The Diverse Team: How Your Company can Benefit and Gain Significant Synergy

We’ve all heard the term “diversity in the workplace,” and many times our thoughts turn to the policies that many companies have implemented in order to abide by federal, state and local laws. However, the concept is more than just legislation. Diversity has countless benefits for U.S. businesses of all sizes, and it’s important to embrace it within your own. Here are the best practices for creating a culture that values diversity and the positives your company can take away from them.

Hiring employees from a more diverse candidate pool makes for a more qualified workforce.

Recruiting from the largest group of potential hires means you’ll be looking at individuals with the highest levels of skills and qualifications. You’re more likely to bring in the best minds available and develop a greatly talented workforce, one of your company’s most important assets.

Hiring a diverse workforce can help you improve your “employee brand.”

You want your company to be a place where the top talent is begging to work, so developing a strong “employee brand” is one of the best practices for creating a culture that values diversity. Demonstrating the diversity of your workforce shows that your business is one of inclusion, making your company more likely to attract the greatest minds in your industry.

Diverse workplaces allow you to bring in fresh perspectives.

People from various backgrounds, countries and ethnic groups bring with them new perspectives, which can turn into new ideas for improving company efficiencies, lowering costs and other benefits. You can boost productivity and workflow with the different sets of skills these employees bring to the table. In addition, these various backgrounds can enable you to market to your target customers more effectively.

Diversity in your workplace can help your company provide better service.

Implementing diversity initiatives will typically require you to provide the proper training programs to increase appreciation of other cultures and sensitivity levels. Through this process, your employees will learn to communicate more effectively with each other. This phenomenon benefits your company as your team members are better able to relate to customer needs and provide improved service.

Placing value on diversity drives the U.S. economy.

The human component of company assets is improved as more women and ethnicities become part of the workforce. Individuals from non-traditional cultural groups have actually improved the U.S. Gross Domestic Product over the last few decades.

A diverse workplace suffers lower employee turnover.

Companies that refuse to foster an inclusive work environment experience a higher employee turnover rate than those businesses that support diversity initiatives. The reason is that an exclusive workplace creates a more hostile atmosphere, leading employees to seek other positions. Retaining quality personnel actually affects a company’s bottom line, as the costs of replacing employees who leave are considerable.

The best practices for creating a culture that values diversity have far-reaching impacts that your company cannot afford to deny. However, finding the right balance within your workforce can be a difficult task, especially when you need to be focused on running your business. Turning to a staffing company can help you develop a diverse, highly skilled team of employees that bring more to the table than just job qualifications. Please contact the specialists at KP Companies to hear more about our diversity search services and solutions.

Building an Authentic and Inclusive Company Culture

Every company has a culture. It’s how your employees interact with each other and how you interact with other companies. It’s your values and what you stand for. It’s the way you work on a day to day basis: your habits, your practices, etc. In short, it’s everything that makes your company what it is. And it’s a big part of what will ultimately determine your success of failure. Therefore, if you want to improve the direction in which you’re going, you’re going to need to take an active interest in building your company’s culture, to make it authentic and inclusive. Here are a few ways to do that.

Know Who You Are—and Who You Want to Be

What is it that your company stands for? What are your core values? What are your goals for the next year, the next five years, the next century? Determining who you are as a company will help you better establish a more authentic company culture. Don’t just look at bigger, more successful organizations in your field and try to copy them. That will just doom you to failure. Instead, embrace what makes you unique.

Get Rid of What Doesn’t Fit

When you hire a new employee, it’s important to make sure that they’ll fit into your company culture. There are a number of assessment tests and analytics programs that can help you do that. That, plus the interviews, will hopefully help you find the best workers to complement your existing dynamic. But if somehow it doesn’t work out, don’t be afraid to replace them with someone better suited. Of course, firing employees quickly doesn’t mean you should have an itchy trigger finger. That makes it difficult to maintain inclusivity. But if it’s clear that an employee simply won’t work in your company, it’s better to let them go sooner, rather than later. Likewise, if some of your practices and policies aren’t meshing with your culture, and aren’t yielding the results they should, eliminate them and find a better way. It’s easy to hold on to old, established ways of doing things, just out of habit and routine. But doing so can be detrimental to your company.

