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Get the best from your employees - use these three steps to manage diversity in your workplace

by , 05 August 2013
Did you know that you can turn race, gender and other differences into a positive force to help your company get the best out of your employees? That's right! Managing diversity is about valuing difference as a source of strength, rather than of tension or weakness in your company. Here are three tips you can use to do this in your workplace.

According to the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management, diversity refers to the following types of differences among your employees:

  • Race, colour, ethnic and social origin
  • Sex, gender and sexual orientation
  • Age, marital status, pregnancy and family responsibility
  • Language, culture, religion, conscience, political opinion and belief
  • Disability and HIV status.

The key to getting the best from all your employees is to manage these differences well. Your employees are bound to perform better if they feel valued.

But how do you do this?

Use these three steps to manage diversity in your company

Step #1: Become a diversity leader

A diversity leader is a person who enjoys the trust and support of all employees, irrespective of their race, gender or belief, says the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

To become a diversity leader, follow these guidelines:

  • Get to know the names of employee at all levels in your company.
  • Learn to greet and thank employees in all languages spoken in your workplace.
  • Take an interest in other cultural and sporting interests, not just your own.
  • Convene regular social get-togethers for all employees.
  • Be impartial and fair in all your decisions and actions.
  • Educate your employees and build awareness of diversity.

Step #2: Promote diversity values

'Most of the time, it's difficult to change your personal values, because they've been passed down from generations and are picked up from a young age,' says the Guide.

But, you can build new 'diversity values' which don't replace your personal values, but rather serve as a guide for working and living among employees whose values differ from your own.

Here's a list of common diversity values:

  • Sensitivity
  • Openness
  • Fairness
  • Tolerance
  • Equality
  • Respect

Get your staff to say what specific things they'll do to practise each of these diversity values at work.

Step #3: Draft a diversity policy

Seeing as you're legally required as an employer to make a reasonable effort to ensure there's no unfair discrimination or harassment in your company, you can make a start by drafting, adopting, communicating and enforcing a clearly written policy on diversity.

Make sure your diversity policy clearly spells out the type of behaviour you require form your employees.

Using these steps will help you manage diversity in your company and get the best from your employees.



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