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Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: Why is it Important?

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Many employees often experience inequality because of their different backgrounds. This inequality manifests in several ways, such as the pay gap, limited opportunities, etc. 

Hence, embracing diversity and inclusion is very much needed in the workplace. 

According to Glassdoor, about two-thirds of job seekers are interested in working for companies that promote diverse workforces. 

Not only does it make employees feel safe, but implementing diversity and inclusion in the workplace can also improve the company’s overall performance. How so? Check this out.

What is diversity and inclusion?

Diversity in the workplace refers to the employment of a workforce composed of individuals of varying attributes, such as gender, religion, race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or education. It’s about understanding, accepting, and appreciating the differences that each member of the company has.

Meanwhile, a collaborative atmosphere that values inclusion in the workplace is one in which each person is given equal treatment and respect, has equal access to opportunities and resources, and can fully contribute to the company’s success.

Embracing diversity and inclusion in the workplace can transform an organization thoroughly. This is a fundamental change where everyone, regardless of background, still has the opportunity to develop and contribute their skills.

Not just a business strategy, these changes create a culture of mutual respect, where every voice is equally important.

Benefits of embracing D&I in the workplace

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As reported by LinkedIn, diverse and inclusive teams are over 35% more productive and make better decisions 87% of the time. Here are the reasons why: 

1. Fostering creativity and innovation

Coming from various backgrounds, each person’s way of thinking is different. Different perspectives lead to out-of-the-box ideas, creating innovative solutions to solve problems.

2. Enhancing employee engagement and satisfaction

Employees who feel included are more likely to be engaged and satisfied with their work. They feel valued for their unique contributions and are more likely to feel a sense of belonging and commitment to their organization.

3. Attracting and retaining top talent

Job seekers are drawn to inclusive and diverse workplaces. It indicates that everyone, regardless of background or identity, has an equal chance to succeed in the environment that the company is offering.

4. Expanding market reach and customer loyalty

Employees from diverse backgrounds can relate to the needs of customers with similar experiences, leading to the development of personalized products and services. This can expand the organization’s market reach and increase customer loyalty.

Challenges in implementing workplace diversity

Rolling out diversity and inclusion initiatives at work can be challenging sailing. These challenges can be complex and interconnected. For instance: 

1. Addressing unconscious bias

This involves hidden prejudices and stereotypes related to factors such as race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, ability, and age. These biases can influence decision-making processes within the workplace, potentially creating an environment that is not truly inclusive.

2. Ensuring equal opportunities for everyone

This is about ensuring everyone gets a fair shot at the same opportunities. Guaranteeing equal chances only partially involves giving the same resources to all. Instead, it’s about acknowledging and dealing with the different situations of each person.

3. Measuring and demonstrating ROI

The difficulty lies in capturing organizations’ current actions and offering insights to integrate D&I with business outcomes more effectively.

Here are some data to check how well your D&I practices are doing:

  • How fast people get hired, promoted, or move up in the company.
  • Plans for diverse employees to take on essential roles in the future.
  • How many diverse employees have people helping and guiding them.
  • How well these helpers and guides help diverse employees in their careers.
  • How engaged and happy are employees generally, and whether this changes based on race or gender.

Measure other essential aspects such as financial, brand reputation, stakeholder

experience, employee lifecycle, and so on. Gather the information from surveys. Once all the data is available, you can calculate the ROI much more effortless. 

Creating an inclusive workplace

diverse and inclusive work environment

Now that you understand the numerous advantages of fostering an inclusive work environment, it’s time to initiate the process. How can you get started?

1. Leadership Dedication

Leaders must be accessible and supportive in achieving D&I goals. Such dedication encourages employees to feel comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work. 

Diverse members of leadership teams also play a role in promoting inclusive leadership. 

Research from McKinsey shows that companies are 21% more likely to be more profitable when there’s greater gender diversity in executive positions.

2. Inclusive Recruitment and Hiring Practices

Consider candidates from different backgrounds and minimize biases that are unrelated to the job. To tackle unconscious bias when hiring, use HR software to automate the process.

Make sure job descriptions are welcoming to all potential applicants. Also, showcasing diversity in your company’s image can help you attract diverse candidates.

3. Advancing Inclusive Policies and Procedures

It’s about implementing systems that minimize bias and foster open communication, collaboration, and mutual respect. Ensure everyone can use all resources equally and be open to different ideas from team members.

For example, having prayer rooms, nursing rooms for new parents, and a safe workplace can make employees feel more confident in being themselves.

Strengthening organizational culture 

Once you successfully creating inclusivity at work, making it a vital part of your company’s culture is essential. It’s not just a formality to boost employee morale; it also increases productivity and contributes to the company’s overall success.

The company needs to integrate diversity and inclusion into the company culture by building a respectful and supportive work environment. This can be done by: 

1. Define your culture

Clarifying the values, behaviors, and everyday practices that represent your organization. When your culture is well-defined, it becomes the foundation upon which your organization’s identity is built, helping employees understand the essence of your company and how they fit into it. 

2. Diversity Training

This set of lessons teaches employees how to interact with people from different backgrounds, like cultures, ethnicities, races, languages, and more. It aims to boost awareness, enhance communication skills, promote tolerance, and improve teamwork. 

3. Employee Resource Group (ERG)

An ERG is a group of employees who volunteer to make their workplace more inclusive and diverse. They create a place for employees with common backgrounds to connect and support each other.

Conclusion

Numerous employees have the potential to make valuable contributions but face discrimination due to their underrepresented backgrounds. Hence, it’s essential to implement diversity and inclusion efforts to foster a positive and efficient workplace.

Over time, having a diverse workforce benefits the company and its employees, high-performing individuals, stakeholders, and customers. This leads to increased satisfaction and engagement with the company.

To promote diversity and inclusivity at work, consider utilizing a suitable digital solution. Mekari is one potential choice, automating all tasks and allowing you to dedicate more time to building a lasting D&I strategy.

References

McKinsey.”What is diversity, equity, and inclusion?
Pewresearch. “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace

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