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John Bair
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Achieving a Diverse Demographic in the Workplace

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It’s unfortunate that in the 21st century, businesses are still trying to figure out effective ways to achieve demographic diversity in the workplace. While the legal profession has seen exceptional accomplishments spearheaded by underrepresented groups, there is still much to be done in the legal area and other fields of business.

Companies everywhere are working on diversity mission statements, policies and programs — but are they really making a difference? According to a study conducted by researchers at University of California Berkeley, Harvard University and University of Minnesota, the answer is an unfortunate no. Their analyses of federal and survey data of more than 700 private sector establishments found diversity training and evaluations intended to moderate managerial bias “… are least effective at increasing the share of white women, black women, and black men in management.”

diversity in lawAre any efforts working well? The study found that while mentoring and networking have modest effects on managerial diversity, establishing leadership responsibility for achieving diversity leads to the most successful increases. The researchers note that organizations simultaneously doing all of these things — taking responsibility, mentoring, networking, training and evaluating — see the best effects.

In short, to truly achieve diversity in the workplace, leaders have to hold themselves accountable, and their businesses have to enact real strategies beyond simple marketing tools that merely look like they’re putting in the work.

Benefits of Diversity in Law and Other Fields

Retaining a diverse staff in the workplace benefits both the business and its clients. Well-rounded businesses bring a variety of perspectives to solve a myriad of issues. According to an article in Entrepreneur, it can also have the following advantages:

  • Gain access to insights, experiences and worldviews of the full marketplace
  • Drive innovation
  • Appreciate differences across cultures, genders and more
  • Increase creativity
  • Make staff recruitment easier
  • More effectively market to all groups of consumers

These ongoing research efforts will hopefully result in a new era where a diverse workplace is the norm. Of course, it’s up to businesses to adopt best practices and stick to them in order to achieve demographic diversity in the workplace.

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  1. Laurie says:
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    I think diversity and inclusion in the work place is of great importance. Great information, thanks for sharing!