Increasing Workplace Diversity

America is becoming a more diverse nation. According to recent census data, the percentage of the white-alone population (18-plus years old) has fallen from 74.7% in 2010 to 64.1% in 2020.

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    Increasing Workplace Diversity

    Increasing Workplace Diversity

    America is becoming a more diverse nation. According to recent census data, the percentage of the white-alone population (18-plus years old) has fallen from 74.7% in 2010 to 64.1% in 2020. Though the African American population has remained the same (12%), the Asian-alone share jumped from 4.9% to 6.1%, while the multiracial population more than quadrupled, from 2.1% to 8.8%. The Hispanic or Latino share increased from 14.2% to 16.8%.1

    The picture is clear. For businesses looking to survive a competitive marketplace and win the talent war, they ignore workplace diversity at their own peril.

    Obstacles to Greater Diversity

    The path to greater workplace diversity is first identifying and overcoming structural barriers. Chief among them are:

    • Identity bias, which is the inclination of people (even the fair-minded type) to think “those more like me are more likely to better fit in.”
    • Cultural and environmental biases; for instance, when certain populations are labeled with generalizations (e.g., men are more aggressive, and this job requires a “go-getter”).
    • Limited networks and referrals from a homogeneous workforce tend to result in less diverse hiring.
    • Underrepresentation of diverse groups in senior management or lack of advancement opportunities for underrepresented groups early in their careers reduces the likelihood of hiring and promoting diverse employees.

    Seven Steps to a More Inclusive Workplace

    Recognizing these barriers, owners and managers can take seven proactive steps to cultivate a diverse workplace.

    1. Examine your recruiting model. How do you find employees? If it’s via employee referrals or your network, look to widen your search.
    2. Eliminate the use of masculine descriptors in a job description, like “ambitious” or “aggressive.” These descriptors can unconsciously discourage female candidates. What you really want is someone who can achieve goals, so say it that way.
    3. Introduce professional development initiatives that include mentorship and education to help underrepresented groups.
    4. Create diversity training to help current managers become more aware of the business importance of diversity and how to rise above the structural barriers in recruitment and hiring.
    5. Embrace inclusion. Make everyone feel equally welcomed and valued, which can begin with identifying the needs of underrepresented populations and creating employee resource groups.
    6. Create diversity goals. Measure and report on progress. Make diversity goals an element of a manager’s incentive compensation formula.
    7. Lead from above. When owners and top management lead on this issue, hiring managers will follow.

    Interested in a more detailed discussion on fostering diversity and inclusion? Check out our white paper, “Diversity and Inclusion: Unique Perspectives Working Together.”

    Sources

     

    1. https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/08/improved-race-ethnicity-measures-reveal-united-states-population-much-more-multiracial.html#:~:text=Race%20and%20Hispanic%20Origin%20by%20Age%20Group&text=The%20White%20alone%20adult%20population,2010%20to%208.8%25%20in%202020.

    Please reference disclosures: https://blog-dev.americanportfolios.com/disclosures/

    About The Author

     

    Vice President of Human Resources 
    631.439.4600, ext. 280 

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