Fostering Diversity in the Workplace : How to Do it in 10 Ways

Over the past few years, diversity, including inclusion has been one of the most trending issues and concerns in the workplace and businesses environment. It has become a popular topic for discussion in meetings, symposiums, or in companies that solely focuses on incorporating diversity ideologies into their culture.

Despite this, the meaning of diversity has often been from a narrow perspective, it is usually a thought pattern of gender, race, or religion. However, diversity expands to other aspects like language, age, disability, sexual orientation, and personality. 

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Fostering diversity definition 

Diversity is simply the representation of a variety of behaviors such as gender, religion, age, race, physical ability, among others, and experiences in a workplace.

Workplace diversity according to Mark Crawford is when companies hire people with different characters such as ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and cultural backgrounds, and the goal is to then create a culture when the individual difference is valued, respected, all receives equal treatment and the same growth opportunities.

Promoting or fostering diversity in a workplace environment is a good way to foster good business sense and good company culture. 

According to a study from McKinsey & Company in 2018, the study and report reveal that companies with high diversity were about 43% more likely to have high financial performance or attain higher profits. Thus, diversity is very important in the workplace environment because it starts with hiring and retaining diverse talent, and by doing that, it results in increased collaboration, reduces turnover, improves the identity of the brand, higher engagement of employees, and improved profits.

Further that, according to Deloitte, diversity is important and can be a benefit in the workplace environment because the idea of diversity also produces a diversity of thinking in a workplace environment. Hence, it means that there is different thinking from employees from a diversity of backgrounds, and that can reduce risks by 30%, and also at the same time improve innovation by 20%.

The idea here is that if you desire to build teams capable of innovating, then there is a need for diversity.

So, it also means that diversity enhances creativity as it encourages perspectives which in turn results in better decision making and problem-solving. Another side of the importance of diversity is that a diverse workforce or team will be able to understand varying customer wants, and thus it helps them to design a better customer experience.

Since the workforce is a diverse one, it will also mean diverse experience, talents, expertise, and capabilities in employees. Once this is understood by managers or employers, that is the intricacies of how to foster diversity in the workplace or how to manage this diversity effectively, all-around productivity is achievable. 

How to foster diversity in the workplace in 10 Ways

1. Understand diversity beyond the surface 

drawing representation of diversity, equity and inclusion
Drawing representation of diversity, equity and inclusion

The meaning of diversity is usually from a narrow perspective. The conception usually goes in the direction of race, gender, or religion. But, the meaning or the idea of diversity expands to the likes of age, language, disability, personality, and sexual orientation.

Not knowing this would not help foster diversity in the workplace environment. It is important to know that there is some inherent diversity and there are some acquired based on the acquisition by experience. All of these kinds of diversity matter too.

The fact is that diversity, all of the kinds can cause team conflict if not properly understood and effectively managed. Thus, addressing every aspect of diversity will ensure inclusion, that is no one is left out, thereby fostering diversity. 

2. Lead by Example 

If you must foster diversity, you would have to embrace diversity.

This is because you cannot lead by example, if you do not fully embrace diversity. Thus, to foster diversity, you need to be conscious of your prejudices.

Therefore, in hiring or promoting, or rewarding team members, you may need to think carefully and hard about why you make specific decisions.

You have to ensure that the requirement or the criteria adopted is job-related and verified. All of these are ensuring that your decisions are not based on stereotypes. 

3. Lookout for inappropriate behaviors

woman holding no comment signage
Woman holding no comment signage

Ignoring disrespectful behaviors cannot foster diversity, rather it can undermine a respectful workplace environment.

For instance: when you have the male team members of your company talk about or talk down on women at work, some could deem it harmless. Or when you have someone talks about the religious beliefs and disability of another person, it could be seen as an innocent comment. Yet in all of these, the casual statements or the perceived harmless comments could make others uncomfortable.

Thus, ignoring these kinds of attitudes will not be a good response to fostering diversity. If one must foster diversity, you will have to be on the lookout for these inappropriate behaviors and also disregard them and create meaningful conversations with your team. 

