Leading a diverse workforce is about unleashing the power of diversity! A company with a diverse staff enjoys benefits that comes from having a group of people from varying backgrounds and cultures. The more people with varying opinions and experiences a company has, the greater levels of contributions that are made to the organization.
Another benefit of including diversity in your company, is having a larger pool of applicants to choose from leading to more qualified candidates and reducing the time it takes to fill positions.
Diversity is not about trying to make everyone the same. It is about inclusion. It is about embracing your staffs individuality and what they each bring on their own to your company. Tap into each person’s unique abilities and your business is sure to benefit.
How to Lead A Diverse Workforce By Understanding Its Importance
Managing a diverse workforce is an important skill for leaders to master. According to a recent Pew Research Center, by 2055, the U.S. will no longer have a single racial or ethnic majority. This shift towards a more varied population will have major impacts on the workforce and how organizations address diversity in the workplace.
Even so, many leaders don’t fully understand the importance of a diverse environment. To effectively manage diversity on your staff, leaders need to understand their employee’s backgrounds and how culture can affect their decision-making.
Some managers will try applying the same management style for each person on their team. This can have a negative impact on a company, instead of the positive impact of providing a dynamic, well-managed diverse workforce.
Adjust your leadership style depending on the person or the situation. Whether race, age, gender, or any number of qualities that make your workforce unique, how you manage one person may not be the way to manage another person.
Effectively Managing A Diverse Workforce With The Three 'Cs'
Managing diversity in this increasingly varied and multi-generational workforce requires that you Connect, Collaborate, and have constant Communication with the team. This will help create a more engaged staff in the long run.
Connecting with employees to find out what motivates them is a good place to start. People like to be heard and understood. Inquire about them personally. Find out what their hobbies are, what they are passionate about. This can uncover ways to motivate them. When you’ve figured out what makes each person tick, it will go a long way on how to lead them.
Communicate company goals and what is expected of them to deliver on those goals! Collaborating how to achieve the goals can reveal different viewpoints you have on your team. Different viewpoints can come from each person’s unique background and culture. Create ways for the team to express ideas. Set checkpoints along the way to be sure everyone is on track with their goals.
Let employees get to know and value one another on an individual basis. This can help break down preconceived notions and cultural misunderstandings.
To manage a diverse workforce, organizations need to ensure that they effectively communicate with employees. Policies, rules and other important information should be designed to overcome language and cultural barriers. Provide materials using pictures and symbols whenever applicable. Additionally, communicate with each employee by giving both positive and constructive feedback on a regular basis. Do not give people who are different from you an easier or harder time. Work on creating a truly open environment where each of your employees feel comfortable communicating opinions and sharing. Make sure all staff knows that it’s a safe place to share and no ideas are to be deemed bad ones by other teammates or by you as the manager.
A Diverse Workforce Is About Adding Value Through Benefits
Embracing diversity is about valuing individuals and respecting what each brings to the team. It is not enough to acknowledge differences; you must promote an inclusive environment in order to create a successful team. Management must celebrate individual differences, not just tolerate them. The benefits of more variety in staffing and backgrounds is what in the long run adds the value to your company.
The bottom line is to “unleash the power of diversity” and all its many benefits. When you do this, you’ll see your company moving successfully into the future.
About the Guest Author
Leanne Lambert is a marketing consultant, designer, blogger and social media specialist supporting businesses in Orange County, CA.
About the Author
Steve Smith is President and Founder of GrowthSource Coaching headquartered in Lake Forest, CA. He is an accomplished leadership, management and organizational enhancement coach who brings over 40 years of business building experience to every client relationship.