Diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace let employers who value their employees' unique needs, perspectives, and potential outperform their competitors.
Posted on January 2023 By James Egremont
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is about much more than headcounts and policies. When implemented properly, it allows for different perspectives and experiences to enhance work culture as well as overall performance.
Embracing the varied backgrounds and unique traits of your employees can create a healthy workplace environment while adding a competitive advantage, ultimately driving businesses forward. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), companies with more inclusive work cultures and policies experience a 59% increase in innovation, along with a 62.6% increase in productivity and profitability.
These outcomes are important because economic conditions are changing quickly, and new business opportunities are continually arising. Still, many organisations need to do more to achieve a healthy balance of people from diverse backgrounds working for them.
Diversity refers to making space for all genders, races, and ethnicities – but it is also more than skin deep. The term also includes different cultures, backgrounds, and people who have varied life experiences. Diversity is about welcoming these differences within a secure, positive, and supportive environment. It entails going beyond simple tolerance, to ensure that people appreciate and value each other.
Inclusion is an organisational practice in which resources are made available for diverse employees to thrive in their work environment. In particular, it means providing opportunities for employees of all backgrounds to improve themselves professionally through learning, growth, and advancement. Many companies have diverse workforces without that diversity making itself apparent in the upper echelons of management. Policies that promote inclusion are intended to remedy that disparity.
Taken as a whole, the D&I initiative is the intentional and sustained effort to build a diverse workforce by tapping into the true potential of all employees while embracing differences in opinions, perspectives, and skill sets.
Today’s employees expect their leaders to foster supportive work environments that value their unique identities and viewpoints. One of the best places to begin improving a workplace is with existing managers and employees, by setting up a diversity and inclusion program to raise awareness and train staff.
Advantages of D&I in the workplace
A more diverse and inclusive workforce makes good business sense because it helps companies hire the best people and retain them. As they are given opportunities to succeed and made to feel welcome, these same employees will be more likely to perform well and produce high-quality work.
D&I significantly impacts business success in both the short and long term, as it can:
Foster teams that thrive in crises - A diverse workforce breeds creative output. In the current world of economic uncertainty, a diverse workforce can help solve complex problems and create new business opportunities.
Improve the company’s relationship with its customers - Your existing and potential customers come from different backgrounds. Having a diverse workforce can help you become better positioned to understand and serve customers with different needs, thereby driving your business forward.
Increase talent attraction and retention - People want to stay with companies that embrace who they are. By the same token, companies that aren’t committed to D&I will lose a huge portion of today’s workforce. Removing workplace biases can also improve efficiency from an HR perspective by reducing turnover. According to a Talos360 survey, 86% of HR professionals felt they had experienced bias in their careers, and a resounding 98% think a diverse recruitment strategy is essential.
Build strong teams and enhance collaboration - Diversity can help build stronger teams by bringing together people with different backgrounds but similar interests, skills and ideas. Diverse team-building leads to better collaboration when working together on projects or tasks. People from other departments within a company, like marketing or sales, will find it easier to collaborate since they have similar goals in mind when working on projects together instead of each focusing separately on their own individual tasks.
Improve productivity in the workplace - Diversity helps groups of employees come up with new and innovative ideas to help solve problems more efficiently, leading to better outcomes for businesses and employees alike. On average, inclusive workplaces are more productive and less stressful and have more engaged employees. They are also better for business because they respond to customer needs more effectively than non-inclusive workplaces.
Embracing the principles
D&I is gaining traction in the workplace because organizations are coming to realize that diversity is a strength. It represents an integral part of a healthy company's culture and identity, enabling an environment where all employees are given equal opportunities to thrive. Diversity training is, therefore, a necessary and valuable addition to any organization’s training program.
Diverse perspectives support better business practices because they encourage creative solutions and the ability to adapt. Diversity provides access to different ideas, experiences, and skills, which can help organizations succeed in the long run. A diverse workforce also allows for a more effective feedback process.
Inclusion is also important because it provides equality in the workplace – meaning that everyone has access to the same opportunities regardless of their gender, race, or any other differences. Companies with an inclusive workplace environment have lower turnover rates, enhanced employee engagement, and an increased probability of sustained growth and profitability. In these uncertain times, with companies learning to navigate the new normal, it is more important than ever to focus on building and nurturing a diverse workforce.
Connexus Global is a fast-growing organization that embraces a diverse workforce to better serve our clients. If your business is searching for diverse talent, we can help. Contact us today to get started.
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