No one can change age, race, gender, or sexual orientation. People are born and live with a different state of health, and it happens that it changes dramatically, and then the abilities and needs of a person change.
But the rights of every person – to work, education and communication, creativity, participation in the life of society – remain unchanged and equal for all. Out of this thought came the Diversity and Inclusion strategy.
Diversity and inclusion in business is a hot topic right now. There are diversity and inclusion awards and diversity and inclusion reviews, and many governments have introduced or strengthened diversity and equality legislation to promote equal opportunity in the workplace.
But why exactly should you promote diversity and inclusion in your company? To be honest, what does it give you?
Research shows that businesses with a more diverse workforce perform better on a range of measures, from more money to more innovative ideas.
What are diversity and inclusion?
Diversity includes the fundamental aspects of a person’s birth: age, gender, racial and ethnic origin, sexual orientation, physical and mental features, and limitations. As well as acquired: education, place of residence, social status, place of work, income, and much more.
Regarding inclusion in general, it is the principle of organising life in a society that allows all people (regardless of appearance, origin, gender, health status, etc.) to participate in its various aspects (everyday life, education, culture, and art).
Inclusion in business is how people feel at work. The company strives to create a corporate culture where employees can be themselves and show their abilities to the maximum. Employees are open-minded, free from bias and prejudice, flexible, and adaptive in an inclusive environment.
Therefore, diversity and inclusion culture has a positive effect on:
- personal level (involvement, motivation, job satisfaction);
- social level (innovation and creativity of teams);
- organisational level (company growth, profitability).
Diversity and inclusion practices are applied at different stages of an employee’s development in a company: recruitment, adaptation, development, evaluation, talent management, promotion/dismissal. And also in the daily communication of employees with each other and with customers.
Diversity and inclusion workplace benefits
Diverse points of view and ideas
A team with a wide range of cultural backgrounds, experiences, and thoughts is capable of a lot in developing innovative ideas and solving problems. A diverse and inclusive workforce is “more resourceful and productive” than a homogeneous workforce. An arsenal of more diverse experiences and ideas also increases the ability to solve problems and quickly find a way out of situations.
Increasing employees’ interest
Employees are more motivated to work when the company emphasises diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Staff retention level increase
Usually, motivated employees are more likely to stay with the company for a long time. This means that managing diversity can have a direct impact on retention rates. However, creating a diverse team is not enough; employees still need to feel like they are part of the process and understand that they are valued. That is, a good diversity management plan should include strategies for inclusion.
Better understanding of customers
Logically, if your team is heterogeneous and more like a variety of customers, you will better understand your customers due to your employees’ different points of view. Asking your employees for feedback and suggestions is a form of engagement that will make them feel appreciated.
Diversity management is a good thing. In addition, by putting diversity and inclusion at the forefront, you will reap tangible benefits, including increased profitability. Indeed, according to Forbes, companies with a more diverse workforce have 19% higher revenue.
It is worth focusing on managing diversity in the company. Let’s now look at a few diversity management strategies for maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Tips to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace
No program will be successful if it does not correspond to the realities of life. In other words, diversity management is not just a human resources policy that has been put in place to ensure that a company is seen as progressive and ethical. It is necessary to create a culture with the principles of inclusiveness and diversity, which both managers and ordinary employees support.
Build an inclusive company culture
The faster an entrepreneur adapts to social change, the more efficient the development of the business and the more loyal the team and consumers. From now on, it has become the norm to pay attention to the social responsibility of companies, their environmental friendliness, inclusiveness, and teamwork.
For business owners who have decided to work on improving their internal corporate culture and building an inclusive business, integrating different members into a team can be a challenge. Adapting to a team, adjusting working conditions, training, or mentoring takes time and energy, which not everyone can afford. But see it as an investment in a long-term development strategy. If you plan to work and grow your business for the next 5-10 years, this investment of time and resources now is a smart approach.
Adjust how you screen and search for talent
Identifying the right personality can be tough. Your business requires a specific set of skills, and finding people with those skills, who are willing to work, who live in the right place, and who also have the right personality and motivation to join your company is challenging.
Now imagine that you are eliminating half of the available talent. How much more difficult would it be to find the right people?
This is precisely what many companies do when hiring only men for critical positions. They cut their options even further when excluding people with disabilities, people of specific racial and ethnic backgrounds, etc. As Erika Rykun, Co-Founder of Booklyst, explained: “If compared to books, people can`t be equally talented as all the pieces of literature can`t be equally good. Otherwise, finding top talent in a homogeneous group of talents gets next to impossible.”
Set smart KPIs
It is best to calculate employee KPIs by combining several approaches. Ideally, both specific data and subjective evaluation by managers should be used. Each company must have its own personal evaluation system that considers the specifics of the market and the team.
You should test different options and choose the one that best suits the goals of your business and your team.
Measure the success and efficiency of your business and keep track of your team’s schedule with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), a handy metric for measuring success in a particular activity or in achieving specific goals.
