diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Do your hiring managers keep diversity & inclusion in mind while recruiting?

Does your organization have a healthy mix of male & female populations?

Do you have a healthy representation of employees belonging to different ethnicities, colors, etc.?

These are a few questions that help identify the diversity and inclusion scenario in your workplace.

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace have become prominent aspects of the corporate world. It continues to gain weightage for the value it brings along – elevated productivity, healthier work culture, greater employee engagement, and much more.

Companies that encourage D&I (diversity & inclusion) gain a competitive edge and outperform vis à vis their industry peers.

A study by McKinsey showed that companies with greater ethnic & racial diversity among staff performance 35% better than companies whose staff demographics matched the national average. Also, companies with greater gender diversity performed 15% better than companies with less gender diversity.

What is workplace diversity & inclusion?

Let’s first understand the aspect of “diversity & inclusion” a little better.

Workplace Diversity is the variety of differences among individuals working in an organization. These differences can be of race, gender, ethnic groups, age, language, cultural background, education, religion, sexual orientation, mental and physical conditions.

Inclusion is about everyone, irrespective of their backgrounds feeling involved, valued, respected, equal, and aligned with their organization. 

A diverse & inclusive workplace is one that employs a wide range of individuals belonging to varied backgrounds and values them as equals.

Why diversity & inclusion?

According to Great Place to Work, when employees trust that they, & their colleagues will be treated fairly regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or age, they are –

  • 9.8 times more likely to look forward to going to their workplace
  • 6.3 times more likely to take pride in their work
  • 5.4 times more likely to want to stay longer at their company

Let’s look at a few benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace:

1. Rich Talent Pool

Expanding your employee base to bring aboard candidates from diverse backgrounds widens your talent pool and increases your chances of finding the right hires. By eliminating bias in hiring, organizations ensure promising candidates are selected irrespective of their gender, skin color, etc.

Diversity in the workforce is like a melting pot of expertise and experience. Employees from different backgrounds also bring along a variety of skills and competencies with them. This proves to be a crucial asset when it comes to handling dynamic business challenges & thriving in uncertainty.

2. Elevated Performance

D&I brings with it better prospects for an organization’s overall performance. Performance is directly related to the productivity, competence, and expertise of both the employees and employers. People from different cultural backgrounds bring their unique skills, talents, and abilities to the table.

Moreover, when employees with different backgrounds work together, they are better placed to make informed and inclusive decisions. Workplace diversity & inclusion fosters open communication, efficient problem solving, improved teamwork and better decision making, all leading to elevated performance levels.

McKinsey & Company conducted a study that found companies with high racial and ethnic diversity among their employees outperformed their counterpart companies by 33%.

3. Greater Adaptability & Innovation

A greater variety of talent and experiences enable businesses to have higher resilience towards the ever-changing markets. A diverse workforce helps an organization bring creativity & innovation into business. Better innovation means more effective planning and execution of business strategies.

Diversity & inclusion brings along a more comprehensive approach and enables unique thinking. When your diverse workforce feels included, valued & empowered, they are more productive, innovative, and adaptive.

Josh Bersin’s research states that inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market.

4. Stronger Reputation

A company that aims at promoting diversity & inclusion is viewed as progressive & socially responsible. Such a workplace is recognized as one that follows fair and inclusive employment practices and an ethical code of conduct.

This helps an organization build a stronger reputation. Moreover, if an organization represents a diverse workforce, it’s easier for people to relate & identify with it as a brand, thus opening avenues for new markets, customers, and business partners.

5. Greater Trust & Employee Engagement

It’s no brainer that when employees feel a part of the organization, they’re more engaged & highly engaged employees are willing to go the extra mile for their organization. People working in a diverse and inclusive work environment:

  • Enjoy work more.
  • Are more at ease & trust one another more.
  • Generate respect for one another.
  • Enjoy healthier interpersonal relationships.

With D&I comes greater team cohesion, lesser favoritism, better employee representation and all this leads to elevated employee morale, trust, and engagement.

When companies support D&I initiatives, a whopping 83 percent of millennials are actively engaged in their work (Glassdoor).

Nurturing diversity & inclusion in the workplace

Here are a few quick takeaways on how leaders can build & promote a heterogeneous, open, conflict-less, and inclusive work culture:

  1. D&I is not to be looked after by HR alone; commitment towards it needs to come from the top.  Leaders should take up the responsibility for endorsing a diverse & tolerant environment.
  1. Rules, policies, and procedures should be communicated in a way that overcomes language and cultural barriers of all kinds. Make your communication system as inclusive as possible.
  1. D&I should be integral to all business affairs – recruitment, performance management, training, etc.
  1. Employee networks (D&I torch-bearers, resource groups, or outreach groups) should be built to bring employees together.
  1. Embrace the difference! Employees should be encouraged to express their opinions, suggestions, and concerns. Run an employee engagement survey or a culture survey to better understand how employees feel about working with you and what are the issues they may be facing.

Conclusion

In today’s globalized & interdependent world, diversity & inclusion is imperative that impacts a company’s bottom line. Companies that create diverse and inclusive work environments are more, creative, agile, and successful.

Sustainable business outcomes today depend on an organization’s ability to attract and engage a highly diverse workforce.

By Garima Sharma

Lead – Talent Assessments & Employee Engagement at GreenThumbs.

Garima Sharma is a subject matter expert for Personality Assessments, Talent Management, 360 Degree Appraisals, Employee Engagement, Feedback Surveys, etc. She is also a blogger who loves to write articles, posts, whitepapers, etc. in the HR space.

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