Employee Retention Strategies for Diverse Workforces

November 15, 2022

2022 has arguably been a difficult year for employers. In June 2022, alone, 4 million people quit their jobs. But employers and business leaders don’t need to see these numbers to know that employee turnover is one of the biggest challenges organizations face today.

This kind of attrition has been happening since before the pandemic and the onset of The Great Resignation, especially for employees in underrepresented groups. 

In most cases, this happens because businesses hire for diversity without developing action plans to retain and advance those workers for the long term.

According to a recent survey, “50 percent of respondents said they had left or wanted to quit their tech or IT job because the company culture was unwelcoming, with 68 percent of respondents believing this was because of their gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background, or neurodevelopmental condition.”

Employee turnover can have serious negative consequences for both team morale and a business’s bottom line, so it’s critical to create employee engagement strategies to retain underrepresented staff. Here are a few proven strategies to improve talent retention from within these groups:

Prioritize Career Advancement

Let’s face it: nobody wants to stay in a dead-end job, and women and people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds tend to get passed over for promotions.

A company that provides actionable, inclusive opportunities for development creates an incentive for employees to see themselves in the future of the organization, which encourages them to stick around.

In fact, LinkedIn Learning’s Workplace Learning Report found that 94% of employees said they’d stay longer at a company that invested in their career!

Some ways you can prioritize career advancement include:

  • Providing individual career pathing with managers
  • Showcasing examples of promotions or diverse employees
  • Encouraging mentoring and sponsorship
  • Investing in learning and training opportunities

Create a Sense of Belonging

You wouldn’t stay at a job where you don’t feel like you belong, so why would you expect anyone else to do the same?

When underrepresented groups experience behaviours like bullying, microaggressions, and exclusion, they feel like they aren’t valued, which can cause them to leave.

The first step to creating an inclusive workplace is to take a look at what your employees actually experience at work, and then build awareness of any unconscious biases that might exist within the organization.

Once you’ve identified the problems, work to create a culture of honesty and of addressing challenges by having respectful, difficult conversations. These steps will build an environment of psychological safety:

  • Clearly address issues and share how they will be resolved
  • Create employee resource groups
  • Show commitment to inclusivity from all levels of management

Create Mentoring Programs

A study from the Wharton School of Business found that mentoring is an essential part of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) actions that managers can take to improve workplace culture.

Employee mentoring and sponsorship also help reduce burnout and help employees feel like the companies they work for are invested in their success and wellbeing. Some benefits to these programs include:

  • Positive emotional connections to the workplace and organizational goals
  • Feeling accepted and comfortable at work
  • Feeling heard and valued
  • Fairness within promotion processes
  • Increased overall job satisfaction

Embrace a Hybrid Workplace

Many employees have gotten used to working from home during the pandemic and aren’t interested in returning to a full-time office environment. 

In fact, a study from Citrix showed that 88% of respondents would look for a job that “offers complete flexibility in their hours and location.” A Future Forum survey found 97% of black workers want the future of the office to be remote or hybrid.

Embracing a hybrid work model shows that you respect your employee’s need for a healthy work/life balance, and that your organization is invested in keeping them happy and feeling respected and valued.

Improve Your Employee Retention Today

Attracting and retaining diverse and qualified candidates might be harder than ever, but by investing in leadership skills and understanding the principles of creating a workplace that prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), you can help your employees feel seen, heard, and valued so they continue to work for you for years to come.