Hiring a team with diverse backgrounds is essential to foster creativity and innovation, even more important is to reflect the communities that you serve. Follow the steps below to celebrate and encourage diversity in your workplace.
Understand diversity. Remember that diversity not only includes race, it also includes gender, age, physical abilities and religious, lifestyle and cultural backgrounds.
Attract diversity. It is important for your business to show that it welcomes diversity by including culturally diverse messaging in external materials as well as getting involved in the community.
Measure it. Measurement allows you to take an objective look at the level of diversity your company currently has, and where improvements can be made.
Create a hiring strategy. Work with an attorney to ensure your hiring policies comply with state and federal laws. The goal is to establish a policy that is age, race, gender, lifestyle and minority neutral.
Include diversity at all levels. Having a diverse upper management team will help with retention, since it shows employees that they have an equal opportunity to grow and achieve their professional goals.
Expand your reach. Include your job listings in newspapers and employment publications that reach a wide audience. Websites such as diversityworking.com ensure minority job seekers will see your listing.
Look to community organizations. Many women-only groups and minority organizations are happy to help spread the word about open positions at local companies. Also have your employees involved in these organizations.
Implement training. Offer training for employees on cultural sensitivity in the workplace. There are many online training tools available, or consider hiring a professional to speak on the topic.
Offer resources. The University of Arizona provides information and links to outside resources on diversity and inclusion at diversity.arizona.edu. At Cox, we have a Diversity and Inclusion Office, as well as employee resource groups that allow employees to network with colleagues across our organization.
Survey employees. Understand how your employees view your company’s culture and diversity, and be willing to make changes if needed.
Lisa Lovallo is the Southern Arizona market vice president for Cox Communications.