Diversify Your Current Workforce

Michelle Benjamin – CEO of Benjamin Enterprises

CEOatBEI

When you look at your workforce, does it seem like you are looking into a mirror? Does everyone look just like you? Same age, same skin color, same sex? Many businesses find themselves in this situation and aren’t sure what to do to begin adding diversity to their workforce. This is especially difficult when your workforce is optimized meaning that you do not need to add or remove employees at this time. So what can you do?

• Survey your Employees – Ask them if they have ideas for diversifying the workforce. While they may seem to all be the same on the outside, what is inside is different and those differences can be shared and celebrated. In addition to getting creative ideas, it will also give your employees the feeling of being valued and appreciated.

• Set up Diversity Sessions – Setup a session with your team once a month where you can have either an outside speaker come in and talk about diversity or have some of your own employees share their diverse experiences. These learning sessions can open minds and also increase the amount of respect that employees have for each other.

• Go on a Field Trip – Even if it is just for lunch or for a quick trip outside the office, experience something new. Maybe a new cuisine for lunch (Thai or Japanese) or a visit to a museum or lecture can open your eyes to the differences that exist in our environment.

• Get Creative – Consider reaching out to local high schools or universities and offering an internship. These positions can be unpaid or paid a stipend which would be less expensive than a full time position. These students can infuse energy and a new outlook into the workplace. You can also use them to bring your current employees up to speed on trends, technology and the thought processes of that generation.

When we think about diversity, we think about creating a formal program and deploying it for new hires. While that is a great worthwhile effort, in some cases, it just isn’t feasible. By thinking outside of the box and putting these tips to work for you, you can infuse diversity into your current workforce.