3 ways to build a diverse workforce

By Andrew Hobbs on December 1st, 2017
  1. Bullying, Harassment & Discrimination
  2. Equal Opportunity Employment


BUILDING a business culture that supports equal opportunity has been found to lead to an increase in productivity, as employees feel more valued, respect each other more and take fewer days off.

Yet for a number of reasons, including employee resistance, lack of research and planning and poor implementation, diversity programs often fail and their targets are forgotten.

Angela Godfrey suggests three ways to successfully implement a diversity scheme to avoid wasting time, effort and resources in a doomed program.

  1. Address Your Workplace Culture

Organisations that embrace diversity accept a range of different backgrounds and perspectives – so if different perspectives are not welcomed, the diversity program will not succeed.

If your workplace culture is not ready to embrace a diversity program, it might not work.

If there is resistance, implement a program of cultural change that reinforces that employees and their different opinions are welcomed and valued.

  1. Consider the Future of the Organisation

The key to success with any diversity program is to make it relevant for the strategic direction your business is moving in.

Embracing diversity might help you address a downturn in the market or a shortage of skilled labour, or it might be important to refresh the demographic profile of your current employees.

This might mean making changes on a company level, such as offering flexible working hours to allow a wider variety of workers to apply.

If you aim to reward creativity and differences of opinion, making more diverse hiring decisions may achieve this.

While you should look at what your competitors are doing, do not replicate another company’s diversity program – as it will likely not address your company’s needs.

  1. Measure Your Progress

Embedding a diversity program into your company’s business plan is not a one-off activity, it is a complex process requiring constant review.

This includes measuring things like employee attitudes and the effects of diversity on productivity, and installing diversity metrics and action plans into company practices.

Senior management support is essential and it is important to continue to monitor the success of the program by reporting these metrics and plans to management as often as possible.

To find out more

As we mentioned in an article earlier this month, chapter E7 Equal Opportunity Workplaces in the Employment Law Practical Handbook looks at this issue in greater detail including a checklist for making sure you are taking all the required steps towards increasing diversity in your office.

Also have a look at chapter D1 Discrimination, which looks at direct, indirect and systemic discrimination and includes a step-by-step guide to avoiding discrimination when recruiting.

Why not sign up for a free 14-day trial to see how the Employment Law Practical Handbook can help you? Click here to join.


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