Managing Diversity in the Workplace: 10 Strategies in 2024

It’s a given that workforce diversity in organizations remains a crucial diversity challenge. The issue is sensitive to such extent that if not handled appropriately, may serve as a clog in the wheel to organizational development. Suffice to say, business owners and HR personnel must deploy every strategy possible to foster inclusion in the workplace.

The benefits of managing diversity effectively in a workplace & having a diverse workforce are quite plenteous and they include;

  • access to divergent ideas and creative perspectives as informed by peculiar cultural upbringing ;
  • ability to identify and target divergent customer demographics ;
  • and, it fosters optimum client satisfaction including other perks.

Furthermore, Harvard Business Review suggests that having a diverse workforce can result in better problem-solving and decision-making.

Another study realized by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) identified diversity as a key driver of innovation, they found that diverse teams increase revenue by +19%.

In a nutshell, this guide focuses on how managers and HR can manage diversity in the organization. It contains practical and strategic tips on how to manage diversity in the workplace. Not sure to understand well? Read our guide about the concept of diversity management.

Does your company provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants? Start publishing your vacant jobs for people with disabilities on our platform. Start contributing now to a fairer workplace.

Without mincing words, find below 10 ways of managing diversity in the workplace that you can also consider as policies for diversity in the workplace:

1. Eliminate preferences by creating standard rules

Organizations operate by set rules and regulations put in place to guide employee behavior at work. Typically, these rules are set to facilitate orderliness at work and geared towards compelling employees to work in tandem with organizational objectives and goals. Also, where specific rules are violated, appropriate sanctions are meted out to erring employees.

Now to manage diversity, there should be no form of preferential treatment of any staff based on whatever sentiments. All employees regardless of race or ethnicity must be treated according to stipulated rules.

Diversity is a sensitive issue and employees are likely to feel demoralized if some staff is treated in a special way than they are.

Managers and HR must do everything possible to uphold equality at the workplace. Remunerations, incentives, and rewards must be based on merit and not on biases.

When employees are treated equally, it will go a long way to strengthen the morale of employees.

2. Effective communication is key

Communication can play a crucial role in encouraging workplace inclusion.

When there is a breach of communication, it could precipitate disparate workplace behavior. Thus, rules, policies, and other vital information must be communicated in a manner that transcends cultural and language barriers.

Where needed, adequate language translation methods must be adopted to ensure that every employee understands the message that is being passed across.

It is pertinent to emphasize the importance of communicating effectively because communication is pivotal to organizational development.

To facilitate effective communication in a diverse workplace, assumptions must be avoided.

Also, managers, supervisors, team leaders, and other people in authority must avoid the use of sensitive choice of words when doling out instructions.

For instance: using words like ‘nigga’ in a workplace where you have black employees is inappropriate. Except when used among themselves, blacks consider this word as an invective. Thus, the right choice of words must be employed when communicating.

3. Encourage diverse employees to work in groups

photo of diverse coworkers doing fist bump
Photo of diverse coworkers doing a fist bump.

Getting diverse employees to work together as a team is one of the many strategies for managing diversity in the workplace.

By working together, employees can learn the importance of interdependency on one another. No man is an island of knowledge; and of course, two heads are indeed better than one; so, the organization has nothing to lose and everything to gain if it creates a platform for diverse employees to work as one.

Also working as a team can help employees understand and tolerate one another better. This is advantageous to the organization in the short and long run.

Groupings based on similar race and other coloration must be prohibited. Stern rules that frown against such acts must be clearly emphasized to discourage employees from forming caucuses based on similar identity in the workplace. Caucuses can be detrimental to organizational growth; as such, they must be discouraged.

4. Create an enabling environment for employees to thrive

Another strategy for managing workplace diversity is by creating a constraint-free workplace environment.

All employees must be given a free chance to operate without unnecessary fear. Employees cannot give their best when working in an environment that is dominated by stringent rules. Especially, where such rules are biased against some particular set of employees probably because of their skin color and cultural affiliation.

By creating an enabling environment where each employee can strive towards self-fulfillment can help to expedite the attainment of organizational goals and objectives. All employees should be given similar opportunities to grow.

5. Evenly spread responsibilities among diverse employees

If employee A has been selected to carry out an assignment, similar assignments must be allocated to employee B.

