Women of the Flooring Business

It pays to embrace diversity in business

The effects of the pandemic continue to change our lives as we navigate what’s called “the new normal.” While there is no predetermined route to your success in an ever-changing world, there are things you can do to put yourself on the path to prosper. A good place to start is to welcome diversity, equality and inclusivity in your business. According to a Deloitte survey, 83% of Millennials reported higher levels of engagement when they believed their company fostered an inclusive culture.

For several years I have been working with the Women of the Flooring Business group, an all-female cast of business owners who discuss issues such as diversity, equality and inclusivity often and at considerable length. To be clear, the issues of diversity, equality and inclusivity are not just about women; it’s about embracing a world where—despite our ethnic, gender and socio-economic distinctions—we are more often alike than different.

These days, if a business is to find new partnerships and create unique selling propositions, they will have to be open to hiring creative people who come from different backgrounds and experiences and bring new ideas. As a business, it’s all about enhancing your strongest assets—your employees.

In the past, business owners looked to hire people who were very much like them—or their target customers. In today’s workplace environment, the businesses that generally thrive focus on expanding their workforce to include a broad range of employees that enrichen the workplace experience. 

Encouraging diversity, equality and inclusivity should be a priority for any business—especially businesses like retail where the makeup of consumers and employees alike can vary widely. 

So, how can business owners incorporate more diversity, equality and inclusivity in their day-to-day operations? Some useful tidbits: 

  • Educate managers in diversity and help them understand the differences between employees and how they think. Build training programs that focus on these differences and help employees deal not only with each other but with customers as well. 
  • Review the diverse groups in your business and train on “hidden” and “not-so-hidden” biases. For example, “I’ve heard older workers can’t learn software,” or “Millennials are lazy.” These are harmful stereotypes that can cause fissures in your workforce if left unchecked. Having discussions on different age groups and what they value will help dispel these misperceptions and produce a more amiable workplace. 
  • One simple way to promote diversity is to acknowledge holidays of all cultures in your business and have employees talk about how they are celebrated and what the holidays mean. Every year I hold a party on December 25 to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. My friends were very appreciative and enjoyed learning from other cultures. 

To learn more about how you can deal with issues like diversity in the workplace, come sit in on my presentation, “What Diversity Can Do To Grow Your Business,” at Surfaces 2023 in Las Vegas, which takes place Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

Republished with permission from Floor Covering News