Create Dialogue

Do your employees have a voice within your company? When you make decisions, are you taking their opinions into consideration? When they have concerns, is there an outlet for them to express them and have action taken in response? Your employees are the most important part of your company culture. Maintain an open dialogue with them, rather than just dictating to them and expecting them to follow. This will lead to better job satisfaction and help you to solve problems more quickly and make better decisions overall.

Recognize Exceptional Work

Confucius said that a good government is one that both chastises those who do poorly and rewards those who do well. This can also be applied to business. Unfortunately, a lot of companies only practice the former. If someone’s sales numbers aren’t where they should be, management is jumping down their throat. But when they reach a new milestone, no one says a word. Make sure your employees feel appreciated and recognize and reward them for a job well done. When you do that, you make them feel more invested in their job and in your company and motivate them to continue working hard and doing well going forward.

Authenticity and inclusivity are both essential aspects of your company culture. Your organization should be like a family. It’s where most of your employees spend the bulk of their day. They should feel like they belong—like they’re a part of something great. And by building an inclusive and authentic company culture, you can help them be proud of that fact.

Retaining Diverse and Other Top Notch Employees

Diversity is an important factor in your hiring process. There are plenty of tried and true methods for recruiting top quality employees of all different backgrounds. But the question is, how do you get them to stay? Is there a high rate of turnover among your diverse talent? How do you maintain a high quality, diverse workforce over time?

A Vicious Circle

A survey of companies in the Twin Cities found that a lot of employers were having trouble retaining people of color in their workforce. 16% of diverse employees overall and 22% of those under 30 expressed a desire to leave the area within the next five years.

There may be a number of reasons that make Minnesota less than appealing as a place to work, but the main reason cited was the lack of diversity in the area. So essentially, diverse employees don’t want to stay in the Twin Cities because there aren’t enough diverse employees. This leads to a vicious circle which continues to make employee retention difficult going forward. How do you break the cycle?

Making Connections

But of course, the problem goes deeper than that, and the underlying issue also lends itself to a solution. It’s not just a lack of diverse faces that drives people of color away, but a general lack of inclusion and cultural awareness.

The lack of diversity can make existing diverse employees feel alone and isolated. Many employees found their coworkers closed off and insular, making it difficult to connect with them in any meaningful way. Even if you’re not actively being made to feel unwelcome, when your working environment has a passive feeling of exclusivity, it’s easy to start thinking about seeking more inclusionary conditions elsewhere.

Furthermore, though many companies did exhibit diversity, far fewer people of color were found to occupy leadership positions. This could partly account for the insular nature of existing employees. When the lack of cultural awareness is coming from management, it can make connections even more difficult. Additionally, it could indicate a lack of advancement opportunities for employees of color.

Diversity vs. Inclusion

So how can you fix the diversity problem in your company when it comes to employee retention? The first step is not to think of it in terms of filling a quota, but instead looking with an eye towards actual inclusion. That means making sure there are top notch employees of color at every level of management, and that your diverse workers have real advancement opportunities. For your entry level employees, provide mentors who can help them map out a career path and help them on the road to success.

Encourage connection between employees of all different cultures and backgrounds. You can even hold events that encourage an understanding and appreciation for all different cultures. And make sure that the recognition of those cultural differences doesn’t stop with those events.

For instance, remember that not everyone celebrates the same holidays. Everyone gets off for Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter, but do Jewish employees get off for Yom Kippur? Do Muslim employees get off for Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr, which are celebrated during Ramadan? Or do they have to cut into their vacation time to observe those days?

Cultural awareness and inclusion are an ongoing process, and an important part of retaining diverse talent. Simply having people of different colors in your organization is not enough. You need to make sure they feel like they’re truly a part of the family. Take an active interest in your employees, their wellbeing, and their inclusion in your company, no matter their color or creed. By doing that, you’ll be on the road to maintaining truly lasting diverse workforce.