Diversity is the practice of including folks from all different backgrounds and identities to contribute to an organization. Diversity is valuable in any industry, but its importance in healthcare can’t be overstated. Studies have shown that diversity is better for both employees and patients. Among staff, it can lead to better communication, innovation, and higher retention; in patients, it increases trust in providers and improves care for marginalized groups.
Here are 5 ways to build a more diverse healthcare organization:
1. Understand your starting point.
Gather feedback from employees or bring in an outside contractor to assess your company’s current diversity efforts. You can use surveys or focus groups to get a better idea of where you need to improve. Establishing this baseline will help you develop a more effective approach from the get-go.
2. Encourage diverse applicants.
Consider how you could expand your recruitment efforts to reach a more diverse population. Talk to your hiring team about the possibility of changing your marketing tactics to make your job listings more accessible. For example, you may want to list job descriptions in different languages.
3. Address bias immediately.
Many times, employees who experience discrimination don’t come forward because they’re scared of punishment or retaliation. It’s important to create a safe space for workers to report negative experiences and trust that issues will be handled quickly and carefully.
4. Measure success.
It’s not enough to try to promote diversity in your facility – you also need specific, measurable goals to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Choose two or three goals to work towards over a set period of time and track your progress. For example, you may want to aim for a certain number of trainings per year or a higher approval rating among staff.
5. Get leadership on board.
To create lasting change, you need the full support of executive leaders. They can advocate for diversity from the top down and set the tone for the rest of the company. Consider holding monthly meetings to discuss diversity efforts and keep them updated on your company’s progress.
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