A process essay is a type of expository essay that teaches the reader how to accomplish a given task. In most cases, the process is broken down into steps that must be followed sequentially. This written coursework may feature any topic, from something as simple as cooking an omelette to more complex procedures like maintaining customer loyalty. This sample process essay provides five essential steps to increasing diversity in the workplace.

The past couple of decades have seen a marked shift towards increasing diversity in many industries, especially among large organizations that cater to the needs of diverse populations. The move towards diversity can perhaps be attributed to a number of factors. Firstly, increasing diversity has been fueled by calls for greater inclusivity (Beji et al., 2021). Most industries have a history of segregation. Many companies owned by whites were off-limits to people of color even when there were no official policies in place. Women, on the other hand, were relegated to lower positions such as clerical jobs. Such companies’ refusal to hire people of color and women were seen as a deliberate attempt to deny such groups opportunities for socioeconomic mobility. The fight for racial and gender equality as well as ethical business practices, along with the changes it has engendered including greater emphasis on corporate social responsibility, however, has prompted many companies to open up. Secondly, increasing diversity has also been spurred by mounting evidence that diversity is a competitive advantage (Gomez and Bernet, 2019). Not only does diversity facilitate the pooling of ideas, experiences, and insights, but it also enables an organization to better understand, grow, and serve a diverse clientele (Flory et al., 2021). But not all companies have actively taken steps to increase diversity, which in turn indicates the need for more information on realizing this change (Williams, 2021). Drawing upon existing literature, diversity in the workplace can be improved by utilizing a five-step approach that begins with assessing the current situation and ends with evaluating the effectiveness of strategies.

Why Fostering Diversity Matters

Despite the strides made by companies, much remains to be done when it comes to increasing diversity. For instance, recent statistical data show that only 17% and 16% of chief marketing officers and chief information officers are women, respectively (Grant Thornton, 2020). Such lack of representation goes all the way to the top, as shown by the fact that only 37 of 500 Fortune companies have female CEOs (Hinchcliffe, 2020). Meanwhile, a study by consulting company Mercer showed that the majority of companies in the United States still lack diversity. Statistical data show that 64% of employees on the support staff level are white, whereas only 12%, 10%, and 8% are black, Hispanic, and Asian, respectively. Diversity further decreases up the hierarchy. On the executive level, 85% of top positions are white, as opposed to just 2% black and 3% Hispanic (Stevens, 2020). The lack of racial and gender diversity in many industries as well as the disadvantages that it brings underscores the need to take steps to address the matter. The succeeding sections provide a simple and workable process for accomplishing this goal.

Step 1: Assess Current Workplace Diversity

The first step of the process is assessing workplace diversity as it currently stands. Organizations have varying levels of diversity. Whereas some may be largely homogenous, others may be closer to the goal of ensuring that diverse groups are well-represented in the workforce. As strategies should be tailored according to specifics, it makes sense to begin the process by conducting an assessment. In this step, leadership including human resources executives gaze inward (Livingston, 2020). Leadership should ask questions designed to create a picture showing where the company is in terms of diversity. Are people of color and women well-represented on the various levels of the organization from staff and support to executive positions? Based on empirical evidence, how far or close is the organization to establishing diversity? These are just some of the questions that organizations can ask about themselves. Of course, it is essential that in conducting assessment the organization exercises strict objectivity. In fact, organizations have an option to bring in third party consultants to aid in or perform the assessment. Carrying out this step should provide an organization with a more comprehensive idea of where they are in relation to predominant standards (Biemann and De Meulenaere, 2021).

Step 2: Identify Barriers to Increasing Diversity

Once the assessment has been performed, the next step is identifying the barriers to fostering diversity. The current level of diversity is merely the result of underlying conditions. In order to promote diversity, therefore, an organization has to uncover the root causes of the lack of diversity. Barriers to workplace diversity are not merely the attitudes or behaviors of individuals; rather they are often structural or systemic in nature (Livingston, 2020). Bearing this in mind, an organization looking to unearthing these hindrances have a number of areas to consider. Firstly, the organization needs to look into established policies. Leadership must analyze existing policies in order to determine if there are barriers that exist in this area. It is important to note that policies that hinder diversity need not be deliberate nor explicit. In most cases, such barriers are not obvious and instead are results of flaws. For example, some policies may seem to uphold egalitarianism until analysis reveals that they actually reinforce bias against certain groups. Thus, reviewing policies is a vital part of this step. Secondly, an organization should also look into organizational culture. While not formalized or inscribed, organizational culture can be just as influential to the practices of an organization as policy is (Livingston, 2020). Leadership should determine if workplace culture perpetuates discrimination, prejudice, and exclusivity. Finally, the organization should also consider brand perception. An organization may actively seek diverse employees, but if this does not register to the target audience, then it will achieve little in the way of advancing inclusivity. Viewing the organization from an outsider’s point of view can help identify some of the root causes of the problem. It is also essential in this step that input from employees are actively solicited and integrated into the diagnosing of problems.

