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A Publication of WTVP

As the American workforce reflects an increasingly diverse population, organizations must effectively manage diversity in order to attract and retain high-quality employees and create a more cooperative, creative and productive work environment. One important aspect of managing diversity is demonstrating and encouraging respect for all employees’ abilities and perspectives. There are a number of steps an employer can take, including:

Why should you be concerned about workplace diversity?

What are the benefits of workforce diversity? A welcoming and diverse workplace where all employees feel empowered and supported in their career goals is the best way to attract quality employees—and the best way to keep them. With high-performing employees come higher productivity, quality and improved morale. When employees feel and see that diversity is appreciated and promoted in the workplace, they are generally more satisfied with their jobs. Oftentimes a diverse workforce will provide the opportunity to have many different angles or points of view in the decision-making process, which enables leaders to make better decisions that are often more innovative. Another benefit of encouraging diversity is the reduction of discrimination complaints and costly lawsuits.

What are the applicable regulations? Although there are no specific laws or regulations that require workplace diversity, diversity is at least in part about equal opportunity, and provisions of the following federal fair employment laws should be kept in mind: Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Americans with Disabilities Act, Equal Pay Act, Rehabilitation Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In Illinois, laws to be considered are the Illinois Human Rights Act, The Equal Pay Act of 2003 and the Military Leave Absence Act.

Want to promote workplace diversity? Consider your answers to the following questions. Do you have a diversity policy? If you have a policy, how do you support it? Do you train employees to recognize the benefits of diversity? Have you built work teams with employees from different backgrounds and diverse perspectives? Your answers to these questions will shed light on whether or not there are opportunities to enrich the workplace experience through enhanced diversity efforts. iBi

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