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December 17, 2018

How To Take The Lead With Workplace Diversity

Workplace diversity is an essential element of the modern workplace. It can attract top talent from all walks of life and also enhance your company’s position in the field. A 2017 study by McKinsey found that greater gender diversity on executive teams increased profitability by 21 percent. It wasn’t just limited to gender, either: McKinsey found that executive teams with more racial and cultural diversity outperformed their peers by 33 percent.

In short, workplace diversity is good for the bottom line. You can take a leadership role in introducing and continuing workplace diversity at your organization. Here’s how.

Manage Prejudice and Encourage Change

Leading on workplace diversity starts with managing prejudice and recognizing personal biases – even your own. As Kelli Green and others reported in Diversity in the Workplace, published by the University of Florida, both managers and employees should strive to create a safe space for people to talk about their experiences and expectations for how the organization can improve its diversity. You can motivate your fellow employees and higher-ups to create this dialogue. This might include diversity training programs.

Workplace diversity is not just hiring a certain number of people from a racial, ethnic, or gender background; it’s also about creating a general atmosphere of inclusion. This can, in turn, encourage employee retention, since employees are more likely to stay with an organization where they truly feel like part of the team.

Set Hiring Goals

With that said, it is incredibly important to make sure that you are hiring enough people from diverse backgrounds. You can work with your team to make sure you are meeting hiring goals and brainstorm ways to introduce new ones.

Be a Mentor

If you’re a minority on your team – whether as a racial, ethnic, or gender minority – get to know the other people on your team who are from a similar background. For example, if you are a woman, actively seek out other women on your team or elsewhere in the organization and have informal lunches. Forming these bonds can be good for your own moral and perhaps give others the encouragement they need to pursue a new position at work.

You can take the lead in workplace diversity in both big and small ways. In leading by example, you may inspire others to do the same.