7 Ways to Retain a Diverse Workforce in 2022

We have seen some paradigm shifts transpire in the business world in the last few years.  These trends and overhauls have revamped the way how the corporate world operates.  Among these trends, the rise of workplace diversity both in relevance and significance has been enormous.  Having a diverse workforce is the new norm, and the culture of workplace diversity is only set to gain greater momentum in the future.

Having a diverse workforce is excellent if you look at it as a leader.  Greater diversity implies different ideas, multifaceted perspectives, versatile working styles, and creativity.  There is much more to the benefits of workplace diversity.  Apollo Technical concluded that 85 percent of CEOs witnessed a hike in profits by incorporating diverse cultures to substantiate.  Did you know that?  Of course, the same will apply to the healthcare industry as well.

Moreover,  around 60 percent of employees want their organizations to embrace the virtues of diversity and inclusion.  So, even if you have to create a strong employer brand, you need to brand your company as a diverse organization.  However, having a diverse workforce is no achievement. How you manage a diverse workforce in terms of performance, motivation, and engagement matters.

This blog looks at the best strategies that employers can apply to get the highest productivity out of a diverse workforce.  Using these tactics, you can add greater effectiveness to your leadership abilities for leading a diverse workforce by example.  So, let us get started without further ado.

group of people sitting beside rectangular wooden table with laptops Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

How to inspire great performances in a diverse team

1.  Creating a culture driven by empathy

Empathy has become an essential component of the contemporary workplace, especially after the pandemic.  Empathy is the cornerstone of high-performing, diverse teams.  If you look at the leading businesses in the modern corporate world, you will see that most of them are happy to boast how they embrace diversity and empathy.

Having said that, as a leader, you need to have an impressive vision centered around empathy.  Furthermore, it would help if you promoted workplace empathy as one of the intrinsic core values that your business is loyal to.  If you put yourself in the shoes of employees who feel vulnerable because of their unique identities, being in an empathetic environment will help them a great deal.

To elaborate, they will feel far more optimistic when they have faith in their colleagues for making a genuine effort to understand and respect their emotions.  They will be able to express themselves better in the workplace and ask for help whenever necessary.  That will add immense value to their confidence and hence performance.

Otherwise, in an environment that lacks empathy, people will feel that no one understands them or respects them.  Hence, they would not reach out to their teammates for assistance, and workplace communication and collaboration will remain hindered.  Besides, it would help if you also looked at the increasing relevance of empathy in the modern corporate world.

If we look at the State of Workplace Empathy Report, more than 70 percent of employees believe that empathy in the workplace can drive greater motivation.  This is because compassion in the workplace promotes a sense of emotional security, especially among those who fear discrimination in the workplace.

Otherwise, too, in the healthcare industry, the relevance of empathy becomes even more essential.  It is one of the industries where empathy is among the quintessential virtues.  Parallel to the top healthcare technology trends, virtues too will always play a vital role in the success of the healthcare industry.

2.  Promoting zero tolerance for discrimination

The woes of discrimination and the charm of diversity cannot coexist in the workplace, can they?  For diversity to bring positive changes to an organization, there needs to be a practical policy framework that denounces discrimination.  There should be zero tolerance for gender-based, racial, or any other form of discrimination and abuse in the workplace.

However, the policies against discrimination should not be limited to documentation.  As a leader, you ought to lead by example every day and bring these policies to practice whenever needed.  When you do that as a charismatic leader, it will empower your employees to report abuse or discrimination they have been subjected to.

We have seen so often that companies end up doing nothing about allegations on their C-suite executives.  Such inaction makes people in the organization feel unsafe, but it also dents the company’s public perception.  However, in the best interest of your business and to be a fair leader, you need to act on misconduct to set fine examples.  That is the bare minimum you can do to leverage the key benefits of a diverse workforce.

3.  Introducing thoughtful mentoring programs

In the usual sense, we perceive workplace diversity regarding people of different genders, cultures, and social backgrounds working together.  However, different generations working together in the same organization is also a dimension of diversity.  Diversity also exists because baby boomers, generation X, millennials, and generation Z people work together as a team.

So, for this kind of diversity to bring positive organizational changes, mentorship programs will be a great idea.  Thoughtful mentoring programs in the workplace will ensure that millennials and Gen Z employees can connect better with their seniors from Generation X. This is to cite an example of how mentoring programs will promote cordial relationships among different working generations in the workplace.

Besides, you can also have reverse mentoring programs that will work wonders to enhance workplace relationships further.  Young employees can mentor their seniors for digital literacy or how to use the latest productivity tools.  Above all, the flourishing relationships will steer the organization to much greater efficiency.  Mentoring programs will ensure effective learning in the workplace and better cohesion in a diverse workforce.

