Organizational Wellness

Managing Diversity in Your Workforce: 20 Best Practices for Companies

May 14, 2024
Last Updated May 14, 2024

As the 21st century workplace evolved, implementing policies that promote diversity and inclusion went from being ideals and arguments to standard practice. 

Most organizations today ask not whether diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) measures are vital to future success, but how to do them right. 

Yes, variety is the spice of work-life that can enhance your team. But understanding that is only half the battle. The other half is knowing how to actively manage workplace diversity to create a culture where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to reach their full potential.


What is Diversity Management?

"Managing" diversity can incorrectly come across as simply acknowledging people's differences. But diversity management is far more involved, and requires taking intentional action to create a more inclusive work environment. 

Most companies approach diversity management from three angles.


Before setting out to make changes, it helps to define what diversity and inclusion look like in your company. For most, that means fostering a workplace with fair opportunities, respect, and appreciation for everyone.


Effective diversity management also means understanding the various types of workplace diversity. Factors to keep in mind include: 

  • Age
  • Race
  • Ethnicity 
  • Disability 
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Socioeconomic class
  • Religious or political affiliation


Your management tools are the policies, programs, and practices designed to promote diversity. For example, bringing in DEIB consultants and providing HR leaders with training and certifications are typical strategies, but companies can also empower employees to drive diversity with programs like Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).

The Benefits of Workplace Diversity

The advantages of having an inclusive workforce extend to employees and organizations alike. 

Considering the problems that come with a lack of diversity at work, it's easy to see why so many companies have embraced the win-win paradigm. Washington State University gathered the recent research on the topic to show the stats on why workplace diversity is so essential:

  • Diverse ideas, perspectives, and learning opportunities enrich the employee experience.
  • Increased employee engagement helps staff bond and develop camaraderie, improving morale, satisfaction, and motivation.
  • A happier, more engaged workforce is more creative and productive, with diverse management teams having nearly 20% higher innovation revenue.
  • Diversity at work leads to faster problem-solving and more accurate decision-making just under 90% of the time!
  • DEIB policies are essential to over 60% of prospective employees, so having them boosts your company's reputation, credibility, and ability to attract and retain talent.
  • Diversity measures lead to better financial performance, with companies that do well in diversity metrics over 30% more likely to show higher profits.

20 Best Practices for Actively Managing Diversity in Your Workforce 

Now that you understand diversity management and why it's essential, the next step is to find concrete ways to help you implement it. 

Although there isn't a specific rulebook for creating workplace diversity, companies can adopt best practices to actively manage diversity at work. 

During the Recruitment Phase 

Diversity management starts before you’ve even met your potential future employees.

  1. Expand the talent pools you're targeting

Try expanding your search and being open to finding talent through unconventional channels. For example, you can tap into the benefits of a wider talent pool by partnering with diverse professional organizations, universities, and community groups.

  1. Do anonymous resume reviews

This technique helps people reduce their unconscious biases when selecting a candidate. Making some parts of the resume anonymous, such as a candidate's name or age, will help eliminate preconceptions and make the process fair for everyone.

  1. Appoint diverse panels for interviews

In the same spirit, ensure the people interviewing candidates represent diverse backgrounds and perspectives to avoid affinity bias, bringing balance to your evaluation process. Having diverse interview panels has the extra benefits of signaling your DEIB philosophy and making candidates feel more welcome.  

  1. Use inclusive language in your messaging

Communication is always necessary, particularly during the initial phases when prospective employees weigh their options. Use gender-neutral, inclusive language and avoid terms that might accidentally disparage certain groups. 

Throughout Onboarding

As your team expands, managing diversity will shift along with it. Here are some ways you can continue to foster an inclusive employee experience.

  1. Offer mentorship opportunities

Studies indicate that a lack of mentorship opportunities correlates with a lack of workplace diversity. You can address this by pairing new hires from underrepresented groups with mentors who can provide support and guidance.

  1. Provide cultural sensitivity training

For new hires, sensitivity training shows a company's genuine commitment to DEIB principles. These seminars and workshops communicate your company's values and allow employees to mingle, bond, and get acquainted. 

