Last week we focused on selecting employees and assembling teams. Today we are taking a look at how companies can successfully implement diversity in their day-to-day dealings -for example regarding employee and manager behavior or when assigning tasks.
“Companies like to assign so-called “office domestic work”, such as tidying up meeting rooms or organizing lunch, to female employees, who are supposedly more caring,” reports Dr. Monika V. Kronbügel (PhD), CEO of Global DiVision, from personal experience. In contrast, a disproportionately high percentage of attractive, prestigious tasks offering good networking and promotion opportunities are assigned to white men. Studies show that men also take control of discussions during meetings more often than women. In addition to this, men with specialist knowledge are able to exert more influence during discussions than their female coworkers. Where a woman is judged to be behaving “emotionally” or a black man “angrily”, a white man will, in contrast, be considered to be showing “passionate commitment”.
Should you recognize problematic equality-related dynamics in your own company, we have the following suggestions for change:
1. Ensure that your employees take turns with “office domestic work”.
No matter whether you believe that women carry out certain tasks more thoroughly or even if they have volunteered to carry out them out, make sure that you assign ancillary tasks fairly and to all employees.
2. Pay attention to equality when structuring and assigning more valuable projects.
Before you assign an important task, consider carefully who among your employees has the appropriate capabilities to carry it out. This could increase the chance of it being given to someone who is not a member of the circle of individuals that you always assign important tasks to.
3. Acknowledge the value of ancillary work.
The careers of employees who come from minorities often progress more slowly because they handle tasks that are not acknowledged as valuable. The integration of such work in personal target agreements and its inclusion in employee appraisals is the first step to solving this problem.
4. Take action against double standards, stereotypical thinking, and impolite behavior during discussions.
Pay attention to how your employees talk about coworkers and how they behave in a group. You should, for example, be extra vigilant when individuals continuously try to dominate conversations or keep interrupting coworkers. Speak to the employee about this behavior one-on-one in private.
5. Ask members of minorities for their opinions.
Women, employees with Asian origins, and skilled first-generation workers often report that they have been brought up to be diffident. This can, in turn, tempt them to be very reserved when asked for their opinions or to keep their thoughts to themselves. Straight talking can tempt such employees out of their shells.
6. Structure meetings in such a way that no one feels excluded.
Business meetings should always take place in the office and not in locations where only the employees who share the same hobbies or preferences as their boss have a chance to shine.
7. Ensure that all employees have equal access to you.
Ensure that the frequency of one-on-one discussions corresponds to business requirements and your team’s needs instead of having a tendency to reflect the relevant employee’s wishes or expectations.