Diversity and inclusion are two standard terms used by managers when asked about essential elements in a workplace.
According to Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), inclusiveness is “the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.”
The meaning of being inclusive varies from company to company. For some, it includes hiring and retaining a diverse pool of employees. For others, it involves having unconscious bias training or introducing employee resource groups.
Though the definition differs, the importance of diversity and inclusion remains. For organizations to ensure inclusion, they must establish a culture that embraces unique ideas, perspectives, and individuals. Surveying and hiring a diverse workforce is simply a portion of the equation; inclusiveness entails much more.
The Power of Inclusion
So why is an inclusive environment essential for organizations?
To answer this, we can look at Deloitte’s research on workplace diversity and inclusion. Their extensive study unveiled that diverse and inclusive teams often outperform other workers.
When organizations adopt inclusive strategies during hiring, promoting, development, leadership, and other standard functions, they generate nearly 30% greater revenue per employee — additionally, companies have higher profitability than their fellow competitors.
Diversity without inclusion is not enough. Both are interconnected, and without both them, an organization cannot reach its full potential.
Talking about diversity, hiring individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures can help bring fresh perspectives to the table.
Diversification, coupled with inclusiveness, encourages workers to feel like they belong in the organization. This feeling drives them to perform better and be more positively engaged in the organization.
The perception of discrimination/inequity within the company decreases, and workers are encouraged to be more motivated and committed. Additionally, inclusion can lead to high-grade problem-solving capabilities, enhanced team collaboration, productivity, and well-being.
How can you move towards becoming an inclusive workplace?
Cultural & diversity training
Managers must be encouraged to end unconscious bias amongst employees. To accomplish this, organizations can introduce cultural and diversity education programs.
With the assistance of informative cultural training and diversity workshops, both managers and employees can discover the value of inclusion.
Training programs can be educational, experiential, voluntary, mandatory, inspiring, etc. These initiatives strive to increase awareness, voice unspoken beliefs and develop a shared vocabulary to discuss inclusiveness on a day-to-day basis.
Training your workers to appreciate and understand diversity positively is the first step towards securing workplace inclusiveness.
However, such workshops are merely a scene-setter. Your organization’s system and strategies will also have to be altered to change employee and manager behavior.
Give Your Employees a voice
Most often, workers quit their jobs because they sense that their uniqueness is not appreciated or valued in the organization.
With a comprehensive feedback system, employees are presented with an opportunity to voice themselves effortlessly.
When employees feel like they have a voice of their own, they can share their perspectives and opinions more openly and comfortably.
Of course, workers will feel included when they are in an atmosphere wherein they can freely communicate and sense belongingness.
This freedom of expression encourages the organization not just to listen but also to welcome diverse perspectives.
Provide necessary resources
One way for managers to support groups’ diversity and inclusion is by providing resources that will boost their well-being and growth.
Employee resource groups and inclusive meetings can be a great starting point for those companies looking to foster an inclusive environment.
Meetings are a great example wherein participation from everyone can be encouraged. A few things organizations can do to secure inclusiveness during such sessions are as follows;
- Managers can distribute conference materials in advance, along with the questions to be discussed.
These resources are beneficial for those who perform better when given time to process information or those with specific language barriers.
- Especially valid during the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual participants’ of the meeting can enjoy an enhanced experience with the right technologies.
Managers must remember to recognize employees and empower them to participate in conversations.
- To ensure inclusiveness with employees in different time zones, managers can also fix meeting timings according to their convenience to confirm their attendance.
Celebrate Differences, Rethink Policies
With a diverse workforce, the need to honor different cultural and religious practices is necessary. Whether it means providing holidays for specific holidays or celebrating one’s culture, organizations must admire such differences with no hesitation.
Respecting workers’ backgrounds and traditions will also ensure they feel content and supported in the work environment, driving the organization to increase employee retention.
One of the most valuable ways to show employees respect their traditions and ensure inclusiveness is by inviting them to share their culture.
Some ways you can encourage inclusiveness at your workplace:
- Host potluck lunches for workers who can bring food that highlight their culture.
- Identify and celebrate significant days to other communities at your workplace.
- Inspire employees of different cultures to participate in the company’s decision-making process.
- Provide employees with opportunities to tell their story, and voice any organization discrimination.
Establish an effective communication channel
Practicing inclusion is not enough; you must have an environment that encourages open conversations.
Organizations can also introduce volunteering opportunities to support communities tolerating discrimination every day. Whether online or in-person, such powerful communication channels can make perspectives shift.
Diversity and inclusion remain the hot topic of discussion in organizations worldwide. A precise understanding of diversity and inclusion’s interconnectedness is essential to retain talented employees and broaden company appeal in distinct market segments.
Additional benefits of incorporating such strategies would include having unique perspectives, a wider talent pool, better employee performance and retention, better financial performance, etc.
Diversity and inclusion go hand-in-hand, and to ensure your company advances in the right direction, such strategies are significant.
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Associate Growth Manager
Prashant is Associate Growth Manager in PagarBook and manages all the organic web presence for brand.