What Diversity Looks Like in the Workplace | Benefits Collaborative

Diversity isn’t just a moral issue.  There is a business case that can be made for promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.  From recruitment to mentoring, human resources has a main role in the strategy.

Defining Diversity

What is diversity?  That’s a two pronged answer.  There is inherent diversity.  It involves traits a person is born with… gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation for instance.  Then there is acquired diversity.  These are traits gained from experience.  For instance, an employee who has worked abroad will be more inclined to appreciate cultural difference.

The Harvard Business Review conducted a study focused on two-dimensional diversity.  A person with 2-D diversity is said to have least three inherent and three acquired diversity traits.  In the study, companies with 2-D diversity out-innovated and out-performed those without it.  Those companies were 45% more likely to report growth over the previous year and 70% more likely to report capturing a new market.

Diversity in Practice

TransUnion continues to focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives and has even made key changes in leadership.  Instead of positions being held by just men, the company has added some women to the ranks.  But it isn’t something that happened overnight and the work continues into 2019.  Debra Wasserman is the Senior Director of Compensation and Benefits at TransUnion.  She said TransUnion used a top-down approach.

“We started with the senior-most leaders and followed it down throughout the organization,” Wasserman said.  “I think to some degree, there needed to be some awareness.  So, we had to get this front and center in front of everyone.”

From there, Wasserman says the company has started looking at pay equity.  She said some states already require this, but they’ve started looking at it as a global issue as well.

“We don’t have all the answers.  We’re just starting to ask questions at this point, but we’re trying to make a move toward a more diverse situation,” Wasserman said.

Impacting Diversity

Diversity and inclusion continues to be one of the dominant topics for HR professionals.  There are some way’s HR can really impact change for their respective companies.

In most companies it can be difficult to get a clear picture of what diversity is like for that particular organization.

To combat this, HR teams should monitor diversity.  This can be done through audits.  This should be done, not only for current employees, but in recruitment practices as well.  This will allow for progress to be measured effectively.

When it comes to diversity, HR should focus on building a diverse workforce through recruitment or development. There are a myriad of ways of doing this.  Some can be through internal or external partnerships. 

Like recruitment, mentoring can be internal or external. For instance, some HR professionals work with schools or local youth groups. This helps with fostering talent early and making sure more diverse individuals are aware of the opportunities.

HR teams should understand it is vital to ensure the diversity of your supply chain.  Furthermore, it should reflect your consumer base, but also that there is a business case for supply chain diversity. 

In Summation

It is clear HR has a role in diversity.  Companies should start, if they’re not already, thinking about making these changes to recruitment, but they will have to implement them as soon as possible. 

That said, these steps can help propel the company onto a positive trajectory.  Even with positive changes in recruitment, other areas such as mentoring, supplier chain diversity and progression and leadership still need to be focused on to ensure companies are aiding ethnic minority progression within their organizations.

By Mason Stevenson

Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com

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