Over the past 20 years or so, organizations have worked to embrace diversity as the workforce has become more gender and ethnically diverse. This has led to the rise of what scholars call “diversity networks,” which are essentially networks within organizations of people who share a social identity. The idea is that diversity networks foster more equal workplaces while also providing a platform for minorities to support members of their group while strengthening their voice within the organization.
While not a panacea to solving inequality in the workplace, diversity networks have shown to be valuable tools that help individuals advance their careers despite structural challenges that maintain inequality within an organization. What’s more, some argue that diversity networks only foster separation of minority groups rather than inclusion in the larger organizational structure.
That said, diversity is something today’s organizations must embrace in order to continue to grow, and diversity networks provide a foundation upon which organizations can build towards a more equal, inclusive, and ultimately prosperous workplace. Here are a few reasons why diversity networks should be a part of any organization.
Improving Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is more than a buzzword these days; it’s a strategy for recruitment and retention. And with the workforce becoming more diverse, it’s clear today’s employees want to join companies that promote and support diversity.
Diversity networks not only provide a space for workers with a common social identity to organize and socialize but also to feel engaged. Employees can discuss common issues they face and develop strategies to overcome those obstacles. Of course, it’s essential that organizational management actively listens and participates in these discussions in order for the groups to be effective. Otherwise, it’s just lip service.
Gathering Employee Input
It’s no secret that data is the lifeblood of today’s organizations. And a key piece of data in any organization is employee sentiment. How employees feel at any given moment can affect productivity—and thus profitability. It might be an oversimplification, but organizations with employees that feel content, happy, or fulfilled perform better than those with employees who aren’t.
Diversity networks allow organizations to identify issues early, gather employee input, and work cooperatively to develop solutions. Organizations with diversity networks can create a more level playing field between employees and can act as a catalyst for developing a greater sense of equality, inclusion, and empowerment.
Faster Staff Development
One of the key benefits of diversity networks is helping minority employees develop the skills and knowledge base they need for career advancement. Diversity networks can be a wealth of information and allow employees to interact with and learn from others with similar experiences. What’s more, it potentially provides more opportunities for employees to get involved with projects and/or departments they might not necessarily be exposed to, giving them away to develop a broader range of skills and experiences.
If you’re looking for a platform that can provide all the benefits of diversity networks, look no further than Zenvoy! Our community development tools and AI-driven employee networking tools are designed for maximum flexibility and inclusion. Schedule a demo to see what Zenvoy can do for your organization.