Why Is Diversity Important in the Workplace?
And does diversity training actually work?
The U.S. is becoming more diverse by the day, but are workplaces? Women and people of color are still sorely underrepresented in leadership positions. And many workplaces are still astonishingly homogenous—especially at the executive level.
It shows in the data. Human resources consulting firm Mercer found that while whites represented 64% of entry-level workers in the U.S., they made up 85% of top executive positions. And women and minorities continue to make less than their white male colleagues, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
The good news is that many organizations are making diversity and inclusion central goals. They’re hiring diversity officers, conducting diversity training, and making workspaces more inclusive.
A diverse workforce is more likely to understand customers’ needs and brainstorm creative solutions to fulfill them. Diversity in the workplace also tends to improve employee morale, reduce employee turnover, and boost people’s desire to collaborate. This is a win for both businesses and workers.
But thinking you can mandate diversity training and expect instant harmony is fantasy.
If you really want to change your workplace for the better, you need to commit—really commit—to creating an atmosphere of inclusivity. And that requires adopting the right approach.