Why are so many companies failing to embrace diversity in the workplace, even when they have policies meant to support it? What has to happen for diversity to be seen in practice in the workplace? And why is workplace diversity so important?

These are big questions that can lead to refreshing hiring policies and better embracing company practices that bring about change.

One of the worst hurdles to achieving diversity in the workplace can be when people don’t understand why it matters. Sometimes, there can be leaders who argue it’s not worth the effort. With voices against implementing the changes, it’s even harder to take that next step.

Companies benefit from embracing workplace diversity because it brings about a wider range of talent to the business. The more comprehensive the range of backgrounds in the talent hired by a company, the more diverse perspectives are brought into a company’s results. A homogeneous worldview among all employees fails to push a company forward toward greater success.

Many businesses have policies meant to encourage diversity in the workplace, yet they so often fail.

What can make the difference?

It comes down to a lot of factors, which will vary from one business to another. Factors like industry and hiring practices will affect the kinds of policies an individual business needs to make diversity a reality.

Still, there are things most businesses can do to make a change.

The first thing businesses need to do is define actionable goals. While it’s lovely to say that your business needs a broader range of perspectives to invigorate the company, there needs to be a clear picture of what that looks like in practice.

Plans are a great start, but from there, actions have to be taken. There should be a clear path ahead for implementation, with checkpoints along the way so you can judge how the plan is progressing.

As a business becomes more diverse, it’s essential to look at the workplace culture to make sure it is further supporting diversity. In action, supporting diversity within your workplace culture looks a lot like being a supportive leader, while keeping the greater diversity of your team in mind.

This means doing things like recognizing accomplishments in the workplace, bringing inclusion carefully into the leadership style for every leader within the company, and valuing the unique perspectives brought into the workplace. It’s one thing to bring on a more diverse workforce; it’s another thing to make sure all individual voices are adequately heard. This means creating a culture where everyone feels encouraged to speak.