As the year slowly comes to an end (or for others can’t seem to slow down), this can be a perfect time to reflect on the change in culture around the workplace. Or more so, on the culture of inclusivity. A topic that has been growing in popularity for the last couple of years. What is to be expected of 2019? Are Recruitment Software platforms changing to ensure diversity is considered and implemented through Applicant Tracking Systems? The new year should mean new beginnings, and with that, what can we do to make a change happen? How can you improve your work culture and in a final resolution build a higher level of employee engagement?

I just mentioned a variety of critical points there; they all unite and relate which works great for this blog. As you know, ’employee engagement’ is improved by a positive and healthy work ‘culture’, and how the culture can be further developed is by involving ‘inclusivity and diversity’. Two birds, one stone; or in this case, let’s make it three.

The central aspect of this piece is to discuss the culture and how it can be improved. It may sound too late in the year to be considering and thinking about implementing new strategies and ideas, but you may be surprised by how impactful the effects will bestow on your company or organisation.

First, let us look at the changes throughout the years when it comes to concerning culture and diversity; we’ll discuss the rest further on.

 

THE PAST: a brief history.

If you look back, say around 15 years ago, the iPhone didn’t even exist, and I remember trying to get on the Internet took a lot more than just a click of a button. The work/life balance was in no proper shape like it is today. Now, you can work from outside your office and be able to focus on your health and ‘you time’.Back then, cloud technology was just about to develop, and high-speed wireless services were gradually being introduced.

Not only that but having a diverse workplace with inclusivity and diversity was a slow development. Robyn Showers wrote that ‘when you have equality in the workforce, it creates a domino effect of change across the socioeconomic system’.

With this, there have been interesting moments throughout the history of diversity in the American workforce. These moments from Robyn Showers article on the history of variety in the workplace include:

 

  • 1948: President Truman desegregated the armed forces with Executive Order 9981, which made discrimination based on race, color, religion or origin illegal for all members of the armed services.

 

  • 1964: The Civil Rights Act made it illegal for any business to practice discriminatory recruiting and to terminate practices.

 

  • 2000: Secretary of Labour William Brock commisions Workforce 2000, and the “diversity industry” is born.

 

  • 2008: Journalists at the San Jose Mercury News and CNN Money began investigations into the workforce diversity at the Silicon Valley tech giants. Half the companies were able to block the release of the data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

 

  • 2013: Pinterest reveals that only 12% of their engineers are female.

 

Now, compare all that to how it is today (good and bad).

 

  • 74% of companies claim to practice diverse hiring.

 

  • 18.75% of software engineers are female.

 

  • 7% of STEM workers are African and Hispanic, despite making up 28% of the population.

 

THE PRESENT: the changes.

Research has made it clear that companies with a more diverse workplace perform better financially, and improve the positive effects of the employee engagement and work culture.

According to a 2015 report on Diversity Matters, in the U.S, there is a continuing relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and better financial performance: for every 10% increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior executive team, earnings before interest and taxes rise by 0.8%.

This report also shows how companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity, are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry medians, and gender diversity is 15% more likely to have financial returns.Diversity has a positive impact on organisational performance by helping to strengthen customer orientation, improve the decision making and employee experience, as well as enhancing and boosting the company’s image and reputation.

The culture of an organisation is so essential for incoming recruits to see and understand how the business works and where they can see themselves within the company.

The workplace community should consist of positive values, beliefs, behaviour and attitude that employees can share and use every day at work.

Within work culture, it needs to be remembered as being the key and leading operator of the overall performance of the business and organization.

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Having a happy work environment where you feel valued, appreciated and safe is essential. Facing discrimination just because of your ethnicity or abilities can push a company and employee to the bottom of the barrel.

Research has proven that having a diverse team allows for better decision making, more innovative products, and they make MORE money — up to 35% than their less varied counterparts!

Diversity comes in many forms including race, gender, age, mental/physical ability, sexual orientation and religion. Statistics show that over 320 million people are living in the U.S, and within that vast pool of individuals, 350 languages are spoken, and over 60 million Americans speak a language other than English. What a large selection of diverse candidates you have there.

By having such a large variety of future employees, they bring with them a mixture of backgrounds, perspectives and experience in their industry and field. In having this as a part of your team it will enhance the spirit and success of your business, and why wouldn’t you want that?

Now, how can you implement this for the new year? Here are steps on the way you can increase and introduce diversity in the workplace; thus improving the work culture.

 

1. Evaluate and educate current team and managers.

Assess the team and figure out why your workplace has not been open to the idea and prospects of hiring outside of the norm. Unfortunately, it can usually be an old-school persona of sticking to tradition and not hiring minorities. It’s a shame, but you can help change that.

Introduce training methods that can educate and teach managers on how to work alongside and support each new employee. By identifying gaps and problem areas, it helps improve the organization.

 

2. Change the team and organizations mission to focus on diversity and culture.

A companies mission and motto could be one thing, yet the team could be another. Strive for involvement across all levels and departments in the company.

Make the teams come together and even reach out to members who are already diverse. You don’t have to wait for new applicants to make a change.

 

3. Offer and introduce mentorship programs and opportunities.

Hiring a diverse workforce is essential, but mentorship programs and outside opportunities are a vital element of workplace diversity programs. This ensures that everyone has the chance to advance, regardless of their age, race, sex, or other factors.Now if your company can’t provide these programs, there are other ways.

Encourage development opportunities like continuing education, women’s leadership, and other culturally related factors.

Check that your leadership team displays diversity, as well as hiring and promoting diverse candidates into such roles.

 

4. Promote flexibility and educate your employees.

Give your employees the opportunity to work from home and incorporate their traditions and beliefs.For example, during the Muslim month of Ramadan; be aware and respectful of your staff who are fasting and praying. Also, if you have mothers in your team, offer the flexibility of working from home or only coming to work for a half day.

Share the changes with your staff and have monthly educational or online workshops to inform and teach employees on the diverse culture your organisation strives to grow in to.

 

Some people can say this is ‘old news’, but unfortunately, we still see this and have to witness it. We shouldn’t have to wait until the next century for our workplace to be universally full of interesting and vibrant people. We all bring unique qualities to our roles whether it’s as a high school teacher or a software engineer. But, we should also be given the same opportunities as everyone else. No one should have to give up because of the color of their skin, because they wear a skirt or because of their learning abilities. I don’t want that and neither should you. A new year does mean new beginnings. Let’s start, shall we?

 

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