The point is, responsibilities and assignments should not be assigned based on special preferences for one employee over another. This is inappropriate and may culminate into widening the gap of existing diversities.

Managers and HR should seek to promote a sense of belonging for all employers. No employee should be left behind when assigning functions to all employees.

All tasks must be allocated according to individual capabilities or team strength, and the allocation must be solely based on merit. 

6. Complaints about discrimination and biases should be encouraged

The organization must maintain zero tolerance for complaints that are tribal or culturally sensitive.

Complaints should not be treated with levity as appropriate penalties must be faced for inducing diversity at work. It’s only natural that where employees are encouraged to report issues of discrimination and workplace biases, there’s bound to be a reduction in the rate at which such incidents occur.

All employees have a right to work without being discriminated against at work. So, all such jokes, verbal and non-verbal cues that are demoralizing racial-wise, must be prohibited.

7. Foster open-mindedness

An organization that is interested in facilitating employee inclusion must strengthen employees to embrace their differences.

Every employee comes from a unique background; has a different skin color, belongs to different ethnic affiliations, and has other peculiarities. Thus, it’s important to blend this uniqueness to capture the special inputs they are bringing to the table.

Diversity is real but instead of allowing it to tear your organization apart, you can always salvage the situation by emphasizing that every employee is special in their way regardless of their differences.

Let all employees keep an open mind when relating with one another at work. This way, they see their diversity as a weapon that should be annexed and leveraged upon to facilitate organizational growth.

8. Incorporate diversity policy in the company’s code of conduct

close-up shot of a typewriter
Close-up shot of a typewriter.

Where diversity policies are incorporated into an organization’s code of conduct, then, it becomes clear that such an organization takes inclusion very seriously.

The point is, companies must be intentional about their diversity policies such that the provision is aptly captured in their code of conduct.

Do’s and don’t regarding employee behavior towards colleagues who are of different backgrounds should be contained in the diversity policy. Also, adequate sanctions for erring members should be enlisted in the policy.

This will help to pre-empt any incidence of workplace discrimination or verbal attacks.

9. Educate staff on the need for inclusion

Setting up inclusion-oriented seminars to educate employees on the need to work together irrespective of their differences will come in handy to help manage a divergent workforce.

Such enlightenments should be provided immediately new employees are hired. This will help to inform them about the organization’s disposition towards diversity and also prep their orientation to work as a team.

All diversity policies including the company’s non-tolerance for sensitive languages must be properly communicated through educational platforms including seminars, forums, and conferences.

Regular and periodic diversity enlightenment programs should also be embarked upon by the management of organizations seeking to manage workplace diversity.

This will help to keep every employee abreast of the importance of inclusion to the organization.

10. Support inclusion and diversity initiatives

white paper with note saying make it happen
White paper with a note saying “make it happen”.

Ideas and initiatives targeted at employee inclusion must be fostered by the management team.

Several ideas can be explored to encourage workplace inclusion. For instance, employees can be treated to a nice picnic outing just to get to know one another better; they can play football or engage in in-house sports during their leisure time just to bond with one another so that biases can be eliminated gradually.

Any productive idea must be encouraged so that in the long run, every employee can have a sense of belonging to the organization.

Does your company provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants? Start publishing your vacant jobs for people with disabilities on our platform. Start contributing now to a fairer workplace.

Wrap Up

The popular aphorism that “a house divided against itself cannot stand” comes to the fore here. It points out the importance of working harmoniously in the workplace. Suffice to say, every organization must understand that workplace diversity is inevitable; as such, they must be positive about it.

Employees must be driven to embrace a culture of tolerance so that they can work inclusively towards attaining organizational goals. Workplace diversity is not to be joked with nor should it be handled with levity. This is because it can make or mar your organization especially if you choose to ignore its importance.

Thus, it’s in the best interest of organizations to take inclusion seriously and consciously work towards eliminating workplace bias with identity, racial or ethnic undertones. It’s important to note that, there are many benefits to hiring people with disabilities.


How to manage diversity in the workplace

To manage diversity in the workplace, business owners and HR personnel must deploy every strategy possible to foster inclusion in the workplace.

Related articles:

Diversity Recruiting Strategies and How to Recruit Diverse Candidates

Disability in the Workplace: Developing Accessibility in 10 Ways

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

Diversity Management: What is it and Concept

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

Benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace

DEI Training & Topics: What is it & Implementing Strategies

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