Changing the way the workplace approaches diversity

A correlation between higher profit margins and more women and people from ethnic minorities in top-tier positions has been reported in a recent study by management consultancy McKinsey & Co. This so-called “diversity dividend” is attributed to better employee satisfaction, talent recruitment, and customer relations.

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And while the McKinsey study showed that many American companies are slowly embracing the principles of workplace diversity, there is still a long way to go in making diverse hiring a commonly accepted practice.

Increasing and raising awareness on the need for diversity in the workplace and in other organizations occasionally take controversial turns, such as the recent “Race Together” initiative spearheaded by Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee, which aimed to bring the issues of race relations into regular conversation.

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Other drives include the standard motto “ability over appearance,” which lies at the core of diversity training for most offices. This emphasizes the core need for diverse hiring, which aims to bring opportunities to hitherto unreached and untapped sources of talent, regardless of their appearance or identity. This erases the stigma of affirmative action being a quota-dictated requirement in every organization.

To supplement equal opportunity hiring, recruiting policies should be expanded to reach more qualified people from underrepresented groups. The policy involves encouraging referrals from within the organization and cooperation from local community organizations such as church groups and colleges.

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There is little doubt that workplace diversity, especially in higher tiers, pays off greatly for any company. There are higher chances of drawing in the best talent from a wider pool, but only if the company makes an active effort of gaining support for diversity initiatives and following through on such policy.

Tom Wolters understands the need for multicultural sensitivity within the workplace. Visit this blog for more updates on workplace diversity and other management topics.

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