Expanding our understanding of workplace diversity (and increasing profits!)

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Expanding our understanding of workplace diversity (and increasing profits!)

Too many employers focus primarily or solely on avoiding litigation when considering how discrimination affects their organizations.  This narrow view is more and more likely to be inadequate, as federal laws become more specific about what types of discrimination are actionable and courts side with employees who face hostility at work because of their gender and sexuality.

As reported by the Society for Human Resources Management, employers can take active steps to ensure compliance with the law

Summarizing diversity issues today, SHRM writers conclude:

Given the plethora of legislation, agency guidance and decisions, and court rulings, employers may wish to consider the following recommendations:  

• Provide sensitivity training to your entire workforce.
• Review your policies to ensure they are consistent with current federal, state and local nondiscrimination provisions. 
• Implement a gender transition policy.
• Make every effort to refer to applicants and new employees by their preferred name and pronoun. 
• Allow a transitioning employee to use his or her preferred name.
• Permit employees to use the restroom or locker room that corresponds with their gender identity. 

Not only are these recommendations pointing to more humane treatment of diverse individuals, there is opportunity here for businesses to become thought leaders in creating inclusive workplace cultures in which genuine diversity thrives– leading to higher profits, as confirmed by a range of very different sources.

Read more on the links between workplace diversity and better business outcomes as reported by EqualityMagazines.com (“helping to bridge diverse job-seekers with companies that are actively seeking to recruit minorities”), by a Silicon Valley expert on entrepreneurship trends, by Forbes, on the American Bar Association website, and in a publication by McKinsey & Company.

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