Organisational diversity is something that every company states they want. However, many still have people with similar perspectives in decision making roles.

Research such as Scott Page’s The Diversity Bonus has shown that when problems are solved from one viewpoint, the impact is limited, with an increased error rate of up to 30%.

Page’s research shows that when groups are diverse, they outperform groups of like-minded people, even when they are experts in their fields. In addition, teams that embrace diversity bring more innovation, more robust engagement and ultimately better financial results.

With the ‘Great Resignation Wave’ upon us, it is worth noting that inclusive companies are stronger at attracting and retaining talent and being ranked as a great place to work.

Strategies for Embracing Diversity in the Workplace

There is no easy solution to embracing diversity in your organisation. Every organisation is different, and your leadership must ascertain what is right for you. That said, here are eight strategies for embracing diversity in your organisation.

1. Start a dialogue.

Embracing diversity is a complex topic for leadership to start. However, the very fact that you are a leader in the business means the system works for you; any biases have worked in your favour. Bring your leadership together and explicitly explain the benefits of diversity and how it impacts their teams. You need to set the tone and message for the broader business. Encourage your leaders to speak with their teams, emphasising listening. You won’t solve the problems overnight, but an open and frank dialogue will let you know where your organisation needs to improve.

2. Embrace transparency.

It’s essential to be completely transparent with your staff about where the company is with diversity and inclusion and what steps are underway to improve the situation. Failure to do so will leave staff feeling that not enough is being done, or worse, misaligned activities are not remedied. In addition, your leadership team is critical in driving diversity, equity and inclusion and should be well enough informed to keep their teams abreast of organisational activities, goals and performance.

3. Develop leadership skills.

Do your leaders know what to do? Are they empowered to make critical decisions? Simply putting leaders through unconscious bias training is a start; however, this provides merely awareness and is not enough.

To truly empower your leaders, the organisation needs tools and frameworks to lessen the bias and regular training to bridge the gap between theory and practice. The best companies have leaders present examples to the broader leadership group for training and feedback.

4. Be on the lookout for bias in decision making

Whilst unconscious bias can affect any group, some are disproportionately harmed, such as people with disabilities, people of colour and members of the LGBTQ community. Discrimination against groups such as these take many forms other than hiring; it can affect performance management, succession planning, the delegation of duties and recognition. The decisions types above show that unconscious biases can make or break careers, so leaders must create a culture where diverse viewpoints are encouraged. Therefore leaders must be purposeful in seeking out people who have opposing views, delegate equitably, and proactively identify development opportunities for all staff.

5. Pay attention to how ALL people are treated.

The recent pandemic has changed the way we work, with hybrid and virtual working now the norm in many companies. In addition, working from home has allowed some minority groups, such as introverts, to thrive. In contrast, other groups, particularly geographically distant teams, have reported feeling lost behind the screen in group situations.

Whilst flexible working brings many benefits; it risks creating new issues. Influential leaders must pay attention to how all team members are treated, not just the visible ones. Leaders must work to engage with each team member and acknowledge their value to the broader team.

6. Be a catalyst for change

To truly combat inequality in the workplace, every leader needs to be an ally and an advocate for positive change. You need to intervene where and when you see inequality issues arise. Still, you also need to support minority groups and create networks for them within the organisation.

For example, women returning to the workforce have missed crucial years and opportunities. They, therefore, benefit greatly by having allies in the organisation to help them build networks, receive their due credit and amplify their concerns when needed. Minority groups require leaders who can act with empathy, courage, and honesty.

7. Commit to change.

Real change is not easy, especially around sensitive issues like diversity, equity and inclusion. Many companies say the right things and do the proper training but fail to investigate and improve their practices. It is crucial to stay the course; however, feedback loops need to be in place to encourage staff to suggest where things can be tweaked or improved.

8. Build a platform of empathy and feedback.

Taking action to fight inequality requires an individual, team and organisational effort. It also needs time and trust as people may at first not be comfortable raising issues. As an organisation, you should laud those who raise concerns and provide anonymous feedback mechanisms for those who are not as forthcoming.

Improvement will not happen overnight, so it is essential as leaders to treat everyone with empathy and respect. Leaders should always push the message that there is always room for further improvement whilst improvements are being made.


Genuinely embracing diversity in the workplace is a significant investment. However, one that delivers lasting benefits for the organisation, both culturally and financially.

It cannot be straightforward since you are disrupting ingrained culture and organisational thinking, so it is essential to build diversity into your organisation’s strategic goals. Understand that it is a journey that will have successes and failures. Still, frank, honest discussions with your staff will see improvement over time.

At Etica Digital, our business is built on assembling diverse digital teams for our clients. Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about the advantages that diverse and inclusive groups and hiring bring.