Diversity is one of the primary areas of focus in the employment landscape today and with good reason. Most importantly, from an ethical perspective it’s vital to make certain that your business is not cultivating the active or passive forms of discrimination that still exist in too many companies. All businesses must be committed to a culture of equality and inclusion.
There are also clear business imperatives here. The presence of a truly diverse staff holds significant benefits for everybody connected to the company. Workers are culturally and socially enriched by meaningful connections with people of varied backgrounds. Consumers get to interact with a greater range of knowledgeable professionals who may better understand their unique needs. Not to mention that recent research shows that diverse perspectives tend to drive innovation.
For all stakeholders to gain from the most positive experiences of diversity, it’s vital to get an accurate picture of how it features in your company. This gives you the chance to identify issues, keep learning about, and make meaningful changes. So, let’s dig into understanding diversity in your workplace.
What Do We Mean by Diversity?
The vast majority of us know and agree that diversity is important. However, it’s also the case that not all business leaders fully understand what this really means in the context of a diverse workplace. It’s difficult to make accurate assessments of how positively your company embraces staff from varied backgrounds if you don’t have a solid grasp of the concept.
So, let’s begin with the makeup of the staff. Diversity isn’t simply focused on ensuring there is good racial representation among your employees, although this is an important factor. When considering whether you have a diverse staff you also need to examine whether the company is composed of people from various geographic and cultural backgrounds. It’s also important to look at whether you support staff who live with mobility challenges and neurodivergent traits. Too many business leaders also overlook workers from different socioeconomic groups and sexual orientation.
You should also bear in mind that a truly positively diverse workplace isn’t a space in which staff from diverse backgrounds are merely present. Rather, it’s about your business having a culture of belonging. You need to establish if your business is a place in which all your employees feel actively welcomed, supported, and nurtured no matter what their background happens to be.
How Should You Measure Diversity?
Measuring diversity in the workplace has often been performed through direct quantitative assessments or reviews of company protocols by leadership. However, this ignores the fact that the important, accurate, and relevant insights on the true state of diversity has to come from the staff themselves. This is especially vital when it comes to seeking to understand experiences related to how welcomed and included staff members feel.
As such, perhaps the most powerful and respectful approach to measuring diversity is through issuing staff surveys on the subject. The Workify Diversity Index Survey is a scientifically-grounded method to achieve this. Designed by I/O psychologists, our index was created to help businesses gather the most relevant data to assess diversity by focusing on measuring 4 key areas.
This aspect measures your staff’s perspectives on how diversity features in the workplace. It determines the presence of diversity on the basis of religion, race, age, sexual orientation, gender, and culture. But it also goes further to gain information on how staff find the company responds to more diverse viewpoints and ideas and the extent to which staff are able to meaningfully contribute.
Genuine inclusion is the hallmark of a diverse workplace. This aspect of the Workify Diversity Index determines how included and engaged all workers feel in relation to company operations and culture. This includes questions to measure how freely workers can speak without fear of reprisals and whether they feel the company embraces their contributions. Importantly, it also measures whether all members of your workforce feel they’re encouraged in their professional development.
One of the most important indicators of positive diversity at work is belonging. Your employees shouldn’t feel as though they’re outsiders in a company they’re expected to contribute the best of themselves to. Therefore, this aspect in the Workify Diversity Index Survey focuses on gathering data on employees’ perspectives on feeling welcome and heard in their teams and in the workplace as a whole.
To be able to claim genuine diversity, your workplace must be a space in which all employees are treated justly and fairly. Your workers’ perspectives on this are important because they may be subject to microaggressions and hurdles in the workplace that managers and leadership are not conscious of. The Workify Diversity Index Survey captures data here on elements such as whether workers feel advancement is open to everyone based solely on merit and how fair worker assessments are.
What Questions Should You Ask?
Knowing the areas you should be measuring is just one aspect of acting effectively. You also need to build questions within those areas that gather the most relevant data to inform your understanding of how well your business is supporting diversity. Workify’s Diversity Index Surveys have been developed by I/O psychologists to include questions that gather accurate and insightful information that provides immediate clarity on any areas for further focus or improvement.
Some examples of these questions in each of the four pillars of the Workify Diversity Index include:
1. My team has a climate in which diverse perspectives are valued.
2. [Company] has created an environment where people of diverse backgrounds can succeed.
3. All employees at [Company] contribute to the success of the company.
1.I feel free to speak my mind without fear of negative consequences.
2. I have the opportunity to develop my career at [Company].
3. I feel valued for my unique contributions.
1. I feel a sense of belonging at [Company].
2. Members on my team are interested in each other as people.
3. I feel like I belong on my team.
1. All employees at [Company] have equal access to development opportunities.
2. I am treated as a full member of my team, regardless of my position.
3. Promotions on my team go to those who best deserve them.
Alongside these targeted quantitative questions, it’s also important to ensure your employees have opportunities to express themselves in their own words on this issue. This provides you with additional insights to inform your understanding of issues in your business culture and any changes you make moving forwards.
In the Workify Diversity Index Survey, these qualitative questions include the following:
1. Where is our approach to diversity and inclusion at [Company] having a positive impact on our organization?
2. How can we raise our game around diversity and inclusion at [Company]?
What Action Should You Take?
Working in a company that genuinely supports diversity is not just a practical or professional issue for your workers; it’s also deeply personal. As such, it’s important to show significant respect to the feedback your workforce provides on this subject. This means taking immediate and visible action that directly addresses any issues their responses raise.
Make certain you’re communicating with your employees throughout this process. It may be worrying or embarrassing to discover that there are problems with diversity in your organization. However, being open about this demonstrates to your employees that you are authentic in your desire to create a positive and supportive culture in your company. Show your appreciation for their responses, outline specifically where the issues lie, and detail what your plans are for any changes.
Wherever possible, include a diverse range of employees in the change management process. Provide them with the analysis from the Workify Diversity Index Survey to better inform their choices of priorities for alterations and identify the measures that can make the best impact. Remember that as with any change in your company, regular assessment is essential. As such, it’s wise to implement diversity surveys on a regular basis, alongside other assessment tools to measure engagement and promote open feedback.
Building and supporting a diverse workforce is essential to ensure your company has a culture that empowers everyone involved to thrive. As such, it’s important to commit to frequent efforts to understand the extent to which diversity positively influences your business. Adopting Workify Diversity Index Surveys is a scientifically backed approach to measure the core components of a diverse and inclusive working environment and assess where improvements need to be made.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can utilize Workify Diversity Index Surveys, you can download our PDF or book a free 30 minute employee engagement consultation.