Guest post by Leisel Davis from LawPath
Having a diverse workforce brings many benefits. Not only are you as an employer promoting fairness and equality, but studies have actually shown that employees perform better when they’re part of a diverse team that fosters inclusion. Many companies have subsequently embraced diversity and introduced policies to make this happen – and smaller businesses can too.
Here we’ve come up with some helpful tips on how to introduce an effective diversity policy in your business.
Review your current systems
Take stock of the current processes you have in place for hiring, collaboration, dispute resolution and community engagement. Assess where there are gaps that can be filled by having a more comprehensive plan on promoting diversity. A human resources advisor or employment lawyer can help you with this task. Although undertaking this review can be time-consuming, but it’s important to have a good idea of where you’re starting from, and on how you can build new policies into pre-existing ones – or if you want to start from scratch.
Broaden your hiring methods
Being an equal opportunity employer means more than just being willing to hire from a broad spectrum of people. Consider how your job advertisements are written. Do they cater to one specific demographic or do they aim to get the widest pool of talented candidates as possible? Also, have a look at where you post job advertisements. If you only post your advertisements on 1 or 2 platforms, it may be worth looking at posting them on platforms that have a wider reach, such as LinkedIn or local community boards. The wider your pool of candidates, the more diverse your workplace is likely to be.
Train your employees in the importance of diversity
Although it’s great that employers want to hire a diverse range of people, what about your existing employees? It’s important to understand that having an effective diversity policy in the workplace is not something that is done on an ad-hoc basis, or by filling quotas. It’s something that’s done continuously, through training employees on how to contribute to a workplace that’s not only collaborative but also inclusive. Training employees can involve having a monthly meeting to discuss diversity policies or having dedicated training days. Celebrating days such as international women’s day or harmony day will also raise awareness with your employees.
Have supporting policies
Your diversity policy can tie in with other policies at the workplace, and they can complement each other. Your policy can be enforced through a code of conduct which requires employees to act in a manner that is consistent with inclusiveness and acceptance (this can also be included as a clause in employment contracts). It is also beneficial to have adequate policies to deal with bullying and harassment and equal opportunity. These will support the broader aims of your diversity policy and let employers know that this is something the business takes very seriously.
Workplace diversity is about more than fulfilling quotas, it’s about undertaking a consistent effort to ensure that all employees feel accepted and included whether they are new employees or have been working at your business for years. Implementing a cohesive policy will ensure that your business is as collaborative and productive as it can be.
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