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Why a Company Invested in Diversity Leads to Employee Retention

By Contributing Writer
Eleanor Hecks
October 30, 2023

Think about some of the best places you’ve ever worked. They were likely made up of a diverse mix of people from all races, belief systems and age groups. Employee retention is an elusive animal. Companies can try different tactics to keep their top workers on the payroll but not every program will speak to every person. However, when you seek to invest in diversity, you ensure you’re considering the viewpoint of all your workers, which can help keep most workers satisfied and thriving.

How Does Diversity Impact Employee Retention?

In a recent report released by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, researchers mentioned there were 10.8 million jobs available at the end of January 2023. However, the number of unemployed persons was a mere 5.7 million people. While there are more positions available than people to fill them, not all jobs are desirable to workers. The labor shortage is thus likely to continue well into 2023 and maybe even beyond.

In an atmosphere where it’s hard to find employees, much less highly qualified ones, companies must do everything in their power to keep the excellent and well-trained workers they currently have. Employee retention often boils down to how engaged the worker feels and if their concerns are met with open ears and minds.

1. Insist on Respect

The first step to working on a more diverse employee pool is to insist on respect among team members. Set the example by choosing leaders who don’t see skin color or background but judge only on current performance.

Ideally, your management is able to set clear goals and guidelines and ask everyone to abide by them to avoid any resentment or feelings of being picked on. Do your best to create a diverse management team in your company. For example, choose all genders, races and ages. Base your promotional structure on competency rather than who is in or out of the inner circle.

2. Use Data to Improve Your Programs

Understand that some things are more important to employees than others. They may gravitate to companies that do a good job handling age and gender gaps. Companies who rank in the top 25% for gender diversity are 25% more likely to be more profitable than those ranking in the bottom fourth.

Look at general statistics when making decisions about which diversity programs to prioritize. However, you should also poll and survey your current workers to see what their view of your company is. You might think you’re doing an excellent job, but people in a particular group might disagree. Ask them what you can do to make things better.

3. Be Aware of Ageism

Ageism can happen to both older workers and younger workers. Seniors or those in Generation-X may feel overlooked by their co-workers. However, younger workers just starting in the industry might feel overworked and underappreciated.

Seek to find areas of commonality between different ages. When your policies allow people to move up and be promoted based on things such as time with the organization as well as performance, you open up the career ladder to everyone.

Put yourself in the shoes of an older worker who plugs away at their tasks and never asks for much in return. They've been overlooked for a promotion but the person who received it doesn’t seem to work nearly as hard as they do.

You might also imagine the fresh-out-of-college superstar who comes into the company eager to please. After a few months, they’ve not even received a thank you but are giving up their weekends and working more hours than not. Both situations lead to burn out and you will eventually lose these employees to another company.

4. Create a Family

When employees feel seen and heard and everyone is appreciated for the unique viewpoints and information they bring to the table, they’ll also respect their fellow employees more. Company culture can be such a crucial part of employee engagement that it can lead to employee retention or high churn numbers.

Strive to create a family-like atmosphere. Leadership should strive to help workers have better work/life balance. If someone just had a new baby or got a new puppy, insist they take some extra paid time off and adjust to the changes in their household.

Care about your workers like they are human beings and the attitude will trickle down to the rest of the staff. Show every person the same respect and value them all the same.

5. Offer Fair Pay

Make sure you have a firm grasp of what a fair pay structure is for your area and the position you’re hiring. Study what other companies offer for the same level of experience and job title.

For example, the average national salary for a graphic designer is $50,710 per year. Once you know the averages and dig down into pay for your area, you’ll have a better idea if you are offering a competitive salary.

The only thing that should vary on what you offer to different workers is experience or education.

6. Conduct Training

One of the best ways to ensure you’re creating a diverse workplace is to offer training. It might be best to have a third-party expert come in to audit the company and conduct sessions. Every person on the planet sees things through their personal lens based on background, past experiences and upbringing.

When you enlist the help of someone neutral, it’s easier to spot problem areas and fix them before they become irreconcilable differences that lead to employee churn.

Watch Your Employee Retention Soar

When you create an environment where every worker can thrive, you also will find your employees are more engaged. They’ll feel comfortable communicating about their wants and concerns. Management will look at performance rather than who they enjoy palling around with after work. The entire culture of your company changes when you invest in diversity and employee retention numbers improve.

Eleanor Hecks is the managing editor at Designerly. She’s also a mobile app designer with a focus on UI. Connect with her about digital marketing, UX and/or tea on LinkedIn.

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