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Diversity in the Workplace

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Diversity in the Workplace

 

Diversity in the workplace refers to the varying characteristics present in employees at a job site or workplace. These characteristics include:

 

  • Age

  • Cultural background

  • Values

  • Life experiences

  • Race

  • Beliefs

  • Religion

  • Educational level

  • Geographical location

  • Gender

  • Physical abilities

  • Socioeconomic background

  • Sexual orientation

 

While workplace diversity in the past focused on compliance with laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, organizations have learned that they benefit from diversity in ways that profit the company both culturally and financially. Three reports by McKinsey show how impactful a diverse workplace can be, including a 2015 report titled Why Diversity Matters. This study reviewed metrics such as the composition of upper management and financial results. The findings showed that companies are 15-35% more likely to experience above-average financial returns if their workforce has ethnic and racial diversity and gender diversity. 

 

Other McKinsey reports that demonstrated financial gains obtainable by companies with diverse workforces include Delivering Through Diversity (2018) and Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters (2020).

 

Besides the benefits to the company, diversity in the workplace also gives employees a more inclusive working environment. Moreover, McKinsey’s reports showed that the majority of team members support diversity, with 52% of employees saying that diversity in the workplace is positive. 

 

Employers that foster diversity in the workplace focus on six action areas. 

 

  • Strengthening leadership capabilities and accountability

  • Ensuring that diverse employees are well represented

  • Tackling discrimination, microaggressions, and bias

  • Enabling equality of opportunity

  • Being transparent and fair

  • Fostering a sense of belonging through support for the many ways diversity manifests

 

Example: 

 

To have diversity in the workplace, employers can have people of differing characteristics working side-by-side rather than segregating specific individuals. For example, a programming team should consist of people of all genders, ages, races, and cultural backgrounds. Another example is roles that have traditionally been gender-specific can be filled by either women or men.

 

Related Terms

DEI Policy

is the term used to refer to an organization’s policies or programs used to promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion values. Having a DEI policy in place encourages recruiters to recruit and hire diverse team members and build a welcoming workplace that is free of discrimination.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)

is an extension of the concept of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). While DEI focuses on creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, DEIB takes it a step further by also focusing on creating a sense of belonging for all employees. This means fostering an environment where individuals of all backgrounds feel valued, respected, supported, and included in the organization's culture and community. DEIB initiatives can include but are not limited to employee resource groups, employee engagement surveys, affinity groups, cultural competency training, and other employee development opportunities that focus on creating an inclusive and equitable workplace culture and promoting a sense of belonging for all employees.

Dimensions of Diversity

is a term that refers to a company’s workplace diversity and the employees who have different backgrounds, traits, and abilities.

Diversity Hiring

is the conscious practice of creating a diverse workforce by hiring employees from diverse backgrounds, including sexual orientations, races, national origins, and genders.

Equal Opportunity Employment (EOE)

refers to offering employment opportunities to people based on their ability to perform the duties of a job rather than their age, gender, race, or other factors. EOE is the idea that every individual has an equal opportunity to be successful in their career regardless of where they come from, who they are, or what they look like.

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