5 Smart Ways to Foster Internal Diversity in your Team

A diverse workplace team can be a huge benefit to a business. A diverse workforce has been shown to increase market shares, foster creativity, and encourage productivity. Here are five ways that you can encourage and stimulate diversity within your team of employees.

Provide Flexible Working Schedules
Part of being a diverse team means understanding that not everyone fits into the standard, westernized 9 to 5 workday. Busy parents may appreciate the opportunity to come into work early, so that they can leave early to spend time with their children. Others might need understanding schedules in order to accommodate time off for religious holidays or festivals. Try to work with your team members in order to create a schedule that satisfies diverse needs while also ensuring that work gets done on time.

Encourage Communication
One of the main benefits of diversity is that it allows teams of people with unique views to make creative solutions and decisions. Ensure that everyone within your team is allowed to make their opinions known, instead of only allowing a few leaders to monopolize meetings. Open communication stimulates understanding and cooperation among the diverse members of a team. Prompting discussion among employees of different backgrounds can provide new viewpoints and build a diverse team.

Mentor Diverse Employees
Diversity within the workforce is not something that just happens overnight. Instead, it is important to recognize employees with the potential to be trained for higher positions.Often, a huge obstacle to diversity is that new employees may feel unwelcome or intimidated and mistakenly believe that the business does not celebrate diversity. Guiding and advising promising employees will make them feel included and ensure that diversity is not stifled among employees in lower positions.

Find Common Ground
In order to cultivate respect for others in a diverse group, it is essential to find a common ground among teammates. A brief icebreaker at the beginning of a meeting can go a long way towards uniting and celebrating a diverse workforce. A good way to start off a discussion is to have employees each share a challenging experience that they have dealt with at work. When employees realize that they share values and goals, they work harder to respect and appreciate each other.

Increase Sensitivity and Empathy
Having a diverse team means having a team with a variety of genders, races, sexual orientations, ages, and cultures. Unfortunately, these differences can lead to clashes and arguments when people with opposing viewpoints end up working together. Team training exercises that encourage the workforce to make an effort to understand each other’s opinions and views can prevent or diminish any friction due to diversity. Instead of dismissing concerns, try to understand why team members may feel like their diversity is not being appreciated or tolerated.