How occupational health can promote diversity in the workplace.
Diversity is not just a buzzword – diversity is the key to business (and society) success. If you want to increase your productivity, decrease turnover rates, and improve morale in your workplace – take a closer look at how an occupational specialist can support diversity in the workplace.
What is diversity?
Diversity is more than just a diversity of skin colours or ethnicities. It includes diversity in thought, learning, communication, experience, and expertise. In fact, Neurodiversity is one of the fast-growing areas for diversity in the workplace.
Employees need a safe environment where they know their ideas will be heard without judgment or ridicule. Creating an inclusive working environment and culture, allows all voices to contribute. Allowing for the company to benefit from different thinking and for these employees. Fostering diversity helps to create an inclusive workplace where everyone feels welcome. A place where they can succeed because there are no boundaries – so long as they show up ready and engaged.
Why is Diversity Important in the workplace?
Diversity is something that should be considered throughout the hiring process, but it shouldn’t end there. Workplace diversity is a paramount issue, but it’s also something that many people don’t think about. Creating an inclusive culture provides many benefits to both employers and employees. Benefits to team members are greater access to resources that they may need to do their good well.
With the rise of adults diagnosed with neurobehavioral disorders such as ADHD, creating an inclusive environment where they are treated fairly, encourages employees to perform to their full potential. It also benefits employers because diversity encourages innovation and provides a competitive advantage by allowing organizations to benefit from the diversity of thought within their business units and teams. Making team members more engaged creates equal access, which makes them feel appreciated, leading to higher work satisfaction and enabling small businesses to retain employees.
Higher Employee Morale
Employees appreciate more than ever before the chance to work in an environment with people who are different from them, which fosters a stronger feeling of inclusion and community. Employees who work with a diverse group of people have an easier time understanding and relating to others. In a recent Gallup report , 90% of people who say they’re not treated with respect also experienced discrimination or harassment at work.
Better Care for Diverse Populations
The people who work at health care facilities should be as diverse as the people they are treating. This helps make sure that there is someone there who can understand and talk to everyone.
Higher Employee Retention
The longer employees feel appreciated and cared for at work, the more likely they are to stay. This is why diversity in the workplace matters. Diversity training can help your employees feel like they are valued and that their contributions matter. It also shows them how to be respectful of colleagues whose experiences, cultures, abilities, or backgrounds may seem different from theirs. As a result, higher employee retention will follow suit!
When it comes to recruiting new employees, a commitment to inclusiveness is beneficial. It allows employers to cast a wider net and attract fresh talent, as well as offering a stronger employment opportunity for people who may be interested in working for your company. Most companies could have a wider talent pool of potential employees when an inclusive strategy is at the core of company culture. An occupational health specialist can work with hiring managers to review and improve your recruiting strategy.
Stronger Individual Motivation
This is a natural tendency for individuals to “fit in” rather than bring and sharing their full skillset, for fear of judgment. By incorporating diversity training into your workplace, you are reducing this fear by promoting the idea that each person is unique and valuable.
This results in a stronger individual motivation to perform well on their own tasks as they are not only doing it for themselves but rather because everyone around them has contributed.
Better Problem Solving
While diversity is important, including everyone without equal representation is ineffective. Not only must teams include a range of backgrounds, but each member should be given a chance to speak. In diversity training, an MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and Union College study showed “the existence of collective intelligence among groups of people who cooperate well, showing that such intelligence extends beyond the cognitive abilities of the groups’ individual members and that the tendency to cooperate effectively is linked to the number of women in a group”
What are the Risks of Lacking Diversity?
We have discussed the benefits of diversity in the workplace. It is important not only for companies but also for employees. Employees who work at diversity-inclusive companies are more likely to be engaged with their jobs, happier about where they live, and feel respected by other people. This leads to a better overall quality of life both inside and outside of work. On the flip side, a lack of diversity within a business can mean its downfall, and as it sees competitors grow and innovate.
Communication breakdown may result from a variety of factors, including a language barrier, different worldviews, cultural norms and expectations, and even cultural bias. When employees are unable to adequately communicate or express their needs, avoidable mistakes can occur that endanger the company’s mission. This can also lead to high sickness absence rates. A diversity strategy and an inclusion strategy can be used to help reduce this risk.