4. Create a good reward system 

Of course, in companies, there are usually policies and a set of programs that address the needs of the majority.

However, with individual differences, the things that motivate different people are different. A universal reward system might only be useful to set standards for team leaders.

However, the case may not apply to each member under each team leader. While some may want more money rewards, some are to boost their promotion chances, for some, it is awards and recognition.

Understanding these diverse individual needs and goals will allow team leaders to create a managerial approach to engage and motivate their differences. 

5. Observe diverse celebrations, traditions, and holidays from other cultures 

Clock with world map near smartphone
Clock with world map on a table near a smartphone and a cup of coffee

One of the ways to foster diversity in the workplace is to create a culturally diverse holiday calendar such that you encourage your members to get involved and celebrate and respect the diverse culture and traditions represented in the workplace.

Sharing food, music, and other celebrations, if observed, can be a tool for team-building and a great way to bond and connect at all levels of the organization.

Even when there isn’t room for larger celebrations, you can make it a point of duty to acknowledge the event by sending wishes to those who are celebrating. 

6. Conduct training on diversity 

To foster diversity in the workplace, training the executive team and other leaders on diversity might be required.

This can help them to grasp and promote the culture of diversity in the workplace

7. Company policies and programs should factor in diversity 

There is a need to also develop or review workplace policies to incorporate diversity into the policies.

This will also include a review or incorporation of performance, promotions, and benefits. 

8. Allow team members to work with diverse colleagues 

a happy group of people sitting on the sofa
Happy group of diverse coworkers cheering sitting on the sofa

This is important for fostering diversity. More often than not, when team members get to know each other or collaborate or interact, their preconceptions reduce.

This is because they will start to see each other beyond merely belonging to a group. Thus, a frequent pairing together of team members or a team with another team with their differences for projects will help foster diversity in the workplace environment. 

9. Conflict Management 

The fact is that most teams are diverse as people come from different backgrounds, hence, conflict is inevitable.

There would be a clash of interests and beliefs due to this diversity, however, it doesn’t say that conflict is always a bad thing. Conflicts or disagreements can also be positive such that it breeds innovation.

However, if there is no good conflict management skill to manage conflicts it may not yield a positive outcome. Thus, team members also need to be coached in various conflict management skills.

Having this skill is important for fostering diversity in the workplace environment.

10. Feedback and Transparency

Group of people in an office are having a meeting
Group of people in an office are having a meeting

This is very important, you have to give meaningful feedback, no matter how difficult it is.

Your team members need to know where they are lacking and where they need to improve. Also, as a leader, you have to be transparent with the decisions you make, and avoid unnecessary speculations.

For example: when it comes to giving promotions, you need to be clear on the objective criteria you adopted for a salary raise, promotions, and other rewards. While you talk, also allow your team members to talk about their ideas or problems. 

Is your company offering inclusive jobs for people with disabilities? As an employer, you can publish your job offers on MyDisabilityJobs and reach thousands of qualified candidates.


Since diversity refers to the existence of different characters in a group of people such as age, gender, religion, culture, and others. The quest to foster diversity in the workplace environment becomes imperative.

This is also because fostering diversity improves businesses, increases productivity, it also increases customer satisfaction and many more. Fostering diversity and hiring people with disabilities can benefit a business, and the reason is that diversity breeds inclusion, teamwork which in turn leads to business performances. 


How to foster diversity in the workplace?

To foster diversity in the workplace, you need to understand the meaning of diversity, stay conscious and deliberately practice the answers on how to foster diversity in the workplace, provided in the content. 

Related articles:

Disability in the Workplace: Developing Accessibility in 10 Ways

Diversity Management: What is it and Concept

Challenges of Diversity in the Workplace & How to Overcome Them

Diversity and Inclusion Topics for Discussion: 9 Talking Points

Inclusive Behaviors in The Workplace | 15 Ways to Promote it

Fostering Inclusion : Work Environment | 12 Ways to do it

DEI Training & Topics: What is it & Implementing Strategies

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