by Kelly Sullivan
As modern companies work towards mastering the ways that they support diversity in the workplace, it is essential not to forget that diversity is no longer simply about gender, race, and sexuality.
Diversity is made up of the qualities and characteristics that set your employees apart from one another, and the number of ways in which it can be defined are endless. Exploring different types of diversity and how it affects your organization is essential if you want to understand how to be truly inclusive.
Encouraging diversity in the workplace can benefit your company in a variety of ways. It allows for improved teamwork, problem-solving, employee happiness (and therefore retention) and of course, the overall success of your business.
When thinking about ways that you can broaden your workplace diversity horizons, consider some of the following aspects in your inclusivity practices.
The majority of the workforce consists of every part of the generational spectrum. The political, social and economic factors that took place during someone’s upbringing will always play a role in defining a person’s life.
Something to be aware of here is ageism in the workplace, which is prejudice or discrimination based on someone’s age. Stereotypes can be associated with many different generations – what do you think of when you hear Baby Boomer? Millennial? Gen X?
While ageism can affect any member of the workforce, discrimination is more widely associated with employees 50 and older. Make an effort to be inclusive in your team dynamic to prove that age is just a number when it comes to professionalism.
Cultures are made up of a variety of characteristics, such as languages, food, mannerisms, religions, traditions, and holidays, just to name a few. Cultural differences can provide wonderful new opportunities for your team, but can also pose some unique challenges among employees unfamiliar with someone else’s culture.
Educating your employees, and celebrating different cultures within your team is a critical component to nurturing workplace diversity.
Many citizens with a criminal background struggle to find a company who will hire them. While some states offer tax breaks for hiring candidates with felony convictions, others require the inclusion of any criminal background on a job application. This can make such an employee feel further divided from their peers or superiors at work.
It is up to you as an employer to decide whether or not an individual’s past will dictate their success at your company. Keep this in mind before, during, and after your onboarding process.
Socioeconomic status is defined as a combined total measure of a person’s or family’s economic access to resources, as well as their social position in relation to others. This includes things like income, education, occupation, and privilege, which can all play a huge part in an individual’s ability to succeed professionally.
It is essential to consider an employee’s privilege, which often dictates the opportunities they have access to as a result of their demographic.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to support individuals with varying socioeconomic statuses.
Whether that be your holiday parties, work trips, or any content that you send out company wide on a day-to-day basis, make sure that you are providing resources and support to your employees whose lives are impacted by their socioeconomic status.
An individual’s upbringing, life experience, family situation, social roles, religious practices, or political beliefs can greatly influence what they consider to be good or acceptable.
As an employer, your job is to hire people whose morals and values align with those of the company as a whole. At the end of the day, this is the most important step in hiring a new employee, and as long as you and your team’s values align, you will find that you have less conflict within your organization.
Creating a company culture that encourages open and honest communication will help encourage your team to explore each other’s differences without creating a hostile work environment. The list of diversity possibilities is endless, which is something to remember when hiring, onboarding, and training your employees.
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