Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is a concept of employing people from diverse backgrounds and providing a supportive, collaborative, and respectful environment that encourages and increases the participation of all employees. It is in such a way that the team reflects the society in which the organization operates and exists.
The term diversity includes all the factors and aspects that make an individual unique and different from each other. Diversity in workplaces can be further strengthened through inclusion. It is implemented by removing discrimination, intolerance, and barriers that can hinder people from feeling included and supported at workplaces.
Thus, there can be an immense number of such factors, which determines the diversity of a team, a difficult task. Most organizations and employers define diversity in terms of social categories such as age, race, gender, etc.
The concept of Diversity and Inclusion
In recent years, the concept of diversity and inclusion (D & I) in workplaces has gained attention and importance from organizations across the world. There are many reasons why the HR department of the companies is continuously making efforts to reaffirm diversity in their workplaces. As per a recent report by McKinsey, it was apparent that when a team or company has greater representation, the probability of outperformance of the team increases tremendously.
As per the Non-Discrimination Statement and Policy of the US Government, the government does not practice discrimination among people based on aspects that include race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, political affiliation, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, genetic information, military service, parental status, and other non-merit factors.
Thus, it is important for organizations in understanding, accepting, and recognizing differences between people based on their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation. It also includes giving value to the differences in education, personalities, experiences, knowledge bases, and skill sets of people.
Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion at Workplaces
When employees are included and more connected to the workplace, they tend to work harder, thereby producing better quality work. Adoption of the policy of D&I at workplaces has immensely affected the results, decision-making, and innovation of the companies.
It was found that companies that have more than 30% of women employees perform better than workplaces where the inclusion of women in a team lies between 10 to 30%. A similar trend was observed when ethnic and cultural diversity in workplaces was considered. The profitability of companies with a diverse team outperformed those which did not by 36%.
Here are some of the points that explain how diversity and inclusion at work can benefit the team and business.
Larger talent pool
Employing people from the same pool with the same educational background, experiences, and skills will create a state of stagnancy at the workplace. Increasing the outreach of the recruitment pool, based on various factors such as ethnicity, age, background, etc., can increase the chances of companies finding the best match for the position.
When hiring a more diverse group of people, the companies not only get more qualified applicants, they also get people who are more interested and motivated to work.
Better employee engagement
The more included an employee feels, the more engaged and invested in their work they will be. A higher employee engagement can increase the morale of the team and thus, enhance the profitability of the organization.
83% of millennials reported being actively engaged in their work when the company supports and practices diversity and inclusion policies at the workplace. This can also increase the trust between employers and employees. Recognizing the unique talent of each employee and rewarding them accordingly can enhance the self-esteem of the employees and create a much more inclusive workplace.
Room for innovation
With a diverse group, the percentage of innovative outcomes increases as well. A team that includes people with different backgrounds, career paths, industry, gender, education, age, origin, etc., is more innovative, thereby enhancing the company’s revenue directly.
A diverse team can identify the needs of different customers and how the services and products can be marketed to a targeted group of customers. The team also showcases highly-developed problem-solving skills acquired by their experiences and varied challenges.
Better revenue growth
Not only do diversity and inclusion practices ensure better employee engagement and upkeep of their mental health, but they also increase the revenue of a business by 19%. A McKinsey report notes that there is a 0.8% increase in the earnings of a company with every 10% increase in the ethnic and racial diversity in the senior executive team of the business.
How to create a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace?
Diversity and inclusion in workplaces have surpassed from being an HR trend to a business strategy to increase the revenue and profits of the company. With the help of the following practices, one can create a healthy environment at their work that supports diversity.
A sense of belonging
An employee must feel that they belong to the company and have active participation in the company’s progress. With a better connection with the organization, the employee will surely be more engaged with their work. When working on increasing the team’s diversity, one can also work on making the employees feel included. The process of diversifying the team and inculcating the sense of inclusion in employees is interconnected.
Every leader at the company needs to accept the concept of diversity and inclusion in the workplace to make the practices work effectively. The C-suite needs to understand and adept why diversity matters in the workplace and why including the employees affects the direct reports.
While understanding the importance of the subject, the leaders will create an empathetic outlook towards it. Empathy is necessary to help them identify the need and how feeling excluded can affect the employee’s performance.
Creating a quota is not enough
Creating quotas during the hiring process can increase the diversity at the workplace, but it will not affect the inclusivity of the environment. Diversity and inclusion are both interdependent on each other. Thus, the leaders need to make efforts on both these fronts for either of them to work.
The leaders not only need to realize the importance of diversifying their recruitment process but also ensuring that all the following processes, such as onboarding, team-building, performance reviews, succession planning, mentoring, etc., need to be modified to make the employees feel included.
They must create an environment and conditions that promote contribution from each person. The employees should feel secure and safe while putting efforts towards the growth of the company.
Inclusion is an ongoing process
Training the team and leaders on how to be inclusive is not a one-time event. The process requires behavioral changes, which will need continued progress. The ideas, skills, and beliefs need to be taught in the daily lives of employees for the diversity and inclusion practices to work efficiently.
These days, most employees have diversity and inclusion at workplaces as their top priority. Thus, companies need to invest in programs and practices that support diversity and inclusion at workplaces by providing a supportive environment when each employee can thrive and enhance the performance of the company.