On June 25, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order setting forth federal strategies to strengthen and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.1 The goal of this order, in part, was to use the federal government as a model for other businesses and organizations to follow when creating workplaces that treat all employees with dignity and respect.
While some research indicates that many organizations recognize the importance of this type of work environment,2 others suggest that there’s still a long way to go in that four in five companies “are just going through the motions and not holding themselves accountable.”3
At Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA), we are committed to supporting and actively promoting diversity in our workplace. We encourage our healthcare employer partners to do the same, especially since there are many benefits of a diverse healthcare environment. We’ll talk about those, but first, it’s important to get clear about what diversity is.
The U.S. Department of Labor indicates that diversity is a term used to refer to “the infinite range of individuals’ unique attributes and experiences such as ethnicity, gender, age, and disability.”4
Some contend that several more attributes belong on this list, stating that diversity also includes considering people with differences in:5
- sexual identity
- socioeconomic background
- military experience
- learning style
- education level
- geographic background
- marital status
- caretaker status
Deciding how your healthcare organization defines diversity is important as it can help you better understand areas where you may be strong in this concept, and also identify attributes and experiences that you may be lacking or deficient in within your workplace culture.
Five Benefits of Diversity in Healthcare
The benefits of a diverse healthcare environment are many. Here are five to consider.
#1: Increased productivity and performance
Numerous studies have connected diverse work environments with greater productivity and higher levels of performance.5 Greater productivity means that more work gets done in less time. Higher levels of performance can make it easier for your organization to meet its objectives and achieve its mission.
#2: A more inclusive work environment
Diversity and inclusion often go together. Why? Some suggest that while diversity refers to how individuals are different, inclusion is about the actions that can be taken to understand and embrace these differences in a way that all people feel included – which also helps them feel welcome, valued, and supported.6
#3: Improved recruitment and retention
A 2020 Glassdoor survey found that 76% of job searchers think that diversity is an important factor when evaluating potential employers.7 Plus, if you’re willing to hire more diverse job applicants, this can increase your pool of potential talent. Diversity has even been linked to greater employee retention, with one study finding that healthcare organizations that don’t prioritize diversity are at risk of losing double the employees compared to those that do.8
#4: Can better serve diverse patient populations
People from all backgrounds seek healthcare at one time or another. When minority patients get this care from professionals of the same race or ethnicity, it can improve their medication adherence, increase their willingness to consent to preventive services, and even affect their treatment decisions.9 Thus, having access to a more diverse healthcare team may improve patient outcomes.
#5: Greater access to different perspectives and ideas
When you have a diverse team of healthcare employees, you’re able to draw from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences. This can make it easier to come up with new ideas or find new ways to solve problems. Pulling different minds together can also increase innovation, which helps foster adaptability and growth while helping set you apart from your competition.10
How to Promote Diversity in Healthcare Workplaces
Since a diverse healthcare workforce provides benefits such as these, the next question employers may have is how to promote diversity in their workplaces.
According to data collected by Paradigm, a company that helps businesses create and manage their diversity efforts, this type of strategy includes:11
- Analyzing data your organization may already be collecting in terms of employee hiring, retention, and promotion to recognize whether any diversity issues may exist, such as if certain demographics are represented in lower-level positions but not in managerial roles
- Establishing a leadership-level diversity position within your organization, such as a Chief Diversity Officer, and giving them the authority to develop and implement diversity efforts within the workplace
UMA: Your Partners in Diversity Development
If you’d like to talk about various ways that you can increase diversity in your healthcare organization, give us a call. We’d be glad to discuss some of the efforts we’ve made at UMA and the positive effects they’ve had. We’re also here to help you brainstorm diversity initiatives.
Just let us know what you need and we’ll work together to find solutions because diversity in healthcare is important for everyone involved.
1 The White House. Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/06/25/executive-order-on-diversity-equity-inclusion-and-accessibility-in-the-federal-workforce/
2 WorldatWork. More Than 80% of Organizations Have Taken Action on DEI Initiatives in 2021. https://worldatwork.org/about/press-room/more-than-80-percent-of-organizations-have-taken-action-on-dei-initiatives-in-2021
3 Bersin J. Elevating Equity: The Real Story of Diversity and Inclusion. https://ss-usa.s3.amazonaws.com/c/308463326/media/27436024f0b84dfd274918375735238/202102%20-%20DEI%20Report.pdf
4 U.S. Department of Labor. Office of Disability Employment Policy: Diversity and Inclusion. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/odep/program-areas/employers/diversity-inclusion
5 Servaes S, Choudhury P, Parikh A. What is Diversity? Pediatric Radiology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8962281/
6 Espinoza E. OPINION: Diversity Must Go Hand-in-Hand with Equity and Inclusion. Thomas Reuters Foundation. https://news.trust.org/item/20220207143104-ro8it/
7 Glassdoor. Glassdoor’s Diversity and Inclusion Workplace Survey. https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/glassdoors-diversity-and-inclusion-workplace-survey/
8 Press Ganey. Press Ganey Study Uncovers Impact of Diversity and Equity on Retention. https://www.pressganey.com/news/press-ganey-study-uncovers-impact-of-diversity-and-equity-on-retention/
9 Huerto R. Minority Patients Benefit from Having Minority Doctors, But That’s a Hard Match to Make. University of Michigan, Michigan Medicine. https://www.michiganmedicine.org/health-lab/minority-patients-benefit-having-minority-doctors-thats-hard-match-make
10 Boyles M. Innovation in Business: What It Is & Why It’s So Important. Harvard Business School Online. https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/importance-of-innovation-in-business
11 Carter ER, Johnson N. To Sustain DEI Momentum, Companies Must Invest in 3 Areas. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2022/11/to-sustain-dei-momentum-companies-must-invest-in-3-areas