Diversity in The Workplace
The world is becoming more and more borderless each day as we are reaching the climax of globalization trend. This affects the societies as well as many different organizations. Today in the workplace, we are facing employees from more diverse backgrounds all around the world. Companies are becoming more aware of the great potential that the minority groups hold in their hands day by day.
Nowadays, we even have a position called “chief diversity officer”. CDOs are organization’s executive level diversity and inclusion strategists; however, not all of the Fortune 500 companies employ diversity officers. Diversity management is possible only when we understand the true meaning of it. So what does diversity actually mean and how come it is so important in our century?
As the demographics of our cities change, diversity has become one of the hottest topics in the workplace. The aim of diversity is to create an inclusive atmosphere in which all of the employees can feel respected and have the same opportunities regardless of race, gender, class or religious beliefs. Diversity matters for the broader issue of economic fairness and when managed well, it can show us that the workforce is greater than the sum of its parts.
Minority employees want to experience the same sense of belonging like the majority does. Afterall, inclusion and acceptance are fundamental human needs. Diversity is also essential for team engagement, participation in the decision-making process and increased adaptability.
Different groups not only add a different point of view to the difficult cases and problems, they also add value to the company itself. However, firms shouldn’t do this only for “proving” they are not sexist, homophobic or racist. Otherwise, there will be lack of authenticity and sincerity. They should do it just because diversity and inclusion are quite simply the right things to do.
It’s 2018, but there are still so many difficulties women are facing in different workplaces. According to NYTimes, there are more CEOs named John or David than all female CEOs in S. (Need I say more?)
Another major topic women are facing is the maternity leave. Women find it really difficult to re-enter the workforce following the birth of their children. It seems to be a big problem for companies and working mothers since promotions are based on a traditional straight career path with almost no flexibility and not to mention the income inequality for the same job and the same working hours.
Tip: You can search for the companies’ parental leave policies here: https://fairygodboss.com/maternity-leave
To attract well-educated, highly ambitious women in developing economies, companies must understand the societal challenges those women face on a daily basis. Organizations should have access to the broad area of female talent and encourage them to develop these talents. But one should also not forget that firms or the majority groups shouldn’t to be the voice of women workers, they need to let them have their own voice instead and try to understand their perception.
Corporations have made great progress over the past decade creating more welcoming environments for LGBTI+ employees, but are we there yet? Surveys show that many LGBTI+ employees still view their sexual orientation as a hindrance on the job. A great number of LGBTI+ respondents report remaining closeted at work. LGBTI+ workers who feel isolated at work are likelier to leave their job within a few years than those “out” workers. What is more, in many countries around the world, workers can be fired for being gay.
This again can be a win-win deal. Respecting the term diversity and acting upon it helps firms to build a more prestigious identity and consumer loyalty. Companies also need to reach out to the LGBTI+ market. Besides helping the companies’ images, diversity helps to free the true potential of workers. Companies might be losing their bright employees due to the pressure in the workplace, but being out and visible can be a game changer.
The community needs a platform in which they can be visible and available for support and career advice, so we still have a long way to go. We should start building up a strong network of allies. Organizations need to avoid asking questions they wouldn’t ask any other candidate and remember that it’s totally fine to ask for someone’s correct pronouns if you’re not sure (better than guessing). They can print inclusive and gender-neutral bathroom signs. Creating a climate that’s hospitable to all workers should be the main goal.
Tip: You can find the list of 10 LGBTI+ friendly companies here: http://www.newnownext.com/best-companies-gay/05/2017/
People of Color (POC)
Different people experience the workplace differently, the perception of the atmosphere changes from one person to another. Corporations once routinely ignored, dismissed and are only now beginning to discuss this topic, but it’s true that minority groups face unfair obstacles and more challenges in promotion opportunities as they become more senior in any kind of organizations. According to the “Women in the Workplace 2017” report, only 1 in 5 C-suite leaders is a woman, but did you know that for women of color, this ratio is as low as 3 %?
To get to the same position with their colleagues they need to follow a harder path full of biases. It’s important for people of color to have visible role models who can offer advice on how to progress in their careers. If this diversity is managed well, co-workers with different cultural backgrounds can bring unique experiences and perceptions to the table in groups and work teams.
A great number of companies in the United States prefer to hire bi-lingual customer service employees to deal with specific customers in their native language.
So What Can We Do
Organizations can provide workshops or sponsor inclusive events. Most importantly, they need to be open and willing to listen. After all, you are the values that you respect. It is up to us to create a safer work environment for the future generations so that each person can be truly themselves without hiding and have the same opportunities as their colleagues. Application of human rights to the workplace and the real aspects of equality must be our priority. I truly believe with increased diversity and a safer environment for minority groups, we can achieve so much more in the future.