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5 challenges of diversity in the workplace

By Ben Madden


Diversity is more important than ever, especially in the workplace. If it’s something that your business hasn’t focused on before, then it’s important to start discussing how you and your team can work towards building a diverse workplace, and why it’ll help your business grow in the future.

However, it’s also important to understand the challenges that come when working towards diversity in the workplace, and how you can work through them. Like anything worthwhile, there are obstacles when looking to create a diverse workforce, but it’s important to keep pushing.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

A diverse workplace is one where everyone has the chance to succeed, regardless of any personal characteristics like gender, religion, race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, previous education and other attributes.

Creating and promoting a diverse workplace means that your team will have a range of perspectives, creating a more inclusive mindset that can help your business succeed.

What are the challenges that come with diversity in the workplace?

  1. Understanding the needs of your employees.
  2. Ensuring everyone is onboard.
  3. Being realistic about your business' ability to change.
  4. Learning how people like to collaborate.
  5. Putting time aside to push for diversity.
Of course, like many things, creating and promoting diversity in the workplace can be challenging initially, especially if it hasn’t been a focus for your business in the past.

Some of the challenges you may face include:

1. Understanding the needs of your employees.

Gone are the days where employees are all looking for a 9-5 role. Instead, there are a range of considerations to make when looking to hire and retain talent, such as their other commitments like children, ability to get into the office regularly and so on.

2. Ensuring everyone is onboard.  

The reality of any workplace is that not everyone will be initially onboard with it. After all, some people are used to the current ways that things are run. It can be challenging to get internal buy-in from all levels of a business when pushing for diversity – but that shouldn’t stop you and your team.

3. Being realistic about your business’ ability to change.

colleagues having a discussion

Talk is great, but action is even better. It can be tempting to want to revolutionise your workplace in the day, but it’s important to temper expectations and plan for incremental change, at least until there is buy-in across the board.

4. Learning how people like to collaborate.

Not everyone is going to want to collaborate in the same way. It’s important to recognise that different people will have different ways of collaborating with their colleagues, and forcing them to work in the same way as everyone else will limit their productivity.

5. Putting time aside to push for diversity.

Diversity is something that is often intangible, which can be an issue when there are external investors looking to see what your business has been working on in recent times. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t push for diversity, but it is a reminder to outline why diversity is crucial to your business’ continued success.

How to overcome the challenges of diversity in the workplace?

  1. Create a Workplace Diversity Plan.
  2. Understand the skills of each team member.
  3. Equip your team with conflict resolution techniques.
  4. Hold regular opportunities for robust discussion.
  5. Promote further study.
If you’re looking to create a truly diverse workplace, then you can’t let you and your team get discouraged by initial pushback.

Some of the things you and your colleagues can do to overcome the challenges of creating a diverse workplace include:

1. Create a Workplace Diversity Plan.

A Workplace Diversity Plan can guide the implementation of diversity in the workplace and show your team the importance of pushing for diversity. There are many plans available online that you can use as a framework for the development of your own, so research is essential.

2. Understand the skills of each team member.

One of the many benefits of diversity is that each team member has a different perspective, and this can be most useful when you’re pushing to build a diverse workplace.

Each team member will have a different skill set, so ensure you’re making the most of the variety of skill sets you have access to when planning how you will build a diverse workplace.

3. Equip your team with conflict resolution techniques.

team collaboration concept

Conflict resolution is one of the most important skills that any professional can have – but it’s not always a natural ability.

Holding sessions where you can educate your team on how to better solve conflicts peacefully in the workplace is an invaluable tool for promoting workplace diversity, especially in the early days of implementation.

4. Hold regular opportunities for robust discussion.   

People want to be heard, especially in the workplace. A truly diverse workplace may not come together overnight, but now is the best time to start working towards a more inclusive workforce for all.

Give your team the chance to speak about how things are going at work and show them that you’re willing to act when they face concerns. Everyone involved will benefit in the long run.

5. Promote further study.

If your employees come from different backgrounds (including different levels of education) then giving them the opportunity to complete further study is an excellent way to get everyone on the same page. Further study can create a sense of unity within your team, while also giving everyone the opportunity to upskill.

If you’re looking to build diversity in the workplace, or you’re looking to provide the opportunity for your team to upskill, then Upskilled can help. Upskilled provides a range of nationally recognised qualifications in a variety of industries, and you can learn more about Upskilled’s course offerings here!
 
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