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In the U.S., the idea of workplace diversity has recently taken center stage in discussions about how to make businesses better places to work for marginalized people. Having an employee base of people from different backgrounds is also an invaluable asset for company success; different perspectives and points of view can shed light on areas of tasks that may have otherwise gone neglected. Companies owe it to themselves to try to get the most out of the experiences and talents of each and every employee. Here are three key components that go into increasing workplace diversity.

Listen and Take Notes

Listen to the problems and concerns of the employees. What sorts of themes seem to be repeated in each concern? Pay close attention to the stated situations and make note of these things in order to better compile a list of areas that need addressing. Avoid buying into social stereotypes about the people you speak to; look beyond what society says is expected of a certain class, race, gender, etc., to really see the person doing the speaking. Welcome creativity in the workplace by having an “open door” policy.

Set Goals

Evaluate the list of themes in the feedback and consider what needs to be accomplished. What areas is the company strong in, in regards to meeting employee and customer expectation? What areas could use a bit of restructuring in the way employees are assigned to tasks?

Change The Office Culture

Office culture starts from the top down. Educate staff in topics of diversity and of seeing other points of view. Formalize the changes being implemented by setting new policies and business practices. When companies make their goals and priorities plain to their employees and the public, it not only builds trust but makes the employees feel more confident about what behavior is to be expected of them. When doing routine employee evaluations, once again: avoid giving credence to stereotypes.

The diversity of a company’s workplace hardly changes overnight, but by making a commitment to welcoming feedback, paying careful attention to details, and sustaining a drive towards a company’s betterment, businesses can reap the benefits of gaining cutting-edge ideas from a diverse team of associates. Welcoming staff from all backgrounds is the key to succeeding in a 21st century marketplace.