The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

The world is making an effort to change for the better, the HR world’s focus shifts towards workplace diversity and inclusion.

More than ever, companies are prioritizing diversity and inclusion initiatives and investing in resources to set their teams up for success. Focusing on diversity and inclusion is not only the smart thing to do for your business but also leads to a wealth of benefits—both from an internal and an external perspective.

Let’s dive into the benefits and challenges of workplace diversity and inclusion, but first- what exactly are diversity and inclusion? At times, it may seem like understanding diversity and inclusion is complicated. Let’s break it down before discussing how to incorporate them into your organization to lead to higher profits and happier, more stimulated employees.

 

Diversity: Includes but is not limited to race, color, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, veteran status, education, marital status, language, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, genetic information, and learning styles.

When thinking about diversity it is important to remember that the terminology has expanded. A decade ago, diversity was associated with racial and ethnic minorities, whereas now, we consider factors such as socioeconomic status or gender identity when referring to diverse populations.

Inclusion: Bringing traditionally excluded individuals or groups into processes, activities, and decision making in a way that shares power and ensures equal access to opportunities and resources.

 

What are some benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

New perspectives

Hiring people of different cultures, backgrounds, and nationalities will allow a fresh new range of perspectives to improve processes and create innovative solutions. Although widening the candidate search to allow for diversity could pose some intimidation to hiring managers, research shows that diversifying your team leads to better decision-making skills and will pay off in the end.

A wider talent pool

A company that actively seeks diversity in candidates will have access to a broader talent pool. While you should always be selective about whom you hire, being overly picky about traits that do not matter will significantly decrease the number of people you can even consider. Embracing background, thought, and ethnic diversity is key to identifying good hires.

More innovation

Creative solutions tend to develop from the collaboration of diverse groups of people. Just like leadership may take a strategy meeting offsite to inspire new ideas, pulling together people with different experiences and world views will insight innovation.

Better employee performance

A work environment with employees of various backgrounds, cultures, genders, and worldviews, creates a safe place for everyone to be themselves. If employees don’t feel like they can be themselves at work, they are more likely to fear rejection. Those employees will not produce their best work.
New perspectives, a wider talent pool, more innovation, and better employee performance ultimately leads to increased profits.

 

What are some challenges of diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Aligning diversity practices with your company’s unique organizational goals could come with its challenges.

Make sure that implementing diversity makes sense for your culture and how you want it to evolve. Start by identifying your company’s diversity and inclusion gaps. You may consider administering a diversity-focused survey, which will help target your resources.

Moving from design to implementation requires commitment.

You can have a very well thought-out plan for moving towards a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Still, if no one is accountable for progress, it could easily get pushed away by other priorities. Dedicating a resource to the cause is a reliable way to hold your company accountable for results. For example, you may consider creating a Diversity and Inclusion Team in your workplace.

Ensure your management team is on board with your diversity and inclusion goals.

They are highly influential in carrying out these types of initiatives. Therefore, it is essential to provide training and guidance to understand them and any expectations.

Overcoming your employees’ unconscious biases is essential to build a culture where differences are recognized and valued.

Organizations are investing in training to help conquer and overcome discrimination. While training may not eliminate bias, it helps develop awareness and gives techniques to address and avoid it.

 

Finally, you can expect some level of internal resistance.

Not everyone will immediately be on board with the idea of diversifying the organization. Most of us are innately uncomfortable with change, particularly the unknown. It is your organization’s leaders’ responsibility to continually educate employees on the importance of diversity and inclusion efforts.

 

Now that you understand the benefits and challenges of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, let’s get started. Tandem HR helps clients tackle important people-related issues like diversity and inclusion.

 

For a FREE Consultation, email simplify@tandemhr.com or call (630) 928-0510.

 

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