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A Guide on Diversity in the Workplace
It has never been easy for women, people of color, and the LGBTQA+ community in the workplace. Whether there has been disbelief in their ability to complete the work or just plain discrimination, it has been a challenge and a struggle to be seen as equals and the acceptance of all three of these groups of people is only growing. 80% of the respondents in a 2017 Deloitte study on diversity and inclusion that inclusion is an important factor in choosing an employer, and 72% said they would leave an organization for one they believe is more inclusive. Here is a guide to help those who have or still struggle to be seen as an equal when applying for jobs, being interviewed, or at their place of work.
Women in the workforce have increased to over 50% in 2019 and women in top leadership positions have increased exponentially in the past 5 years, yet women are still facing the “glass ceiling”. This figment prevents women from achieving their highest position at a company. Many women also face the “broken rung” which is the inability to move up to managerial positions in their company because they are stuck in entry-level positions. The number of women in authoritative positions is rising, but that doesn’t take away from the shortcomings women face when climbing the company ladder.
It’s important to focus on the value and the benefits of having women in positions of leadership in a company. The greatest asset that women have is their emotional intelligence. One of the best qualities of a leader is to be able to understand the wants and needs of the employees working beneath you. It’s easy for a CEO of a company to work solely as a top figure, but to create a positive work environment, leaders need to connect with and understand their employees. The key components that make up emotional intelligence are self-awareness, self-motivation, motivation, empathy, and the ability to connect. The level of emotions a woman is regularly used against their ability to perform as a leader, but a leader should understand and sympathize with the emotions of its employees.
The ability to build a trusting relationship is another characteristic women are excellent at in positions of power. Whether it’s building trust between a leader and her employees or a leader of a company and her clients, women know how to make the person on the other end of the relationship feel that they can put trust in their hands. A client and an entry-level staff member want to be able to trust the decisions and communication of their partner/boss.
People of Color
Issues of systemic racism have been an ongoing issue in America for the almost 400 years, but workplaces are becoming more diverse and freer of judgment. Specifically, within the Black community, they are facing issues of inequality that stems from the foundation of this country. It is extremely important for people of color to have an equal opportunity to a job position, title, or position of authority, especially compared to a white, cis-gender man.
Diversity for people of color at a company is better for the company as a whole. Statistics show that companies that have a greater sense of diversity perform better financially by 15% compared to companies that have less diversity. The reason for this is that there are people of different backgrounds perform better at skills compared to people of the similar backgrounds and decent. Individuality and differences between others are the reason a company can grow together as a whole.
One of the most important reasons that people of color are so successful as the leader of their company is because it creates a sense of wholeness within the company as a figure of admiration. If there aren’t leaders of color to look up to, how are employees going to imagine themselves as a leader? People of color in leadership positions make their employees feel more supported and valued within their work environment. It is important to have representation, without it, it can make employees feel isolated and alone.
Gay, queer, and trans individuals have struggled with stereotypes and hate throughout the history of this country. It was only until 5 years ago that gay marriage was legally accepted throughout all 50 states. This community also struggles in the workplace, with less than 0.5% of Fortune 500 CEOs who identify as LGBT. Although gay men are seeing an increase in acceptance, gay women, gender-fluid individuals, trans individuals, and others in the LGBTQA+ community are still struggling to be accepted by society. The acceptance of this community in the workplace is essential for the presence of diversity in a company.
The acceptance of the LGBTQA+ community at a company creates a more open and accepting company culture. Not only does it create a greater feeling of acceptance for this community, but it allows everyone in the company to express their feelings and speak their mind. Within the company as a whole, the acceptance of sexuality and gender identity lessens the amount of stress and anxiety on the employees. With feeling less pressure internally, overall they will be happier and more productive.
Similarly, to people of color, the LGBTQA+ community needs to have role models that are similar to themselves. With such a small percentage of leaders that are within this community, it makes achieving large goals and dreams within a workplace seem impossible. The more company diversity there is, the better chance these individuals have to the ability and confidence to rise to the top.
Unfortunately, the inclusion of all minorities isn’t going to happen overnight, but over recent years, especially within the last week, people are becoming more educated and aware of issues of inequality. Diversity within a company is eminent for its overall culture and success.