Diversity And Inclusion At Work: The WHY
In this article, we will explore diversity and inclusion and how they factor into the workplace culture of a successful organization.
From a moral standpoint, most people see these values as advantageous and positive. But from a business perspective, there are quite tangible reasons to adopt them into your strategy. They can improve engagement, productivity, and improve on your metrics like retention and absenteeism, among other improvements.
According to a study by Salesforce (n = 1500), 80% of interviewees were found to believe that companies have a responsibility to go beyond profit to make an impact on society. Let’s discuss what that responsibility looks like, and how it can also bring a substantial ROI for your business.
Words carry weight. As you proceed on your journey to bring diversity and inclusion to the forefront of your business model, be mindful of the language you are using to discuss ideas and how you refer to certain topics and subject matter. Part of inclusion is understanding that there are diverse ways of addressing certain concepts, and your approach should be respectful and thoughtful. Let’s start by defining diversity and inclusion themselves.
…refers to a variety across a wide range of characteristics that your employees choose to represent themselves by. Some categorical concepts include Religion, Ethnicity, Gender, and Age, amongst many, many others. As a goal, diversity does not mean adopting hiring practices that diminish any group, nor aiming to have the MOST diverse workplace. Rather, an ideally diversified organization is a reflection of the community that it serves.
…refers to accepting and celebrating individuals as individuals. Equality does not necessarily mean that you treat everyone the same way and with the same cookie-cutter mentality. Respecting people’s differences is part of being inclusive, and acknowledging their individuality is another big one. inclusion is not simply tolerating differences, but valuing them.
The Values of Diversity
Just as you need a team of people with different skills to accomplish complex projects as a company, a team of people with differing qualities can give your organization the advantage of multiple perspectives.
The Center for American Progress completed a study that identified the top ten bottom-line benefits to organizations that take advantage of diversity in their workplace:
- A diverse workforce drives economic growth.
- A diverse workforce can capture a greater share of the consumer market.
- Recruiting from a diverse pool of candidates means a more qualified workforce.
- A diverse and inclusive workforce helps businesses avoid employee turnover costs.
- Diversity fosters a more creative and innovative workforce.
- Businesses need to adapt to our changing nation to be competitive in the economic market.
- Diversity is a key aspect of entrepreneurialism.
- Diversity in business ownership, particularly among women of color, is key to moving our economy forward.
- Diversity in the workplace is necessary to create a competitive economy in a globalized world.
- Diversity in the boardroom is needed to leverage a company’s full potential.
The Values of Inclusion
Inclusivity not only improves your business environment and the sense of ownership and involvement of your employees, but it can also promote greater customer interest and loyalty. As we mentioned, a diverse workplace reflects the people it serves, which allows for a sense of inclusivity to clients and the community.
The Impact of Equality and Values-Driven Business, a report provided by Salesforce, provides concrete statistics on the value to a business that promotes inclusion:
- Employees who feel their voice is heard at work are nearly five-times (4.6X) more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
- Employees who say their company provides equal opportunities are nearly four times (3.8X) more likely to say they are proud to work for their company.
- Employees who say they’re able to be their authentic self at work are nearly three times (2.8x) more likely to say they are proud to work for their company — and over four-times (4.4x) more likely to say they are empowered to perform their best work.
Diversity and inclusion concepts are already having legitimate real-world impact on organizations.
In a recent study by consulting firm McKinsey, research showed that companies that are more gender diverse are 21% more likely to outperform others; those that are ethnically diverse are 33% more likely to outperform others. McKinsey also found that $12 trillion can be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality, alone.
Equality in the workplace is typically defined as diversity plus inclusion. An organization that promotes equality stands to reap the rewards that the unique talents, skills, and perspectives its employees have to offer. Consider how you can begin to apply these concepts to your own company culture, and soon you can see the benefits for yourself.