Step 3: Formulate Strategies in Recruitment, Hiring, and Retention

Once barriers to diversity have been identified, the next step is to formulate strategies designed to foster diversity. As mentioned earlier, determining what these barriers are is vital since it allows for devising specific targeted solutions. For example, if the problem involves recruitment, then it is this area that strategizing should focus on. The same is true if the assessment and analysis point to retention. In other words, strategies should build upon the findings of the first two steps (Gurchiek, 2018). Furthermore, strategies should be informed by employees. It will be tremendously beneficial if employees who belong to minority groups are involved in the formulation of solutions. This is also the time to set specific goals and objectives. Any process where solutions to problems are being designed should have metrics or results that will serve as benchmarks for success. Organizations should remember, however, that while strategies need to be aligned with the problems and barriers identified, they do not have to be limited to addressing them. That is, organizations can also come up with proactive strategies and should not merely rely on reacting to existing conditions (Biemann and De Meulenaere, 2021). For example, if an organization’s main barrier to diversity concerns recruitment, it will also do well to look into strategies that encourage retention. Attracting talents from underrepresented groups is one thing; ensuring that they stay is another. Ultimately, strategies should encompass the entire working experience, from communicating the organization’s openness to diversity in order to attract talents to creating an inclusive working environment that encourages talents to stay.

Step 4: Implement Strategies for Fostering Diversity

The fourth step is implementing the formulated strategies. Implementation can be a difficult process, especially when barriers are deeply-entrenched within the organization’s policies, culture, and practices. It is, however, not impossible and there are measures that can be put in place to increase the likelihood of success. One of these is by utilizing an organizational change framework such as Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model or Lewin’s Change Management Model. The use of such models will provide the organization with a framework that makes the process more clear-cut while minimizing wastage (Livingston, 2020). Another is by creating a special committee tasked with implementing these strategies. As with the formulation of strategies, the implementing body should be diverse. Forming a timeline is also advised. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Step 5: Evaluate Results

Finally, the last step is to evaluate the results of the strategies. Evaluation is a crucial step for two reasons. First, it determines if the strategies have been effective. This is the part where the specific goals and objectives established in the third step will be used to determine if the solutions worked. Second, evaluation is important since findings from this step will influence the next steps (Gurchiek, 2018). For instance, if it has been determined that the strategies have only been partially effective and the goals have not been fully met, then findings from the evaluation will initiate another round of strategizing that will focus on the lapses of the previous attempts. Evaluating results should be objective and should be based on standards set at the beginning of the project. In a way, the fifth step can be considered as the starting point for another round of implementing strategies if necessary.

Conclusion

As the importance of diversity in the workplace becomes more apparent, companies have more impetus to create a more inclusive environment. After all, diversity has been proven to present organizations many advantages. However, fostering diversity is not an easy task. Even when organizations are genuinely motivated for the right reasons, navigating this change can be tricky and fraught with problems. Fortunately, there are frameworks that can serve as a guide to organizations. The five-step process outlined here offers a simple and feasible approach to increasing diversity. These five steps are: assessing the current situation; identifying barriers; formulating strategies; implementing the plan; and evaluating results. Of course, in adopting this process, an organization should tailor the specifics so that the entire procedure is aligned with the unique needs of the workplace and its employees.

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References

Beji, R., Yousfi, O., Loukil, N., and Omri, A. (2020). Board diversity and corporate social responsibility: Empirical evidence from France. Journal of Business Ethics, 173, 133-155. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-020-04522-4

Biemann, T. and De Meulenaere, K. (2021). Measuring diversity in the workplace: An extended and unified framework. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2021(1). https://doi.org/10.5465/AMBPP.2021.13003abstract

Flory, J., Leibbrandt, A., Rott, C., and Stoddard, O. (2018). Increasing workplace diversity: Evidence from a recruiting experiment at a Fortune 500 company. SSRN. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3201995

Gomez, L. E., and Bernet, P. (2019). Diversity improves performance and outcomes. Journal of the National Medical Association, 111(4), 383-392. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnma.2019.01.006

Grant Thornton. (2020). Women in business 2020: Putting the blueprint into action. Grant Thornton. https://www.grantthornton.global/en/insights/women-in-business-2020/women-in-business-2020-report/

Gurchiek, K. (2018, March 19). 6 steps for building an inclusive workplace. Society for Human Resource Management. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/0418/pages/6-steps-for-building-an-inclusive-workplace.aspx

Hinchliffe, E. (2020). The number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 hits an all-time record. Fortune. https://fortune.com/2020/05/18/women-ceos-fortune-500-2020/

Livingston, R. (2020). How to promote racial equity in the workplace. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/09/how-to-promote-racial-equity-in-the-workplace

Stevens, P. (2020, June 11). Companies are making bold promises about diversity, but there’s a long way to go. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/11/companies-are-making-bold-promises-about-greater-diversity-theres-a-long-way-to-go.html

Williams, T. (2021). Racial diversity: There’s more work to be done in the workplace. Economist Education. https://execed.economist.com/blog/industry-trends/racial-diversity-theres-more-work-be-done-workplace