Welcoming diverse perspectives is key to a thriving workplace. Learn what you can do to create an inclusive environment where employee voices are heard.
Study after study has shown the benefits of a diverse workforce. McKinsey & Co. found that corporations that identified as more diverse and inclusive are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. A People Management study revealed that diverse teams are 87% better at making decisions.
But it’s not enough for a company to just look diverse. To reap the benefits, companies must effectively integrate the diverse perspectives that their employees have. When you do this, several things will happen.
Let’s take a look at what your company can do to encourage diverse perspectives in the workplace.👇
Here are seven ways that your company can support diversity of thought and ideas in the workplace.
Building diverse perspectives in the workplace starts with your hiring process. Oftentimes, companies try to only hire candidates that they feel fit their company culture. But when you’re only looking for people who will fit in, you will likely end up with a room full of people who all think the same way. And a room full of people who think the same can open the door to new problems like unconscious biases and groupthink.
Instead of just looking for culture fits, look for culture adds.
Consider what a candidate can bring to your company, whether it’s a unique skillset, a different background, or outside-of-the-box thinking. Ditch the old mindset of “that’s the way things are done here” and replace it with an open mind when hiring.
Some people love sharing their opinions and ideas in a group setting. Others prefer to discuss things one-on-one. There are even some who like to write out their initial thoughts first and follow up with a verbal discussion.
All of these are valid ways to share ideas and concerns.
Make sure that your company and leaders are allowing people to share their thoughts in ways that they are most comfortable with. This means opening up various platforms and opportunities for sharing, such as a combination of:
When you only provide one way to participate, you may be unknowingly shutting some people out. Options = inclusion.
There are a ton of ways to celebrate differences at work. In fact, we could probably write a whole blog post about that topic alone!
But for now, here are some ways to acknowledge and uplift the things that make your employees unique:
Not sure what holidays to recognize or what cultures people should learn more about? Start by asking! See what D&I calendar resources your peers are using and anonymously poll your employees to see what sort of celebrations they might want to see.
Your organization’s leaders should be pros at listening to their team members. Of course, this doesn’t always come naturally. It’s not uncommon for leaders to unintentionally steamroll brainstorming and decision-making on their team. But that doesn’t mean that it is something that your leaders can't learn.
Invest in professional development opportunities that teach and encourage your managers to be better listeners. Courses, seminars, workshops, and other learning experiences can remind your company’s leaders how to be open-minded and responsive to what others have to say.
It’s one thing to be open to hearing people’s perspectives. It’s a whole different rodeo to actually put those different ideas into practice. The bottom line is that if you want employees to speak up, they have to feel like it's worthwhile.
Some ways to do this include:
Don’t just tell employees that their voice matters. Show them.
If employees feel like they can’t be their authentic selves at work, you probably are also missing out on their valuable perspectives. When an employee can be their authentic self, they develop a sense of trust and feel valued. By promoting authenticity and self-expression, your organization can foster transparency, increase productivity, and improve the overall employee experience.
Creating an environment where feedback is valued can make a huge difference in empowering your employees.
👎 Treating feedback as an attack = employees that are afraid to be truthful.
👍 Treating feedback as an opportunity for honest improvement = employees who want to contribute to the success of the company.
Seek out feedback from your employees often, and use the insights to make actionable changes in your workplace.
Encouraging diverse perspectives is a key to the success of any business— but they require companies to put in some work. If you want your employees to share their skills, knowledge, and voice with the company, you must create a culture where they are included and valued. We hope these seven steps send you in the right direction!