5 Misconceptions People Have About Workplace Diversity

Indian white collar male worker in wheelchair having cheerful discussion leading conversation with colleague in creative office workstation beside window

When you hear the phrase “workplace diversity,” what’s the first thing that springs to mind?

If it is, “oh no, another box to tick”, then you’re far from alone. 

While most organizations know the importance of hiring a diverse workforce, the majority don’t know where to start to create workplace diversity. 

We’re going to challenge five common misconceptions people have about workplace diversity! Plus, we’ll show you how you can embrace diversity in the workplace without investing a lot of money or changing all your hiring policies. 

1. Workplace diversity is all about race

Many people wrongly believe that workplace diversity is only about race and cultural diversity. It actually embodies so much more than that. 

True workplace diversity is about hiring people of different ages, sexual orientations, disability statuses, and social backgrounds. Gender diversity is still falling short of expectations. 

Workplace diversity also includes a person’s life experiences that could disadvantage them, such as their educational background and upbringing. 

Shot of a mature businessman shaking hands with a colleague in a modern office stock photo

2. Workplace diversity is expensive 

If you ‘re worried about how much implementing a diverse workplace strategy will cost you, the good news is that investing in your company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion can actually save you money in the long-term.

Studies have shown that culturally and ethnically diverse organizations are more productive, creative, and efficient than those that don’t embrace diversity. Plus, hiring people from a variety of different cultural backgrounds gives you access to a much wider range of perspectives. 

And, just as importantly, It makes you more attractive as an employer. This means that when it’s time for you to recruit new staff, you’re much more likely to be able to attract high-calibre candidates due to your boosted reputation. 

3. Most workplaces are already diverse 

Do you consider your business to already be pretty diverse? If yes, take a minute to look a little closer at your team. 

How many employees do you have who come from an ethnic minority? How many women are currently in senior roles? Do you have many members of staff who aren’t heterosexual? 

In the United States, only 5% of CEOs of major corporations are women. This is shockingly low. Whilst just 80% of all lawyers are white. 

Although you may think that you’ve embraced workplace diversity, most businesses still have a long way to go before they can honestly say that they’re fully diverse. 

4. Diversity is the responsibility of HR 

Although human resources professionals often take the lion’s share of the responsibility when it comes to workplace diversity, it is ultimately down to the leaders of an organization to implement real change. 

Integrating the right values and practices into an organization does not happen overnight, and it’s a continuous process that needs clear direction from the top. 

Whether it’s the president, the vice president, or another C-level executive, management has to be the one to create the policies that drive a diverse and inclusive workplace. 

And, of course, great workplace diversity starts with diverse hiring.

A group of three multi-ethnic workers at a construction site wearing hard hats, safety glasses and reflective clothing, smiling and conversing. The main focus is on the mixed race African-American and Pacific Islander man in the middle. The other two construction workers, including the woman, are Hispanic.

5. Finding diverse talent is easy 

It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to find talent. However, it does take dedication and commitment to the process to create a diverse workplace. You can’t simply advertise a position and expect a diverse selection of candidates to get in touch.

Instead, you need to actively attract people of different ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities. There are several ways to do this, including using the right wording in your job postings, posting on third-party job boards and portals, and avoiding unconscious bias during the hiring process. 

Top tips for creating a diverse workplace 

If the above has inspired you to get serious about having more diversity within your organization, keep reading. Our tips will help you get the ball rolling! 

  • Use diverse job boards 

If you always post your job listings on the same boards or portals, then now is the time to mix things up a bit. You can find specific diversity job boards, such as Recruit Disability and Diversity Working. 

  • Showcase diversity on your website 

If the visuals on your site are all of white, middle-aged men, then you are highly unlikely to attract a more diverse workforce. So it’s important to ensure you showcase as much diversity as possible. Also, make a point of detailing your diversity and inclusivity policies to really showcase your dedication to diversity. 

  • Utilize recruitment software 

Investing in the right diversity tech-stack can help you to streamline your end-to-end diversity recruitment processes. Talent acquisition software, like an applicant tracking system, is designed to help organizations like yours find qualified and diverse candidates quickly and efficiently.   

  • Offer diverse mentoring programs 

By developing an inclusive mentoring program within your organization, you can help to foster strong employee relationships and provide equal opportunities for everyone. These types of programs are very attractive to potential candidates, helping you to recruit the top talent within your industry. 

  • Provide diversity training 

Often a lack of diversity comes from the top of an organization. This makes diversity training  incredibly useful in highlighting any shortcomings and opening people’s eyes to a new way of thinking. 

Diversity training can help teach employees how to be sensitive to other cultures and can help to prevent workplace conflict. Consider doing this in your business to bring about some positive changes. 

Male having a virtual interview with woman

When it comes to workplace diversity, common misconceptions are rife with many organizations unaware of how to become more diverse. 

Once you understand the importance of diversity and the steps you need to take to build a more inclusive workplace, you’ll soon start to see the benefits, both for you as an employer and your employees!

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