DiversityNursing Blog

Establishing a Diverse Workplace Culture

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, May 18, 2018 @ 10:43 AM

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Promoting diversity and inclusion within your workplace is one of the best ways to foster an open-minded company culture. When you have a diverse work force, they provide unique employee perspectives and when that work force mirrors the population of patients they're treating they can give you the patient's perspective as well. These insights should give you a better understanding of those colleagues and patients.

Operating any business in this day and age, especially a health system, requires a large degree of diversity within the organization to help provide culturally competent care to an ever growing and changing patient population. Larger well-organized health systems have entire teams dedicated to diversity and inclusion efforts.

Sometimes recruiting and hiring managers unconsciously target diverse candidates who act like the majority rather than seeking to bring true differences to their organization. When you hire people who think and act like you do, it is comfortable. You know what they look and sound like, and uniformity feels easier to manage. However, doing so stifles diversity, a sense of belonging and innovation. When people who all think alike come together, they consistently dream up similar solutions. High levels of innovation only happen when you leverage the insights of people who see the world differently.

Try to get feedback about the hiring process from the applicants themselves. They are the people who have experienced bias and cultural misunderstandings. They know how it feels and will have ideas about positive changes that can be made within the organization.  
 
It is highly recommended that your organization provide all employees with diversity training. Employees should understand that hiring decisions are based on finding the best candidate and not only based on quotas. The recruiting process should be transparent to help ease the minds of skeptical employees. Also, be sure managers fully understand the benefits of a diverse workplace. They will be implementing HR policies and should be fully committed to supporting the practice.
 
Treat others the way they want to be treated. Understanding how different cultures… perceive a handshake, handle eye contact, and deal with the boundaries of personal space, can help to avert misunderstandings. When in doubt, ask. If you accidentally cause offense, apologize. Be respectful of personal and cultural boundaries. Encourage your colleagues to do the same through your example as this will make your workplace more welcoming and productive for everyone.

For diversity to bring strength, it must be valued and integrated into company practices and philosophy. This takes time and a commitment to celebrate diversity. It requires the willingness to be open-minded and non-judgmental about the value of differences.

Topics: cultural diversity, diversity in healthcare, Diversity and Inclusion, diverse workplace culture

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