Establish mentorship programs
Running a mentoring program at your company allows you to get the most out of your employees’ most important resources.
Intentionally developing their talents by introducing a mentor clarifies that management cares about their growth. Thus, they will reciprocate by being more productive and loyal.
Although it is difficult to provide training and retain experienced employees – with the right mentoring program – you will not only positively impact your retention rate, but you will also be great at training new employees so that they make a quality contribution to the development of the company, as well as their personal growth in the company.
Make your executive team involved and accountable
Involvement is a critical aspect of employee management and the central element in the growth and development of the company as a whole. The higher the involvement of employees, the happier they are.
Nowadays, the needs of the staff are not limited to increased salaries and the possibility of promotion. These now include work flexibility, telecommuting, and more. Closing these needs will allow subordinates to stay motivated and happy.
High employee involvement is directly related to their productivity. When an employee is genuinely motivated, they tend to work harder. Also, an increased involvement policy helps to reduce staff turnover. If employees are motivated and interested in the job, they are less likely to leave the company.
Welcome a multilingual workforce
A workforce made up of people with cultural diversity who can communicate in multiple languages is vital for organisations seeking to expand their national and international outreach. In this case, the company can count on the professionalism of such people.
After all, they can see situations from different points of view, think creatively, and can help with solving complex problems. This will undoubtedly lead to innovative solutions. Also, prioritising in favour of multitasking employees will help achieve a ripple effect.
And this, in turn, will positively impact recruitment and retention efforts, as well as any relationship and connection with a network of international suppliers, partners, and customers. All of them will see that the company is ready to meet them adequately.
Also, the company not only gets rid of the hassle of outsourcing but with a deep understanding of the business that a multilingual team already owns, you can save the time and resources needed to familiarise customers with the firm’s products and services.
Having its own language support will help any brand to establish itself as a trustworthy firm for international consumers. At the same time, the reputation of the organisation increases dramatically.
Encourage diversity thinking
One of the critical values of an inclusive culture is tolerance for different ways of thinking, psychological safety, respect for the authenticity of a person with an individual set of values, and the ability to openly express a point of view, including one that differs from the opinion of the majority.
More diverse teams tend to be more innovative and creative. When employees think their organisation is committed to and supportive of diversity and feel included, their ability to innovate increases.
New ideas emerge when people are confronted with different opinions and are forced to rethink their assumptions. If you want to be ahead of the curve, having a lot of employees who think the same way is not a good option.
Build a multigenerational workforce
Hiring employees of different ages in your team increases the company’s external brand and improve productivity. Young employees are accustomed to the rapid development of technology, understand innovation, and quickly adapt to changes.
More mature specialists have a good background in life. They can share experiences, make decisions, and take responsibility for them. It combines fresh, innovative ideas with wisdom and life experience that improves business performance and results.
Diversity in a generation means different perspectives, thoughts, and ideas that can be applied at work. The team’s exchange of opinions and ideas will allow you to create something entirely new, find a non-standard solution, and expand the range of knowledge and abilities to support innovation.
Offer DEI education and training
Managing a multicultural workplace effectively can be challenging. Different backgrounds, conflicting viewpoints, and generational differences can lead to unintentional misunderstandings within a team that then become an obstacle to innovation and success. Exploring diversity in small and large organisations is an excellent way for leaders and employees to overcome these divisions and promote healthy employee collaboration.
Through diversity education, workers can address intercultural awareness topics and teach unconscious biases and stereotypes. Diversity education also raises awareness of the importance of understanding ethnicity, culture, gender, race, perspectives, and experiences and how this can help eliminate discrimination.
Celebrate all religions and cultures
Introducing an inclusive culture into a company is essential to the success of diversity efforts and will positively impact employee engagement and performance. This can be done by focusing on holidays and celebrations.
Some companies give Christmas holidays or offer floating vacations to accommodate the religious preferences of all employees. The development of such a culture has a positive effect on all processes in the company: the more open and involved employees are, the higher their performance.
Also, the culture of diversity, equal opportunities, and inclusion of employees of various religions and cultures has a significant impact on the microclimate within the company, which, in turn, affects the psychological comfort of a person.
This article highlights ten good reasons to start increasing diversity in your workforce today.
But as we mentioned, achieving a more diverse workforce is more complicated than it looks. To get started, you need to be aware of the many different aspects of diversity – things like race and gender may come into play, but this also applies to age, sexual orientation, religion, disability, etc.
You may also need to make many changes to your hiring practices to appeal to people from more diverse backgrounds. Then you may need to seriously think about your workplace culture and make changes to make sure your new arrivals feel like welcome guests and will want to stay.
And don’t forget about your existing workforce, too: they may need more training or help to overcome any challenges that come with the changes you’re making.
About the Author
Tania Doshko is a motivated and avid content creator who believes in the power of quality writing for business success. She finds her inspiration in careful observations and amazement with the fastly developing world.