The healthcare industry is notorious for its glass ceiling, which means there are few opportunities to advance such as Workforce Diversity. Racial and gender bias, an obsession with test scores, and a lack of leadership are just a few of the challenges that hold back women and people of colour in the field. But this doesn’t have to be a permanent condition. More than half of new hospital CEOs are women, for example, and as tech companies have demonstrated through their hiring practices, there are ways to create more equal workplaces without sacrificing innovation or expertise.
Diverse teams help solve problems more creatively, innovate faster, and make better decisions by identifying different perspectives on the same topic. They are also more productive — meaning they can operate at full capacity without wasting time on redundant tasks — and less tense because employees don’t feel like they’re playing ” Whack-A-Mole” with different job roles each day. That’s why working to increase diversity in healthcare is so important: Doing so will lead to more innovative solutions that benefit everyone.
What does Workforce Diversity look like?
Diversity in healthcare is about more than just hiring a diverse group of people for your team. It’s about creating an environment that allows all employees to thrive, regardless of their race, gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, or other factors that might get in the way. One way to do that is by incorporating workforce diversity topics into your everyday conversations.
Healthcare organizations often focus on race, but other factors such as age, disability status, education level, and family situation can be just as important. Once you begin to think about these issues, you may find that you already have a lot of knowledge and ideas to add to the mix.
Start with recruitment practices
It’s common for business leaders to talk about their commitment to diversity while making decisions that hugely disadvantage people of color. This is a huge problem in many fields, but the healthcare industry is particularly susceptible to it. As a result, many hospitals and medical practices have one or more recruitment practices that prevent diverse groups from applying. For example, if job postings specify an age range, they may exclude older candidates who may be able to bring valuable experience to the table.
If they require that candidates have specific qualifications, they may unintentionally disqualify people with different backgrounds. If you’re interested in increasing the diversity of your hiring pool, the first step is to recognize where you’re falling short. Ask yourself how you could use recruitment practices to bring a greater range of people into your organization. If you have a specific goal for hiring women, for example, take a look at your hiring practices to see if there’s anything you can change.
Build inclusive workspaces and team meetings
It’s important for people of all backgrounds to feel welcome and included in their work environment. In order to do that, it’s crucial to create an environment where all types of people feel welcome. This may sound obvious — after all, workplaces are meant to be functional — but many organizations have fallen short in this area. If you want an inclusive workplace, bring that mindset to your workspace design. Avoid using offensive language and imagery, and make sure that everyone is included in team meetings. If you have a team-building exercise or event planned, invite every member of your company so that they feel included.
Foster flexible work arrangements for staff members
Many workers are interested in options like telecommuting, remote work, or flexible scheduling, but many companies don’t offer them. In fact, only 6% of U.S. employers offer these types of benefits, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you want to increase the diversity of your staff, start by offering more flexible work arrangements.
Some organizations may be hesitant to do so because they don’t want to take advantage of their employees, but that’s a mistake that can be easily fixed. Ask yourself: How might my organization benefit from offering more flexible work options? Perhaps you could use them to help staff members balance work and family responsibilities, or reduce the amount of time they spend on the job while still getting paid.
Encourage employees to take on leadership roles
Policies and procedures are great, but they rarely have the same impact as the people who have to implement them. In order to change the way a company operates, it’s crucial to start with the people who work there. Managers may often assume too much responsibility, while team members can often feel like they don’t have much power or authority.
If you want to create a more equitable workplace, start by encouraging employees to take on leadership roles. Whether that means creating a company council or inviting employees to take on leadership roles outside of their normal duties, it’s important to create opportunities for people to step up. It’s one way to show people that they have a place in the organization, and it can also help to increase the diversity of your team.
Benefits of Workforce Diversity in Healthcare
Increased employee satisfaction and retention
Diverse teams have the ability to bring together people with diverse experiences, attitudes, and talents, allowing for a more fulfilling work environment for all team members. As a result, a diverse workforce can increase satisfaction and retention for employees, as well as their sense of belonging and purpose at work. With a more inclusive team, employees can feel more connected to their company culture and learn from the diverse experiences and perspectives of their colleagues. Additionally, employees who feel more connected to their company culture are more likely to stay at the organization, which can positively impact retention rates.
Reduced employee stress and burnout
A stressed-out employee is a waste of an otherwise productive member of staff. Healthcare is one of the most stressful industries. In a fast-paced environment where work often feels overwhelming and time is always at a premium, it’s important for employees to have policies and techniques that can help control their stress and manage their workload. Having a diverse team can help reduce stress and help prevent burnout in healthcare workers because team members may find a sense of support and community in the diverse makeup of an organization.
Diverse teams are more likely to have members who experience stress and burnout at a lower rate than those who are predominantly white or primarily non-BME. Furthermore, employers can support their diverse teams by creating supportive work environments, implementing flexible work policies, and providing regular mindfulness and stress reduction training.
Better decision-making abilities
The ability to make sound decisions is crucial in virtually any workplace. When employees make better decisions, they can improve the efficiency of their work, making more aggressive goals and increasing productivity. Having a diverse workforce can help to improve decision-making abilities within healthcare organizations by making more diverse teams more aware of their biases.
As they learn to be more aware of their biases, they can help to make more diverse decisions that reflect the needs and voices of all employees. This can help to reduce biases that could negatively impact the healthcare organization’s decision-making abilities and improve the overall organization’s productivity.
Improved workforce productivity
Every employee brings a unique set of skills and expertise to the table. However, it’s often important for healthcare organizations to retain their most experienced employees, as well as new members who bring new skills and expertise to the table. A diverse workforce can help healthcare organizations retain their most experienced members and encourage new employees to stay at the organization by providing a more welcoming environment.
In addition to retaining experienced employees, a more inclusive team is more likely to encourage new employees to stay at the organization by providing them with a more inclusive and welcoming work environment.
Enhanced cultural awareness and inclusive communication
A diverse team can help healthcare organizations to be more culturally aware. When team members are more culturally aware, they can be better equipped to recognize and respond to the diverse needs and experiences of their diverse colleagues. When team members are more aware of their own biases, they can be better equipped to recognize the biases of their colleagues and strive to eliminate them.
A diverse team can also help to build a culture of inclusive communication, where team members understand that their words and actions matter and work towards eliminating microaggressions and other forms of harmful communication.
Diversity isn’t just about hiring more people from different backgrounds; it’s about creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and included. This can be achieved through better recruitment practices, inclusive workspace design, flexible work arrangements for staff members, and encouraging employees to take on leadership roles. By doing these four things, you can increase the diversity of your staff without sacrificing the quality or innovation of their work. The best part? It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to make these changes, so they can easily become part of your corporate culture. Also checkout our other article on best 10 Tips on choosing the right hospital for your treatment!