Diversity Management - Why You Should Bring Diversity into Your Business

Annalena Simonis, Monday 05 July 2021 | Reading time: 6 min.

Showing rainbow flags during Pride Month is no longer enough. We'll show you why you should celebrate diversity and tolerance throughout the rest of the year and how authentic diversity management can bring real competitive advantages to your business.

Every year in June, many people around the world celebrate Pride Month. Parties, parades and protests celebrate an open mindset towards the diversity of our society. The aim is to draw attention to the injustices that still exist. Companies often use this June event as an occasion to speak out for solidarity and equality. But it is not uncommon to hear critics saying that companies are using the trend solely for good PR. After many international brands adorned themselves with colorful flags during the famous month and represented diversity in their advertising, many activists are calling for more commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in companies even after July 1. This article is therefore about Diversity Management (DiM) - the area in the company that works the whole year to value societal diversity and create real value for the company by leveraging diverse talent. 

Content

What does diversity mean in the company?

Diversity in the company does include all distinguishing characteristics of our society like origin, age, gender and sexual identity, religious convictions, ideologies as well as physical and mental abilities. The topics of equality and tolerance are attracting more and more attention in society and in the media and are thus inevitable developments that companies must adapt to in order to remain competitive in the future. Diversity is an enrichment, but in an organizational setting it can also lead to tensions and challenges between employees. Diversity management is designed to counteract this. The goal is to recognize and utilize diversity within the company. This, of course, has a particular impact on personnel decisions, especially personnel planning. For this reason, diversity management works in most companies as an integrated part of the HR department or in close cooperation with it. 

Goals and tasks of diversity management

In the past, diversity management was primarily intended to combat discrimination in the world of work and to enable equal opportunities. Due to factors such as globalization, demographic change or the growing proportion of working women, differences inevitably come together in the business world as well.

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"Where differences come together under a common goal, diversity emerges."

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Today, diversity management is a tool for deriving entrepreneurial benefit from different individual competencies, characteristics, attitudes and cultural backgrounds and using them profitably in the company. The basis for this is the development of a corporate culture that strengthens the recognition of diversity and the preservation of equal opportunities. An important step in this process is also the inclusion of diversity in management decisions. In order to reap the benefits of a diverse corporate philosophy, the opportunities must be visible to all, while at the same time tensions and challenges must be identified and resolved at an early stage. Each individual employee as well as the team and the company should benefit equally from diversity management. 

Advantages of diversity management

Diversity management not only helps employees adapt to social and economic trends. Used correctly, the management approach promotes work quality and safety. In recruiting and corporate communications, real diversity can create a good image among potential employees and customers. Building an international network can attract talents from different regions of the world. In addition, the fluctuation of existing employees can be reduced by a corporate culture characterized by appreciation. In the operational area of the company, diverse teams can develop new approaches and different perspectives in solving problems, which significantly improves the company's innovation capacity. However, the main advantage of diversity management lies in the more conscious perception of the different abilities of employees. This mindset leads to greater appreciation within the team, more productive collaboration and ultimately an increase in operational performance. Used correctly, diversity in the company therefore brings real competitive advantages. 

General guideline for the implementation of DiM

The actions and implementation options for diversity management are as varied as the people in the company itself. However, the introduction should roughly follow a specific roadmap with the following five guiding questions:

  1. Benefits: Where can diversity be helpful with regard to customers, stakeholders or business partners?
  2. Initial situation: How much diversity already exists in the company? How diverse are the company's own employees, customers or suppliers? Where are appropriate diversity measures already in place unconsciously?
  3. Planning: How can diversity be integrated into the company? How should implementation time, costs, effects and risks be evaluated?
  4. Implementation: How and when will which measures be implemented? How will they be communicated?
  5. Success: What effects do the measures have? Can they be optimized, extended to other areas or do they have to be discontinued? 

Potential measures at a glance

Now that a rough guideline for implementing diversity management is in place, it is time to initiate individual measures. In practice, there are also numerous ways to address individual needs and to strengthen an open employee culture. Diversity management includes measures ranging from adapting the cafeteria menu to optimizing processes across the entire organization to include employees with disabilities. Important topics in diversity management also involve developing concepts for work-life balance or offering company kindergartens for employees with families. Cultural management in the form of language courses or workshops to promote intercultural communication also fall within the responsibility of diversity managers. Team-building events help to overcome barriers and open the door to greater tolerance. The principle that applies to all potential measures is that those who measure beforehand can select specific actions and better work towards success. 

At InLoox, we also love and live diversity in the company. For this reason, we are especially happy when our software is used for projects that promote equality and diversity in companies. With their social business consultancy, our customer myAbility has made it their mission to successfully place talented people with disabilities on the job market. The goal behind their work is to make companies rethink, promote tolerance and openness, and enrich companies with true diversity. Read the myAbility case study to find out how the project management software InLoox supports the social enterprise from Austria in this mission.

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