Building Inclusive workplaces by harnessing diversity
Why should a successful organisation embrace diversity? Some will say discrimination is wrong, illegal and immoral. Others will talk of the social need for inclusion. There is, however, a larger reason for organisations to embrace diversity. The paradigm through which the organisation sees diversity is crucial and that will shape the organisation’s diversity philosophy. Diversity management brings a variety of gender and ethnic groups to the workplace, but firms using inclusive hiring practices also offer management hiring and promotion policies that include a workforce with diverse sexual orientation and a staff with various mental and physical abilities. The two work policies need not operate exclusively, but a well-planned workplace design uses both the all-inclusive and traditional diversity management in combination to create a working environment free from bias and discrimination. Legal Diversity Requirements
Legal diversity requirements for public institutions encourage human resource officers to increase the gender and racial diversity of the staff working at the institution or firm. Private companies using government funding, at both state and federal levels, must also incorporate the same staffing policies requiring diverse hiring. Traditional Diversity Management
Workplaces centred on traditional diversity management focus on legal requirements mandating the hiring of diverse groups of workers. Traditional management uses the federal and state guidelines in hiring and also provides regular programs of workplace diversity training, including training programs for managers and instructional courses for the firm's workforce. The training for traditional management focuses on the statutory and legal requirements under the federal equal employment opportunity legislation and laws outlining required affirmative action methods and practices. Inclusive workplaces and the Bottom Line
Much evidence has emerged in the past decade to suggest that having an organisational culture that embraces a diverse workforce can significantly enhance business performance. This happens in a number of ways; for example, having a diverse workforce helps organisations understand and respond better to diverse customer needs, and opens the possibility of new and emerging markets. Bringing people together from different backgrounds and experiences introduces diverse perspectives and can spark new ideas. Research has shown that these factors can improve quality of decisions. In addition, high-calibre job applicants - particularly women and people from minority groups - are often more attracted to organisations that have a good track record for supporting diversity, so having an active diversity strategy can increase the pool from which employers can recruit. Critical to achieving the benefits of a diverse workforce is creating an inclusive culture. Kenexa defines an inclusive workplace culture as "an organisation where every employee has a high sense of belonging as an accepted, welcomed and valued member in the larger organisation ... an environment where 'We' is everyone". The first step in building an inclusive workplace culture is to analyse the organisation's current state, by creating a workforce profile of employee demographics, auditing the organisation's culture and values to better understand what barriers there might be, and seeking employee feedback. This year KenexaJRA has added a question to their standard questionnaire which will give a starting point for organisations to measure the inclusiveness of their culture. Kenexa also conducts in depth Inclusion and Diversity programmes that provide a picture of how people throughout the organisation perceive the culture. It is not getting any easier for organisations to find talented recruits; for organisations to remain competitive the working environment must be attractive to people with a wide range of...
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