What does it mean to have a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce?
Diversity and inclusion are two different, but interconnected, concepts. In this context, diversity refers to the representation of different kinds of people within the workplace, and inclusion refers to how well the contributions of different groups of people are integrated into the work environment.
A diverse and inclusive workplace will understand and respect the varying needs and perspectives of everyone in their workforce, regardless of gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation, and identity. An inclusive and diverse workforce can be maintained along with a positive work environment by conducting regular employee surveys using an omnichannel survey software.
Why is it Important to Focus on Diversity and Inclusion?
Companies that have a diverse and inclusive workforce enjoy many advantages, including:
When people of various cultures and backgrounds work together, there is scope for increased creativity due to varying perspectives. Research published by the Harvard Business Review shows that companies with management teams that have gender diversity enjoy a 2.5% increase in innovation revenue, and companies with diversity across six dimensions (industry, career path, gender, migration, age, and education), enjoy a 19% increase in innovation revenue.
Improved Cultural Awareness
Companies that have a diverse range of cultures will have a workforce that has higher cultural awareness. This helps companies be better equipped when dealing with different nuances within the global marketplace.
Improved Brand Image
Companies that are known to be diverse and inclusive often have a good brand image and a positive reputation in people’s minds. These companies are perceived as better employers as they are accepting and tolerant, and they treat people equally regardless of the background they’ve come from.
Another Harvard Business Review post states that “When we have a strong, homogeneous culture, we stifle the natural cognitive diversity in groups through the pressure to conform.” A workplace culture that embraces diversity will have a less frightened and stressed workforce and makes employees feel appreciated and included. This will have a positive effect on employee decision-making and overall performance.
Ways in which Diversity and Inclusion can be Integrated into Workplace Culture
Now that we’ve understood the importance of diversity and inclusion within the workplace, let’s explore the different ways in which companies can integrate it within their workplace:
Evaluate your Executive Team
Your company’s executive team speaks volumes about the workplace culture and the makeup of your top management is likely to be reflective of the rest of your workforce. Therefore, it is important to have a diverse top management team, in regard to ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and more.
Embrace Different Religious and Cultural Practices
In order to create an inclusive work environment, you should acknowledge and honour different religious and cultural practices. This can be done, for instance, by giving employees holidays on different cultural/religious celebrations or having potlucks where employees are encouraged to carry a dish from their cultural cuisine.
Educate Managers about Inclusion
An organization’s managers play a pivotal role in shaping workplace culture as they act as a bridge between the employees and management. Therefore, to embrace inclusivity within the workplace, managers must be educated about it and must understand how to handle a diverse workforce.
Respect Gender Pronouns
Inclusion encompasses respecting people’s preferred gender pronouns (PGP). Therefore, you must make your company “pronoun-friendly”. This can be done in a number of ways such as by asking other employees about their PGPs during initial interactions.
Start a Conversation about the Gender Wage Gap
Gender wage equity is a crucial aspect of inclusivity within the workplace and therefore it is important to be transparent with employees in this aspect in order to build trust. You can do so by addressing any potential wage disparities or even revealing company data regarding compensation.