Types of Diversity in the Modern Workplaces That Organizations Must Focus On
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is a prime discussion. Organizations are interested in it because it enhances their company’s culture. Why so? Diversity promotes acceptance, teamwork, and respect in the work environment. This happens among employees despite their differences in the native language, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, age, political beliefs, or communication styles.
Further, diversity goes beyond socioeconomic and disability status, thus the need to increase different types of diversity in the workplace as well as enforce inclusivity. In fact, a manager should maintain a diverse and inclusive workforce because it keeps its employees engaged, builds positivity, increase job satisfaction, leads to higher innovation, increases creativity, and profits, improves decision making and problem-solving.
Here are the critical types of diversity in the modern workplace that every organization must focus on.
Types of Diversity
While the list of types of diversity in a society is infinite, the following are the primary ones.
Most people think of race and ethnicity when they hear the term diversity in the workplace. They also recall the controversies that have laced the history of race in America and other parts of the world. Although race and ethnicity are different, some people use them interchangeably.
The race is one’s biological identity shown by physical characteristics like hair type, colour, etc. A person’s race affects not only their life but how the criminal justice system treats them. On the other hand, ethnicity refers to a person’s cultural background, including ethnic or multiple racial identities. Ethnicity is more than biology. It’s about geographic and cultural history.
Organizations should embrace racial and ethnic diversity because such groups bring in unique perspectives in the office. In fact, companies with a higher percentage of racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to record stronger financial returns.
The majority of the world’s population is women, so it’s expected that the category will have an equal representation at the workplace. However, that is not the case in most organizations. In fact, creating a gender-diverse work culture is vital, but it’s not about the number of men or women in your company. It’s about equality.
A legit gender-diverse company has addressed the gender pay-gap issue. That means both male and female workers doing the same job receive equal pay. Such organizations have successfully eliminated barriers both genders face when contributing to the workforce.
Further, there is another category that calls itself transgender. Companies avoid using gender-binary language instead opt for inclusive language in their policies. The goal is to prevent hurting individuals in the transgender, gender-neutral, and the like categories.
Sexual Orientation refers to whom an individual is attracted to. While it’s a personal affair, workers should feel safe to express their sexual orientation without being discriminated against in the workplace.
In fact, the LGBTQ+ community, which has people from different backgrounds, and interests, may face considerable challenges in the office. However, a company interested in creating a diverse corporate culture should ensure that individuals belonging to the sexual minority community are protected.
Some popular age categories include millennials, Generation X, Y, Z, and baby boomers. People of these generations don’t think a similar way. For example, people born after 1995 fall on generation Z have enjoyed a world with the internet and smartphones, unlike those born in the 70s.
As a result, companies engage in age bias either knowingly or unknowingly when recruiting. The company might prefer fresh graduates from the university while exempting older candidates seeking entry-level jobs. Another company might avoid hiring new graduates because they lack experience and pick those with more years in the corporate world. This now leaves the younger workers without jobs.
Disability is not only linked to physical mobility. It can also include limitations in vision, learning abilities, mental health issues, and movement.
A company that promotes diversity accommodates people with disabilities as long as they can demonstrate equal productivity like their colleagues. It can also make the workplace accessible by adding ramps and elevators, as well as screen readers and telephone headsets to enable smoother communication.
6. Religious/Spiritual Beliefs
There are many religions across the world, and employees choose specific religious practices for themselves. An organization that focuses on diversity in its workplace should be aware of unconscious biases touching on religion.
It should give its employees the freedom to wear a hijab, or rosary, demonstrate equality and tolerance in the workplace. A company can create a diverse workplace culture by designating prayer rooms and following religious celebrations and holidays.
7. Socioeconomic Background
Workers come from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Further, people have different attitudes towards money, education, social status, and more. That is why those raised in poor neighbourhoods have a different perspective from those who belong to elite families.
Because of that, your organization should focus on recruiting people from diverse backgrounds. Further, no employee should be judged based on their social status. An organization can achieve that by placing a job advert in the newspaper because it’s read widely rather than over online job searches only.
What are the Legal Requirements of Adversity?
The world has become diverse, so employers are now required to provide their employees with a good workplace environment. However, society has a different meaning of the phrase workplace diversity.
A diverse workplace consists of employees with different characteristics like sex, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Employers must have proper training about managing a diverse workplace to achieve that. Failure to there will be unfair and unlawful employment practices.
Here is how employers can comply with the requirement to facilitate diversity in the workplace.
Stay Up to Date on the State and Federal Law
The 1964 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on their race, sex, colour, religion, and national origin. This federal law applies to any organization with over 15 employees. The law prohibits employers from discriminating against employers regarding any term, condition, or privilege of employment.
Other laws against unfair employment practices include the 1963 Equal Pay Act, the 1969 Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, the 1991 Civil Rights Act, 2008 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, and the ADA Amendments Act.
Companies should check the state laws of the states where they operate their business in order to comply with the legislation passed regarding diversity in the workplace. Failure to the company will be sued, fined, or experience other civil and criminal causes of action pertaining to unfair and unlawful employment practices.
Implement Strong Equal Employment Policy
Apart from checking the state and federal law that supports diversity in the workplace, an employer should develop and implement a strong equal employment opportunity policy across the organization. This provides prohibited conduct, assurances that the employer will protect employees who make complaints related to discrimination in the workplace against retaliation as well as take appropriate corrective action when it’s established that discrimination has occurred.
The employer should train its managers, supervisors, and employees about the contents of the policy and how it will be enforced. Such a policy sets the standard and expectations that the management and directors have for their employees.
Now that the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the federal laws, the agency has made it illegal to discriminate against any employee or job applicant because of their colour, race, national origin, religion, disability or genetic information, age (over 40 years), sex (sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy).
Therefore HR managers and employees should understand these equal employment opportunity laws. The company should provide training and mentoring programs as well as give its workers from all backgrounds the opportunity, experience, skill, and information in order to perform their duties in the company well. It will also help it to increase diversity in the workplace.
During the training, the HR manager should remind managers and employees about the company’s policy. This shows them that they’re accountable for their actions and the potential immediate corrective action that the company will take in case of a violation of the company policy.
Cultivate Inclusive Culture
Promoting an inclusive culture involves hiring a diverse staff with unique skill sets and different life experiences. This makes these people feel welcomed into the company and valued.
However, hiring diverse individuals doesn’t create inclusion because establishing an inclusive workplace requires effort. It’s achieved by recreating employee resource groups, interacting with various people, prioritizing inclusion, and connecting with employees appropriately.
Organizations that focus on the 7 types of cultural diversities and strive to promote equality build a positive workplace and enhance employee engagement and job satisfaction. The workforce comprises people from different sections of society and backgrounds.
Such a company adheres to the state and local government’s legislative acts geared towards protecting employees’ dignity and identity. It also creates a policy, trains its managers and employees about diversity and inclusivity in the workplace as well as nurtures an inclusive culture.