Can you picture a setting where all of your employees feel accepted, valued, and heard — despite their religious, political, or lifestyle preferences? What if your employees knew they could count on each other to have their backs? What if everyone knew they were respected and would not be marginalized for being different from the person beside them. (And let’s be honest — we all know what it feels like to be “different” than the next guy.)
What a fabulous place to work! Imagine the appeal to potential candidates!
This is the true heart of diversity and inclusion.
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are essential. It matters more today than ever before. Candidates look for it in your company, determine its authenticity, and consider it a factor in their decision to work for you. Consumers do the same.
A cultural foundation of diversity and inclusion brings a bounty of colorful perspectives that are fresh, innovative, and beneficial to the company. This leads to higher revenue, exceptional customer service, and dynamic workflows.
While gender, race, and religion predominate “diversity demographics,” there are many other dimensions of diversity. For example, age, ability, education, previous training, veteran status, communication, learning styles, and a preferred language are all aspects of diversity that are often overlooked.
If you want to incorporate diversity and inclusion in your company, here are some practical places to start!
Without inclusion, diversity is something that remains a statistic on paper. In an inclusive workplace, employees feel valued and appreciated for the very things that make them different from their coworkers. Cultural differences are acknowledged, differing faiths are respected, and various skill sets are appreciated. While diversity and inclusion are interrelated, they are different from one another. Studies show that without inclusion, diverse companies struggle to maintain true diversity.
Having a vision for inclusion is critical. Move forward by creating goals and systems that are metric-oriented, recruitment-oriented, awareness-oriented, and community-oriented to foster more diverse thinking and deeper levels of inclusivity.
(For example, one good idea is to create a company calendar that accepts and celebrates all the various religious and cultural holidays represented in your company.)
Start at the Top
You can’t expect your company to embrace diversity if the top-level executive team doesn’t also embrace it. Unity and support across the board communicate your vision’s sincerity and motivate staff to follow your example.
Be intentional about building a diverse management team and provide them with D&I training. It is critical on several levels because while many inclusion initiatives should be employee-led, they need management’s legal, HR, and financial support.
Diversity and inclusion is a highly politicized and often very emotional discussion. So when looking at D&I objectives, it’s essential to be driven by accurate, unbiased data. Use statistics and the scientific method to form valid conclusions about the fuel of your initiatives.
On an efficiency level, building a diverse company begins with recruitment. Broaden your horizons and take a look into some forgotten talent pools. Veterans, people with disabilities, and even retirees are sometimes overlooked. However, they offer a comprehensive, diverse range of experience, talent, and perspective that brings vitality to your team.
What is the key to true inclusivity? Building genuine and authentic relationships builds the bridge between the different generations, cultures, and backgrounds that make up our world. Open communication channels and invite your employees into one-on-one conversations, listen to their perspectives, and learn about what makes them, them!