Robert Butchike: The importance of diversity within an organization
Diversity and inclusion are vital parts of the modern workplace. With a diverse worker population and an inclusive environment, different groups of employees will feel that their needs are being handled fairly.
A lack of diversity in the workplace can cause businesses to become stagnant, trapped in one monolithic view of their prospects. Robert Butchike discusses the importance of diversity within an organization, explaining how companies can enhance their inclusiveness.
A diverse workplace includes individuals from different genders, nationalities, ages, races, and backgrounds. Ideally, a diverse cross-section of employees should be promoted to higher positions within their companies. Women and people of color have had a difficult road toward equality in the workplace.
The Status of Women in the Workplace
While there have been incredible advancements since the 1970s, a smaller proportion of women are involved in higher management or C-suite jobs. Women are also paid less than men for the same quality of work, an injustice that businesses and activists have been trying to rectify for many years.
Women may be discriminated against because they may take time off from work for parenting or family care responsibilities. They may face discrimination when they are pregnant, though this discrimination is illegal under the law, or they may be paid lower because they are perceived as less important to the company.
Companies may also have the antiquated idea that men should be paid more than women because men are supporting a family with their wages.
Canadians are beginning to view women as competent in more fields than ever before, paving the way for them to take highly responsible and well-paying jobs. 70 years ago, gender stereotypes were much more set in stone.
Women were seen as too emotional, not assertive enough, and not creative or intelligent enough to achieve high positions in the workplace. They were also restricted to “pink-collar” jobs like reception and administrative assisting.
Many industries, especially in technical and STEM fields, find that they have overwhelmingly white and male workforces. Companies need to take concrete action to rectify this problem. They should consider recruiting people from all backgrounds to work in their company, making contacts with local community agencies to find the best outreach methods.
The history of racial equality in the workplace has been fraught with emotion, but companies are finding ways to enhance their diversity without taking opportunities away from any groups. Using a compassionate and open-minded hiring philosophy will help companies diversify in terms of racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Many workplaces find that they are less diverse due to the proportions of graduates in certain majors. Companies should work with colleges and universities to encourage women and minorities to major in these less diverse fields of study. Women and people of color often need to be encouraged to participate in these industries.
One of the newest ways for companies to recruit new employees is by performing face analysis. Through an AI system, these algorithms produce quantified data about a person’s emotional state. However, this system discriminates against potential employees who are on the autism spectrum or those who may have medical conditions that affect their facial expressions. Workplace diversity initiatives need to examine this recruitment and hiring method to make sure that it is fair to employees of all ages, races, and backgrounds.
Publishing job listings only online leads to discrimination against older workers, since these workers are less likely to be conversant with looking for job listings in this way. Since online job listings require the least amount of work from a company, they are more likely to be used. Diversity advocates warn companies against using online listings alone.
Diversity is Increasing
The push toward diversity and inclusiveness has caused positive change in the Canadian workplace. When all employees’ needs, thoughts, and talents are considered, companies can become stronger and can deal with the different challenges that will arise in the decades to come.
Diversity and inclusion are more difficult when there are fewer college graduates from varying backgrounds. Young people of color and women also need to be encouraged to consider these career fields, especially in technology, to encourage the diversity of the future workforce.
Robert Butchike underscores the importance of diversity in the workplace and encourages all human resource professionals to do their best to make their companies reflect the makeup of Canada.