Inclusion and diversity have become hot topics in the workplace for a while now. It’s something that most companies are trying to achieve because of the overall benefits that come with having a diverse workforce.
A company that fails to be inclusive risks losing a lot, including good employees. Employees who feel less included may abandon their career paths in search of another company that’s more inclusive.
People seeking out careers consider a diverse workplace as something they look for.
Consumers are also less likely to buy products or give businesses a chance if they don’t feel that the company’s interested in including them.
Nowadays, more companies are seeing the value of having a diverse and inclusive workforce and are looking to create and implement strategies to attain this.
In this article, we’ll talk about what inclusion and diversity are. We’ll also discuss what steps we can take towards becoming a company that’s committed to promoting them.
What Workplace Diversity Means
Diversity in the workplace is when a company’s composed of employees with varying characteristics and backgrounds. This can be divided into two categories, namely: visible and invisible diversity traits.
When we say visible traits, these are factors that can be seen, including but not limited to a person’s gender, age, physical abilities, disabilities, and body type. More and more companies are looking beyond these traits when it comes to their hiring process.
Invisible traits, as the name suggests, are factors that are not seen by the naked eye. Examples of these are sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, and talents, among other things.
It’s these traits that have prevented people from seeking employment due to past policies or attitudes from employers that weren’t open to having employees with different backgrounds or lifestyles in their work force.
What Being Inclusive Means
Inclusion is defined by the Society of Human Resource Management as a work environment’s achievement where all individuals are treated fairly regardless of these physical and invisible factors.
Inclusion also means that employees all get equal and fair access to a company’s resources and opportunities while at the same time contributing to the organization’s success.
Studies have shown that diversity in the workplace isn’t just another trend — it’s been proven to be good for business. When companies hire people from different backgrounds, they reflect the diversity of the world we live in.
They also provide opportunities to people who would have otherwise been overlooked for a number of factors, including but not limited to their gender, race, sexuality, or socio-economic status.
Introducing Diversity and Being Inclusive Can Benefit Your Company
In a society and market where everything is connected globally, diversity is becoming a necessity in the workplace. In order to reach the global community, a company needs a diversified workforce.
A diverse workplace is better equipped at understanding what people from different walks of life want. It is also better equipped to come up with solutions and strategies that appeal to people from varied backgrounds.
According to a research conducted by McKinsey & Company, a global management company, businesses with racially and ethnically diverse workforces outperform industry norms by 53%.
Some of the commonly cited benefits of workplace diversity include the following:
1. It provides different perspectives and problem solving strategies.
Employees from different backgrounds can provide insight and perspectives to make company products apply to the global market.
Companies with diversified workplaces have an edge over those that don’t have diverse employees.
Researchers have found that decisions and solutions created by employees of different backgrounds are more well-informed than those coming from companies with less diverse pools of employees.
2. It improves a company’s reputation.
Companies that are dedicated to making diversity in the workplace a norm are seen as more humane and socially responsible. It also makes the company look more interesting.
3. It leads to better hiring results.
In a survey by Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers view workplace diversity as an important factor when considering job offers. The same survey says that 57% of employees think their companies should be diversified.
4. It increases a company’s profits.
McKinsey’s research also shows the direct link between diverse workforces and a company’s profit.
Companies with diversified workforces were shown to be better financial performers, as they make better decisions faster. As a result, these companies achieved better business results and benefits.
5. It improves employee engagement.
A research conducted by Deloitte that captured the views and experiences of employees in three large Australian businesses revealed that diversity plays a part in how likely an employee stays in a company.
Specifically, they found that when a company leverages diversity and inclusion, it leads to higher employee engagement.
It reduces employee turnover. If employees feel included in company policies and the workplace, they are more engaged and are willing to come up with more creative decisions.
What Policies Can Be Adapted to Make Everyone Feel Included
In maintaining a diverse workplace, companies are responsible for creating policies and strategies that ensure no one is overlooked. It isn’t good for your business if certain voices start to feel ignored, talked over, or passed up for promotions time and again.
For example, implementing a policy that includes equal pay for women, regardless of whether they identify as transwomen or otherwise, makes sure one voice isn’t heard over the other.
In the hiring process, employers should seek out new talent from diverse talent pools. Recruiting teams should also be diversified to provide more insight on diversity issues that some people would overlook.
Interviewers should be trained to be more sensitive or aware towards diversity issues that may come up in the workplace.
New and current employees can be oriented on how to coexist with other employees from different backgrounds to avoid developing a toxic work culture where a group feels separated from the rest.
Companies should also implement policies to protect their employees from harassment, both from people inside and outside of work.
In a world where people still strive to accept others regardless of gender, sexuality, race, or religion, businesses have the added responsibility to also protect their employees.
In the event that it happens, managers and employers should be engaged in preventing it from happening again by educating their employees to respect their coworkers’ different backgrounds.
While creating an inclusive environment doesn’t happen overnight, businesses can develop and maintain policies that embrace their employees’ differences and open equal opportunities for all of them.
Why Inclusion and Diversity Matter in the Workplace — And Why it’s Good for Business
It’s important to try to set inclusion and diversity as the standard in your workplace. Not only do they provide a gateway for your brand to branch out to new markets, customers, and business partners, it also leads to better decisions overall.
Diversity in the workplace significantly creates more opportunities for people who are overlooked, for reasons beyond their control, to share their ideas. It provides an avenue for people with a range of skills and life experiences to work together.
It’s only through sincerity and persistence that a business can create a workforce that’s truly diverse and inclusive. As an add-on, businesses are able to get the benefits these work forces have to offer.