There is a growing demand among employees, job seekers, and consumers to work for and with companies that show a commitment to cultivating a diverse culture. Organizations who put in the effort to build this inclusive workforce experience measurable benefits in increased talent pools, greater productivity, and higher profitability.
More and more, employees are looking for careers that align with their personal beliefs. That means working for companies that give diversity more than lip service. In order to bring their authentic best selves to positions, they need to feel that companies are authentic in their commitment to fostering a supportive, diverse work environment.
Creating this culture starts with supporting four major components:
This refers to the unique qualities and characteristics that make each person or group different from one another. These characteristics can include, but are not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, and abilities.
When you have a diverse group of people with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, you can tap into their unique ideas and insights, which can lead to more innovation and creativity and a greater variety of problem-solving approaches.
Employees who can relate to your customers' backgrounds and experiences are more likely to understand their needs and preferences and create products and services that meet these needs. Without that real world experience with different customer backgrounds, these needs could go unaddressed, potentially missing out on important opportunities.
You can increase diversity in hiring practices by:
Hiring practices alone do not ensure a lasting and effective diverse workforce. To hold onto employees, there also needs to be…
Equity ensures that each person has the same opportunities to succeed in an organization. Though they sound alike, this isn’t the same as “equality.” Equality means that everyone is treated the same regardless of their situation. For example, equality in onboarding could have a hearing person and a deaf person given the same training, even though the training is apt to be much less helpful to one of the learners.
According to Gallup, equity means “…fair treatment, access and advancement for each person in an organization. This definition considers the historical and sociopolitical factors that affect opportunities and experiences so that policies, procedures and systems can help meet people's unique needs without one person or group having an unfair advantage over another.”
Ideas for ensuring equity include:
A company that commits to equity allows each individual to feel respected, which is essential to employee longevity, as is…
Inclusion means making a committed effort to ensure that diverse individuals feel welcome to participate in all aspects of organizational work, including decision-making processes. This means soliciting, listening to, and showing respect for people’s ideas and experiences.
Some examples of inclusion include: amplifying diverse voices, providing a sense of physical and psychological safety for all employees, celebrating diverse holidays, and providing training to help employees understand and appreciate differences in culture, race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation.
A sense of belonging grows naturally from inclusion. Belonging means feeling connected to a group, valued, and accepted for who you are. It's about feeling like you are part of something larger than yourself and that you have a role to play. You can foster a sense of belonging by:
To break down the four components:
Diversity means having people with a variety of characteristics and backgrounds working at the organization. Equity ensures people have the same possibility to learn, grow and succeed. Inclusion means putting measures into place to ensure everyone feels welcome and involved, and Belonging is the feeling that comes when inclusion measures are successful.
According to an analysis of F500 manufacturing companies conducted by Deloitte, “companies fostering diversity and building inclusive environments are more likely to have stronger financial performance.” The benefits included: 30% higher customer satisfaction, 34% improved financial performance, 39% improvement in innovation, 46% increase in competitive advantage in the industry, and a 53% increase in productivity. It’s also the right thing to do.
The path to creating a culture that supports DEIB is complex and starts from the top down. When executive level leadership is committed to fostering an inclusive environment, it makes it easier and much more likely for the rest of the company to follow suit. Solicit outside help, and be prepared to learn from some mistakes along the way. Aim for progress, not perfection.
The goal is to create a workplace that is welcoming to all. Promoting DEIB creates an environment that celebrates differences, fosters development and growth, and helps both employees and organizations thrive.