4.  Bringing Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) activities to the workplace

When diversity has become a booming trend in the workplace, why not blend D&I activities into your engagement plans?  You must already be working on some ideas for employee engagement activities in a virtual workplace and a traditional one.  Why not add D&I activities to your spectrum of engagement activities, then?

That would be a fantastic idea to engage your employees while promoting the notion of vibrant diversity.  There could be a wide range of D&I activities to choose from, and you can further customize them to suit your organization.  Potluck, storytelling, virtual movie nights hosting D&I movies are some of the best examples of D&I activities that are easy to execute.

four people watching on white MacBook on top of glass-top table Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

5.  Making decision making more inclusive

Diversity and inclusion complement each other, and hence, for diversity to be a successful virtue, an organization needs to keep innovating on the lines of inclusion.  You need to find ways to encourage your diverse workforce to take the initiative to participate in the decision-making process.

Of course, that would only be possible when you ask them for their opinions and give them the liberty to express their thoughts.  They should be comfortable stepping ahead to share their views and perspectives on important decisions.

This will make them feel valued, and that value will further drive greater engagement and loyalty among them.  You already know how crucial active employee engagement is for your key business objectives.  That will be your best claim to harvest the actual benefits of a thriving workplace culture that dwells on diversity and inclusion.

Of course, some decisions need to be made solely at the top management level.  However, you can surely indulge your team in decision-making for generic decisions like planning the annual office party, Christmas celebrations, and employee engagement activities.  More than how vital a decision is, their involvement will matter to them.  They will have a strong sense of gratitude when you give them the impression that their opinions are essential.

Furthermore, this intense feeling of gratitude and affection will propel new performance benchmarks.  It will create an atmosphere where employees will feel empowered irrespective of their diverse backgrounds.  Inclusion is the key to employee empowerment, after all!

6.  Celebrating diversity and inclusion

When it comes to the performance management of a diverse workforce, relationships play a vital role.  To explain, relationships between colleagues, trust in the workplace, and the sense of belongingness are the critical determinants of employee engagement.  Further, in the context of diverse organizations, the relevance of these virtues increases manifold.

If you look at it from the employees’ perspective, comfort is a significant factor for them.  If they constantly fear being discriminated against or abused by people around them, their productivity will only decrease.  These fears will make them feel highly vulnerable and keep interfering with their focus.

Hence, as a leader, you need to ensure that they feel a strong sense of belongingness in the workplace.  Besides, they should be able to trust their colleagues to respect their individuality, customs, and beliefs, which may be different from others.

It would be best to promote this trust and belonging in them by celebrating diversity in the workplace.  It would be best if you looked to celebrate all festivals, special days, and traditions that concern your workforce.  So, even if two employees in your entire workforce follow Islam, you should still host celebrations on Eid for them.

That will be a positive step toward building deeper relationships and promoting greater belonging.  The least you can do is offer them a holiday on Eid so that they can celebrate with their loved ones.  Such little gestures will always have a colossal impact on cultivating a culture of trust and belongingness.

Now, if you are wondering if trust directly correlates with productivity or not, it indeed does.  Harvard Business Review cited that workplace trust can enhance productivity and engagement by 50 percent and 76 percent, respectively.

Do you still want to neglect the need for fostering trust in a diverse workforce?  Instead, you should be looking for novel ideas to celebrate diversity and inclusion in the workplace.  Celebrate your people, identities, achievements, and loyalty to you.  You will then see how optimism fills the organization and how performances touch new horizons.

7.  Embracing equity in leadership opportunities

For any organization to successfully implement the idea of workplace diversity, equality and equity need to be at the forefront of things.  As a leader, you have to reinforce these virtues every day in the workplace to cultivate cohesion.  The kind of access your employees have to leadership opportunities will be a vital criterion.

To explain, for a diverse workforce to perform at its best, everyone must have an equal claim to leadership positions.  Irrespective of race, gender, generation, or any other differentiation, everyone should be entitled to grow in the organization.  Performance and diligence should be the only parameters that should matter.

In such an environment, people will be highly motivated to bring out the best in them every day.  They will know if they put in the more significant commitment and sincerity, there is nothing else that can stand in their way.  We all love the idea of growth, and we always have our eyes on taking up the next leadership role.

When your employees see that the prospects of it are high and not biased, they would by default feel the urge to set new benchmarks for claiming that leadership position.  Besides, if you can achieve that, it will also be a great value addition to your company’s perception as an employer brand.  When people from the outside see an excellent inclusion in career advancement, the top talents will gravitate towards your company.

To encapsulate, diversity, as we all know, is a workplace trend that is here to stay.  More and more organizations are now looking forward to adding new layers of diversity to their workforce.  However, it is equally important to manage workplace diversity efficiently so that an organization can reap the benefits it has to offer.  Otherwise, the mismanagement of workplace diversity will only add to an organization’s woes.

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