Diversity and inclusion in a workplace are more than just policies, programs, and headcounts.
Does your workplace have diversity in your recruiting process and in each of its departments?
Does your workplace have 50% female employees? And are any of them managers?
Overall, do you have a representation of employees of color and are they all in the same department?
These questions are telling examples that reveal true diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Diversity and inclusion are two interconnected concepts often used together but are far from interchangeable. Diversity is the representation and the make-up of an entity, whereas inclusion is about how well the contributions, presence, and perspectives of different groups of people are valued and integrated into an environment.
A workplace may have many different genders, races, nationalities, and sexual orientations and identities, but only the perspectives of certain groups are valued or carry any authority of influence. This may be an example of a diverse workplace, but it is not inclusive.
An inclusive workplace not only has the diversity of people present, but it has a diversity of people involved, empowered, and trusted by the business. A diverse and inclusive workplace is one that makes everyone, regardless of who they are and what their role is in the business, feel equally involved in and supported in all areas of the workplace.
Studies show that 79% of job seekers want to work somewhere that prioritizes diversity and inclusion. This includes hiring a more diverse workforce and helping employees of color advance through the ranks, giving them more decision-making power.
A diverse and inclusive workplace not only results in an increased ability to recruit a diverse talent pool, but they are 5.4 times more likely to retain employees as well. Top diverse and inclusive companies are 36% more profitable and gain 19% more revenue from innovation.
A workplace that is inclusive promotes innovation, creativity, and fresh perspectives. Everyone is listened to and given equal opportunities to engage in a productive group collaboration. This creates a safe and welcoming space to gain awareness, educate, integrate, and evolve.
Building a diverse and inclusive workplace requires commitment, structural transformations, along with cultural and behavior changes. To promote diversity and inclusion in your workspace:
Be aware of unconscious bias.
Understanding biases and building awareness is a first step towards real change. Managers may help employees understand how individuals are impacted by unconscious biases and what actions continue to reinforce biases. Encourage employees to review, question and analyze their own personal biases and assumptions.
Develop a strategic training program
Training helps employees understand how cultural difference can impact how people work and interact at work. It is important that managers clearly communicate to their associates why training is taking place, problems you are trying to solve and what comes next.
Facilitate ongoing feedback
Organizations can encourage their team to share their feedback of what a diverse and inclusive environment looks like to them. Through survey methods, facilitating feedback can help build a case to take immediate action on smaller, more pressing issues and inform long-term strategies. By doing this anonymously, employees are less pressured and more likely to initiate conversations and transparently communicate about how they are feeling.