to ensure the workplace is a safe place for everyone. 

Wrapping up

Remote work has the power to make workplaces more diverse and inclusive. Talent from around the world or from different economic levels in society can be brought together in one place to create a world-class talent team. However, differences in cultural expectations or language differences can cause friction among different socioeconomic groups. Diversity and inclusion is all about smoothing over those friction points through education to ensure a healthy workplace for everyone. 
And that’s where AllyBot comes in. With a library of over 400 non-inclusive language choices and possible replacements, AllyBot will help to make your company Slack a safe space for everyone in your organization. Try it today for free.