  1. Make a point of emphasizing diversity

Start on the right foot with new employees by highlighting any diversity-related holidays or events your company observes. This is a great way to immediately signal that you want employees to feel like they belong.

  1. Create channels for safe reporting and communication. 

Providing a channel for employees to complain or report an issue is a good start, but it's not enough. To create a truly safe environment, employees must know they can be honest without fear of consequences, which you'll need to communicate from the beginning.

For Employee Development

With an established group, diversity efforts turn toward internal growth.

  1. Ensure there's equal access to opportunities

Whether it's a promotion, professional development seminar, or leadership training, all employees must have the same chance to grow within your company. Create open access and provide company-wide reminders about upcoming opportunities to allow every eligible employee to opt in. 

  1. Back sponsorship programs

Similar to mentorship, many programs will sponsor employees with diverse backgrounds and support their professional development and advancement. These programs are an excellent way to fast-track employees with high potential, so backing these initiatives is a win-win. 

  1. Hold leaders accountable

Taking pride in your company's DEBI initiatives and staying accountable are ways to show integrity and set an example for other employees. For example, every leader from managers to the C-suite can document the candidates they interview for positions to evaluate how they are contributing to the company’s diversification efforts. When leaders measure up to the philosophies they espouse, everyone else follows.  

  1. Support Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

ERGs provide underrepresented groups with various needs, resources, and support—from networking and advice to advocacy within the company. Supporting these groups is another way to show employees your commitment to workplace inclusion. 

  1. Gather regular feedback.

Gather as much feedback as possible, make it regular, and do it with complete transparency. Pay specific attention to the experiences of minority groups and allow employees to give feedback through various means. Some examples are:

  • Focus groups 
  • Pulse surveys 
  • Questionnaires
  • Virtual suggestion boxes 
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Informal "lunch and learn" sessions

  1. Celebrate DEIB milestones

We all celebrate milestones in other areas of our lives, so why not do the same for how well your company's DEIB initiatives are doing? Whether appreciating staff diversity or recognizing progress and achievements, acknowledging milestones will help build an inclusive workplace.

To Keep Your Best Employees Around

Actively managing diversity in a company can also bolster employee retention.

  1. Allow the option for flexible work arrangements

Offer remote work options and policies that allow flexible hours for employees' varied needs or lifestyles. Another example is implementing a flexible return-to-work policy. This can help groups of employees who find it easier to work from home. For example, employment of people with disabilities increased alongside the rise of remote work, adding diversity to their organizations.

  1. Offer inclusive employee benefits

When creating employee packages, ensure the benefits cater to all needs. It's a common error to think what's good for you is good for others, so don't make any assumptions! Inclusive benefit options to consider are:

  1. Have a zero-tolerance policy. 

The fundamental tenet of a DEIB philosophy is that the workplace is a safe space. It's crucial to maintain strict policies, not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment, and take swift action when such issues arise.

When Doing Performance Management

Evaluation periods are particularly important for nurturing long-term diversity objectives.

  1. Look for and reduce unconscious biases in reviews

Hiring managers and supervisors who do performance reviews are key figures that shape a company's workforce diversity. Train these employees on unconscious bias to align the rules and assumptions that define your company culture with its DEIB vision. 

  1. Set DEIB goals and use metrics to measure them

It's great to set goals, but arguably even more important to measure them. Clear, established performance criteria reduce subjectivity and show your company's progress. This type of transparency builds trust and establishes credibility among employees and the larger business community.  

  1. Recognize the value of diverse work styles

Allowing employees their individual problem-solving and communication styles is great, but true recognition goes beyond that. Be sure to remind your employees that they each add something unique to the company and that you genuinely value the diversity they bring. 

Supercharge the Benefits of Diversity with Employee Wellness

Implementing effective diversity management strategies is not just about ticking boxes — it's about enriching your company culture and boosting operational success. 

Wellhub acts as a powerful tool in this process, offering a holistic wellbeing platform that supports diverse needs and preferences. From meditation apps to gym memberships, nutrition counseling to habit trackers, our flexible subscription can help with any wellness journey. This is why companies with Wellhub have elevated employee satisfaction, and see turnover by up to 40%! 

Create a more inclusive environment where every employee feels valued and understood. Speak with a Wellbeing Specialist today!

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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