One of the most common diversity issues in companies is a lack of diversity. This can be due to homogeneity, where employees are similar in values and goals or they may have grown up together or know each other for many years. Many times, this leads to groupthink which results from people being too much alike. They begin thinking similarly because they have few differences. They may only be aware of a certain perspective or concept because they all see things the same way, which can lead to a lack of diversity in thinking.
Lack of Role Models
Role models create an important effect in helping employees achieve their career goals. When there is a lack of someone from the same cultural background, gender identity, personal beliefs, or ethnic diversity, (within the same team or wider company) this can affect employee inclusion.
Role models create an understanding, acceptance, and appreciation for diversity which is vital within any workforce; they allow anyone from different backgrounds to feel accepted and able to make their mark on the company. They also educate others about diversity issues such as gender equality, sexual orientation rights, etc.,
Lack of Future Diversity
It’s critical to the long-term success of any business. The more homogeneous your workforce is today, the more difficult it will be to cultivate within your team tomorrow. An organization that lacks diversity may have difficulty creating new products or services because they don’t have access to different perspectives. Diversity can make all the difference when it comes to a business’s long-term success.
Bias does not always need to be expressed for it to cause problems. Sometimes bias can affect decisions when it is in the policies and procedures of a business. This is called implicit bias in a system. It can also harm people when there are not many different types of people around them, or who are different from them. If there are no people of different gender, race, or age around the person who is biased they may not recognize it. The lack of diversity can perpetuate bias in many ways and cause harm to those that are being left out.
A study by the firm McKinsey and Company entitled “Why Diversity Matters” found that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform those non-gender-diverse companies, and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform companies with minimal diversity. The statistics show that diversity improves management, employees, and outcomes.
Here are some of the ways Occupational Health staff can promote diversity in the workplace.
1. Create a Welcome Environment
Encourage employees to be more inclusive in every part of the organization. Ensure that all viewpoints are heard and that everyone is comfortable expressing their ideas.
2. Address Issues of Bias Quickly and Openly
Encouraging employees to reflect on their own biases. Occupational health and diversity experts can guide you through this process. Courses and training can start a discussion among co-workers. Bias is often ingrained and subconscious so diversity and inclusion training with the attitude of “no shame, no blame”, allows these issues to be addressed more openly and quickly.
The victims of prejudice or abuse are hesitant to come forward themselves, fearing punishment or other types of retaliation. In these times, it is critical for managers to support their staff and report incidents as quickly and openly as possible in order to achieve a secure working environment for everyone.
3. Encourage Diverse Applicants
It is important to hire people from all backgrounds as everyone has different skills that they can provide and help to enhance a business. An occupational expert can review with you, your recruitment and outreach tactics to see how they can be improved.
4. Diversity for More Than Diversity’s Sake
Always remember: the idea of encouraging diversity in our workplace is not just to have a diverse business, but also to have a better business. It’s explained above that people from all different backgrounds can give you new perspectives and understandings. This will help make the employee experience better, and your company will be more successful.
Sometimes the best way to promote diversity is by listening. Listening helps each of us understand new perspectives, which opens our minds to needs we never knew about. It also shows co-workers or patients that their opinion matters. When people feel like their voices are heard, they feel valued.
Promoting diversity in the workplace is always a work in progress, but most importantly it’s about listening to diverse groups of people and respecting what they have to say.
When discussing any health concerns with an Occupational Health Expert, then all matters are confidential. Knowing this allows your employees to truly have a space to speak freely and get specialist help and support they need.
Diversity and Culture training
One of the best ways to be inclusive is by running diversity and culture training. It’s a great way for many employees and new staff members to meet everyone, get their questions answered, and learn about company values.
Keyways diversity training helps by:
- Increasing cultural understanding and abilities
- How to respond to cultural differences when interacting with people from different backgrounds
- Increasing awareness of personal and subconscious biases
- Identifying potential obstacles to care
- Improve your ability to communicate with people from other cultures and experiences.
While some businesses may provide multicultural training as part of their employee onboarding process or continuing education, this isn’t always necessary, which is why it’s critical for all people to take responsibility for improving themselves—whether or not it is required.
Diversity in the workplace is more than just having diverse employees. It’s about creating a culture of inclusion and understanding that helps all people feel welcomed, valued, and appreciated for their perspectives. To do this, it’s important to listen to diverse groups of people and respect what they have to say. We hope you found these tips helpful! If you need help making your business diverse or want an occupational expert on board with your diversity training initiatives please contact us!