Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is certainly not a new concept. But it is more important than ever.
According to Deloitte, 74% of millennials believe an organization is more innovative when it has a culture of inclusion, and 47% actively look for diversity and inclusion when choosing potential employers. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
A diverse and inclusive workforce is a significant competitive advantage for your business and can even be considered an asset.
But what does it mean to be an inclusive business?
A genuinely inclusive business understands the importance of diversity and inclusion as core values. It’s not just about having employees from different backgrounds—it’s about making sure those employees feel like they belong at your organization.
Inclusive businesses allow employees to be part of a company committed to creating a diverse, equitable, and welcoming environment. This can lead to increased employee engagement, better retention rates, more satisfied customers, and increased profitability.
This post explores the difference between diversity and inclusion and shares the top six benefits of prioritizing inclusivity in business.
What is inclusivity in business?
There are many ways to interpret this concept, but it means building a company accessible to everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other demographics.
In other words, it’s about creating workplaces and products where no one feels left out.
Internally inclusive businesses require a leader that helps ensure everyone in the workforce feels comfortable and heard.
Inclusive leaders possess specific qualities, including:
- Courage and humility
- Cultural intelligence
- Cognizance of bias
- Visible commitment
- Curiosity about others
- Effective collaboration
Establishing an inclusive business with a strong leader is no easy task. But the effort is undoubtedly worth it. More on that later.
How is inclusivity different from diversity?
Inclusivity and diversity are often used interchangeably. But there is a clear distinction between the two.
Inclusivity ensures everyone feels welcome in your business, while diversity is about hiring people from different backgrounds.
Companies try to be diverse without being inclusive, which doesn’t work. You need to make sure that everyone who works for you feels welcome—including their ability to be open about themselves and their ability to feel like they can be themselves every day when they work.
One of the benefits of remote work is that you can work with hundreds of people worldwide; they can be a marketer, virtual administrative assistant, or CFO. It doesn’t matter who they are, their culture, or their beliefs. They are all a part of your team and bring something unique to the table.
Inclusivity is about creating an environment where everyone has a voice, and diversity is about making sure that those voices are heard.
Why is belonging important?
A sense of belonging at work comes from working in an environment with psychological safety, where employees can be themselves without fear of judgment.
When employees feel a sense of belonging, they are comfortable voicing their opinions and suggesting new ideas. Their contributions are recognized and rewarded for their hard work, increasing employee satisfaction and output.
6 Benefits of Building an Inclusive Business
Investing in diversity and inclusion will help you create more effective, adaptive teams that can better recognize diversity as a competitive advantage for your business.
Let’s take a closer look.
1. Increase innovation and output
Creativity and innovation are the drivers of economic growth, and some of the world’s most innovative companies are also some of the most successful.
Inclusive businesses are more innovative than their peers—and this is a result of having diversity in their workforce.
Research by McKinsey shows that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same.
It’s not just that diverse companies are more likely to outperform competitors; they’re also 1.7 times as likely to be innovation leaders in their industries.
These statistics speak for themselves. From an operational standpoint, it is a no-brainer to invest in business inclusivity.
Who knows, your company might be the next Meta or Uber.
2. Reach a larger audience
A diverse audience is a large audience. And as a business owner, you want to reach as many people as possible.
So what does being inclusive have to do with your business strategy?
The short answer: everything.
Inclusion is the state of being welcoming and open to all people, regardless of their gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, religion, race, or ethnic origin. It’s about ensuring everyone feels welcome in your space—whether that space is physical or digital.
It also means being aware of how your customers may be impacted by discrimination based on race or gender identity when using your product or service—and making sure some policies protect against these issues.
Being inclusive comes down to three things:
- Knowing your customer base
- Understanding how your products and services impact the lives of people who use them
- Make sure that everyone has access to those products and services
In other words, make sure that your products are available to everyone by leveraging multicultural marketing strategies.
If you’re only marketing your products or service to people with certain physical characteristics or a specific socioeconomic status, you’re leaving out a significant portion of the population.
It doesn’t matter how much money you think your target market has or how many times they’ve bought from you before: if they can’t access what you have to offer, then they can’t buy from you. And if they can’t buy from you, then there’s no way for them to support your business.
3. Create more engaging and authentic content
It’s no secret that people want to see themselves in the content they consume. Creating more inclusive content means that you can make more engaging and authentic content,including the help of an AI writer, which is something everyone wants to see.
