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Workforce Diversity: How Companies Are Achieving

By 2044, minority demographics will reach majority status, says the Society for Human Resource Management, but what does that mean for businesses now? Though many employers view the Diversity and Inclusion offices as a way to simply boost their public reputation, a diverse workplace is actually highly beneficial to a company’s success.

Opening up the workforce to seek out diverse hires does more than expands the talent pool: employees that work with others of varying race, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender and physical abilities work in an environment that encourages diverse perspectives and creative ideas, and challenges everyone’s way of thinking. Ideally, a company’s workforce should reflect its customer base so that the product or service is developed with all demographics considered to which it is marketed.

Diversity also pays off with performance: gender and ethnic diversity show 15% and 30% higher performance respectively than those with far less diverse teams, according to McKinsey & Co. Diversity matters especially in leadership roles, boosting equity by 53% when the executive-board has a well-rounded demographic and increasing profits when over half of the executives are women.

Businesses across industries are doing their best to reach a more diverse workforce while encouraging inclusion and tolerance.

Company Spotlights

Texas Healthcare Resources, an Arlington, Texas hospital system that ranks number 1 on Fortune’s list for Best Workplaces for Diversity and number 2 for Best Workplaces for African-Americans, employs 77% women and 41% ethnic minorities. It holds regular ESL classes to increase its accommodations for the hearing impaired, includes benefits for same-sex partners and hosts 32 events each year to connect employees of different backgrounds. Not only does Texas Healthcare Resources seek out the diverse hires—it seeks to accommodate and benefit them, creating a supremely satisfied workforce, according to a 2016 survey.

The top spot on Forbes’ list of America’s Best Employers for Diversity went to Northern Trust, an investment management firm of 17,800 employees. Women comprise 38% of Northern Trust’s top executives, while African-Americans make up 23% of the board. The organization has continuous Diversity at Work training and a variety of Business Resource Councils that advance diversity efforts, including a Latin Heritage Leadership Council and a Military Appreciation and Assistance Resource Council, according to their website.

Levy, which took the third spot on Forbes’ list, employs similar tactics in creating councils and groups dedicated to diversity, according to a report released by their parent company Compass Group. The report also features their diversity awards, training opportunities and diverse employees throughout.

Best Practices For Diversity

Organizations struggling with diversity can take note of the exemplary companies above and use the following tactics to create a more diverse and inclusive working environment:

Identify New Talent Pools And Accommodate Differences

Companies can expand their talent pool and increase their performance by actively seeking out diverse hires. This process can occur at a number of levels beyond the traditional new-hire resources: Reach out to new talent by offering scholarships and internships that appeal to minority demographics. Make it easier for applicants like veterans and those with disabilities to apply applications and hiring policies that accommodate their differences. Maintain those hires by adapting their work environment to encourage and engage them.

Train Leaders And HR

All leadership should be equipped with the knowledge necessary to actively encourage and engage all of their employees. Training leadership positions in diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias is a major step toward creating an atmosphere of tolerance and empowerment for minorities.

Provide Resources

The key to maintaining minority employees is to include tools that empower them. Activities like mentorship programs and networking events can boost engagement and inclusion for minority hires. 30% of surveyed women felt that there were obstacles in the workplace culture that hindered gender diversity. Policies for working mothers and maternity leave boost women’s confidence in their employer and the safety of their position.

Modify The Company Image

Just as a company should reflect their customer base, a company should reflect their employees in their image and branding; in other words, diversity should be a part of the company image, not only to appeal to the consumer, but to encourage other talent demographics to apply. Placing minority demographics in leadership roles is an important message that those of all backgrounds are capable of succeeding within the company.

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