How to Foster Diversity in the Workplace
Diversity in West Michigan is a driving force in the entrepreneurial community, where it’s been a focus for many small businesses and supporters for years, including the team here at GROW. Diversity brings representation, perspective, and creativity to businesses, and fostering a team that prioritizes racial and economic equity only makes an organization stronger. Here are some ways to work toward a more diverse workplace and team.
Prioritize diversity in all its forms
Most of us think about diversity in terms of race, and while that’s an incredibly important aspect of a strong team, so is diversity in other aspects. Consider economic background, sexual orientation, disabilities, or even personalities. The strongest teams are those that bring together people from a variety of different backgrounds and with unique perspectives.
Set goals everyone has access to
Ask yourself how you want your business to be viewed and experienced. Do you want it to feel safe for all people? Do you want it to encourage business from different neighborhoods? Do you want to be supportive of the entirety of your community? Write your goals for diversity down and make them known amongst your team. This makes them more tangible and can make them feel more reachable, too.
Make diversity a part of your culture
Build practices and policies that are inclusive of everyone. Change your recruiting process if necessary. Commit to diversity training, equal pay, and leadership opportunities. Host events around equitable topics, create conversation, and give each member of your team a voice. By creating a culture that respects and aims for diversity, it will build a stronger team and, as a result, a stronger business.
Know your community
Are your services inclusive of your direct community? Are you serving folks of a different race or socioeconomic background? Is your space safe for everyone? If it’s not, you may need to adjust! Consider how your products and services are relevant to specific people, whether your services are accessible, and if you feel confident in your messaging and promotions of your business and team. To know your community, you often have to become a part of it. What’s your team doing to get involved? Are you up-to-date on events, news, and happenings? Diversity requires a lot of dedication, and fostering a team and a business that is welcoming to everyone requires active steps of action.
To foster diversity in the workplace, you have to be aware of all of the ways in which it plays a role in your business. Know your implicit biases and work against them. Learn and open yourself up to new and different cultures and backgrounds. Make diversity something that lives at the forefront of your team, your processes, and your services. And as always, please reach out to us at GROW if you have any questions regarding putting together policies, building a better team, or accessing resources!