Originally published on fooyoh.com
Many issues surround diverse workplaces. Many companies are starting to have an open mind about hiring practices to include diversity.
Diversity can be a company’s most valuable asset in the workplace. The path to successful diversity for many employers and employees requires overcoming frequent conflicts. It’s essential for a company, as well as its employees, to enlighten themselves on how to resolve these conflicts to close the gap between intentions and reality.
Apple, Inc. states that a diverse workplace is critical for innovative companies. Businesses such as UE.co in San Diego embrace the benefits of diversity and believe it plays a significant role in supporting community leaders and innovators. Identified as one of Inc. Fastest Growing Companies and as San Diego Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Company, UE.co is an example of a company that lives out the success diversity brings.
Here, UE.co shares diversity conflicts and solutions, advantages, and implementation.
Workplace Diversity: Problems and Solutions
Problem: A technology company started by three men in a kitchen opened its first office a year after the first start-up meeting. Since the hiring process was brand new, the three men found their first six employees through friends and family. Another year passes, and the company strongly reflects a male-dominated culture due to the nature of their friendships intertwined with the pressure of the sales environment.
A sales position opens up, and the owners decide to hire another employee through a recruiting firm. To move in the direction of creating a diverse workplace, the owners interview and hire a middle-aged Canadian woman. On the day before the woman starts, there is a company meeting held to watch a training video on diversity and inclusion within the office. Following the video, the meeting came to a traditional end as beers were cracked and passed around.
Three months after her start date, and as the top in sales, the woman quits. The following two women the company hires also leave within a short period of taking on the position.
Solution: To become fully inclusive, most companies must dramatically change their culture. Unfortunately, 71 percent of organizations desire to have an inclusive culture, but low maturity levels lead to failure.
What usually happens is businesses greatly underestimate the level of changes that need to take place in the company’s culture. Instead of taking the necessary step of resetting the culture in the workplace, many businesses turn to a programmatic method such as hiring with the mindset of increasing a specific demographic group’s representation. The result can lead to resistance from current successful employees feeling threatened by a change in the status quo.
Businesses that allow alcohol consumption should always consider people who do not drink. Providing alternatives such as non-alcoholic beer, soda in a glass bottle, or the employee’s preferred beverage is an opportunity for a company to create an inclusive environment and show care.
The more effort put into changing a work environment’s culture, the more successful implementing inclusivity will be. An excellent reference for companies to follow is The Deloitte Diversity and Inclusion Maturity Model.
Problem: A small paper company is in distress. They have lost two-thirds of their customers due to the increase in paperless businesses and technology advancement. The manager calls an emergency meeting with the sales employees. He believes they would be the best group of people to solve the matter due to their interactions with customers’ wants and needs. Kelley, the customer service representative, has family in India who has shared proactive ideas with her that could save the dying paper industry. She wants to join the meeting to share her thoughts, but she does not feel like her ideas are welcome.
Solution: Successful diversity and inclusion in the office can be the engine that continues to move a company forward long-term. Companies need to keep in mind that a vibrantly diverse and inclusive workplace is about the people, not the positions they hold. When the focus is on the people, organizations are more likely to practice the inclusion of both demographic and cognitive diversity. Cognitive diversity is a fountainhead for creativity and has been proven through studies to increase new company ideas by 20 percent.
Outside Implementation Strategies
Support is key when living out diversity in the workplace. That means supporting new ideas, perspectives, and an inclusive, safe, nondiscriminatory environment for all.
A company that embraces inclusivity not only inside the workplace but outside, too, can show the public its genuine support for spreading awareness. Many customers look to work with companies that show support in these areas. UE.co offers the UE.co Community Scholarship to students encouraging improvement within their community. The $1,000 scholarship was founded to support leaders and innovators in society. Students can submit a 500-word essay in response to the question, “How have you continued to improve your community?” for eligibility.
The Community Scholarship reflects UE.co support for diversity beyond the workplace by recognizing and rewarding young individual’s leadership skills and providing inclusiveness through empowerment. This practice positively overflows into other areas of the company that deals with public interaction, such as hiring potential employees. “Being able to look past demographic characteristics and recognize good, effective, inclusive leaders only betters the workplace for future generations in the company,” stated UE.co.
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