Your audience will feel like they’re a part of your brand when you include them in your marketing efforts and personalize your products or services according to their needs, maybe you can use a collage maker to showcase the best UCG content. They’ll feel like they’re a part of the community if your team members are diverse or you have events where people from different backgrounds can come together.
A diverse team is better at problem-solving and understanding customer needs. They’re also better at understanding the needs of different cultures, generations, and genders. If you don’t have a diverse team, you might miss out on some critical insights about your business and your users.
But it is important to remember that customer information is sensitive data and should not be shared with the public, or even with departments within the same organization. Thankfully AI tools and solutions like synthetic data generation can help protect first-party data while enabling enterprises to unlock it and make use of it by transforming it into synthetic data. Synthetic data copies allow companies to produce high-quality, personalized products and processes with all the value of the original customer data but without any privacy risk.
The last thing you want is a lawsuit on your hands.
4. Improve employee morale
In the workplace, there are a lot of different people with a lot of different backgrounds. The reality is that some of these differences will be visible, and some won’t.
In an inclusive business, employees feel valued and understand that their presence matters.
They also feel like they belong—that they are part of a team and not just another cog in the wheel. This sense of belonging helps employees feel like they can be themselves at work without fear or judgment from others.
Everyone needs to be able to express their individuality within the boundaries of professional conduct because this makes people more productive and creative at work.
In order to make sure your employees are engaged and happy in their roles, it’s important to ask them the right questions. By opening a space for dialogue with your employees, you provide them a platform to express their needs and individuality.
When people feel happy at work, it shows in their performance. According to BCG, working in an inclusive environment positively affects employees’ happiness levels, including making friends and improving work-life balance.
If you’re a business owner, this is an excellent opportunity to put your money where your mouth is. You can show that you care about the well-being of your employees by giving them the tools and support they need to succeed at work.
For instance, a complimentary gym membership that offers a wide variety of workout routines and mental health coaches will allow your employees, no matter their skill set or goals, to have inclusive and available resources for their well-being.
You can also create an environment that makes people feel valued and respected—and, in turn, make them want to stay with your company for longer.
Small gestures go a long way to help improve employee morale. None of these things happen overnight. But if done right, building an inclusive workplace can result in happier workers who enjoy coming to work every day—which means better performance from everyone involved.
5. Establish strong customer relationships
When you build inclusivity in business, your customers can trust that you’re committed to their needs. Personal experiences are crucial in today’s digital world. People want to be treated like a person and not just another number.
A diverse staff helps you create relationships with your customers that are more informed, more understanding, and ultimately more valuable. Hiring and nurturing a team of people of different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives gives you the best chance at building a product or service that meets everyone’s needs.
Operating with inclusivity is arguably the most critical factor in your business model if you own a service-based business that requires a lot of client trust. Having an inclusive team enables you to market your business from different perspectives. Employees with similar backgrounds as your target clients will positively impact your lead scoring and conversions.
For example, health care professionals, therapists, stock advisors, makeup artists, etc., must prioritize making their clients and customers feel safe and comfortable. Inclusivity is crucial for creating a positive customer experience and building trust.
Creating a deep connection with your customers is critical for long-term business success. Without inclusion, you don’t have a robust customer base. Without customers, you don’t have a business.
6. Increase profitability
We know that inclusive businesses are suitable for the economy, but did you know they’re also good for your bottom line?
That’s right. Inclusive businesses are more profitable than non-inclusive ones. In fact, according to research from the World Bank, Harvard Business School, and McKinsey, multiple studies show diverse companies perform better financially.
Who doesn’t love making more money while also being socially responsible? Talk about a win-win.
There is no shortage of benefits from creating inclusivity in business. Whether it’s attracting new talent, strengthening your company culture, or improving employee well-being, inclusivity helps businesses succeed in more diverse and meaningful ways than just the bottom line.
We encourage you to consider how your company could be more welcoming to people of all backgrounds and identities. Diversity isn’t a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have.
And it’s not just about gender and race. It’s about being open to anyone who brings a unique perspective to the table and believes everyone deserves an opportunity to succeed.
Our children should grow up in a world where talents are recognized and rewarded regardless of background. Our communities should thrive by embracing every individual’s unique skill set rather than forcing people into narrow boxes based on outdated social norms.
And we believe that diversity changes life for the better—for individuals and society at large—and all of that makes us happier humans.