For companies to be successful and move ahead of their competition they need to know how to create environments where all people can be accepted, respected and utilized for the differences they bring to the workplace. Knowing how to do that can enhance productivity and increase profit.
While some organizations may understand the need to have their employees be representative of its customer base in order to stay competitive, they don’t know how to integrate diversity into the overall business strategy. They may hire more people of color and women, but don’t address systems and processes for recruitment, and retention, promotion, mentoring and leadership. It’s not enough to talk about diversity, or have a few training sessions without creating a change in the culture of the organization from the top down.
Diversity initiatives need to begin with an assessment of the organization, no matter how big or small, to identify how employees perceive things. Its more than just race, and gender, but includes differences like age, ethnic background, work function, education, sexual orientation and religion. You have to address the diversity of the customer base and determine how well you meet their needs. If your business is located in an area where there is a large Spanish speaking population, it only makes good business sense to have some employees that are bilingual.
As industries compete for qualified employees at all levels, in a shrinking labor pool at all levels, no one should be disqualified because of their differences. In order to develop a diversity initiative that can improve productivity and profit, people at all levels need to be educated. It means a commitment to change, not only how the company looks but also how people treat each other personally and professionally.