It’s very easy to think that diversity in your business is a means to an end. If you stock the ranks of your management and staff with different people from all walks of life, things will magically be better and more productive. Of course, it can be, as diverse businesses have been proven to be more competitive than companies without impartial hiring practices.
That said, it’s important to note that a diverse workforce isn’t just “a diverse workforce,” as each person is an individual with plenty to offer, rather than just a member of a group. In other words, this status isn’t a means to an end, but the starting approach to a business culture of mutual cooperation, communication, and care. A diverse business means nothing special if you do nothing with it, for example, if staff ideas rarely rise to the top of your decision-making tree, if diversity isn’t represented at all levels, and if you see groups as just diverse as opposed to essential professionals whose input could make your firm.
Let’s consider what to do when your diversity goals have been met:
It’s important to empower your staff, give them responsibility, and delegate authority where necessary. This goes from the bottom up, from ensuring the right tools and equipment are given, and that full training is rendered, even for relatively common tasks like electronic document management. It’s also about referring to them in team meetings and allowing the best ideas to rise to the top. Diversity is nothing if it’s not empowered.
It’s essential to make sure your mutually tolerant and inclusive view is not just lip service, but something you ensure within the staff you care for. Fostering the healthiest culture means setting an appropriate policy, and giving people the space to report issues like discrimination if they experience it, with a zero-tolerance policy rendered in response. The healthiest culture will give you breathing room as you plan your path forward, and that in itself can be inspiring. It will also understand the reality that people with very different life experiences and perspectives will inevitably clash or at least disagree, and having an appropriate method of framing those conversations, or preventing them when they’re inappropriate, can make all the difference.
Diversity is a noble goal, but it shouldn’t have to be something you shout about from the rooftops. Activists who care about diversity will often do so to help normalize the vibrance of human connection and various perspectives, not to penalize you if every single category of person isn’t represented as perfectly equal percentages in your workforce. The final goal of diversity and inclusion is to standardize and normalize impartial hiring, to make those welcoming opinions and reduced barriers to entry something you do as a basic necessity, not to market to an audience. This respects the dignity of each cherished member of staff, valuing their input and presence at your firm.
With this advice, you’ll know where to go after implementing a diverse and vibrant message.