When employees feel that their ideas, presence, or contributions are not truly valued or taken seriously by their organization, they will eventually leave.
An inclusive workplace provides opportunities for all its employees to learn and grow while making meaningful professional and personal connections with their coworkers. It’s important to have great leaders and management teams, but their effectiveness will forever be influenced by the input from employees at every level of the organization.
What does diversity in the workplace mean?
A diverse workplace is one where the staff is representative of the community in which they serve.
An inclusive workplace is one where everyone in the organization believes that their contributions are a valuable part of the output of the whole.
Diversity that lacks genuine inclusion is called “tokenism.” There may well be a variety of people present, but not all are involved, developed, empowered, and trusted by the company.
Diversity doesn’t just mean different genders and ethnicities. It also refers to different age groups, races, sexual orientations, religions, neurodiversity, and even geographical locations.
Embracing alternative thinking styles also means welcoming the input from neurodiverse employees, including those with dyslexia, autism, and ADHD.
The Moral Case for Building a Fairer and More Inclusive Work Environment
Employers and employees need to understand the impact of the past few years on the lives and workplace experiences of individuals from different backgrounds and circumstances.
Everyone deserves opportunities to develop their skills and talents to their full potential in a safe and supportive environment. We also expect a fair reward and recognition for our work, and we expect to have a meaningful voice on matters that are important to us.
This principle remains, whether we are the leaders or floor workers of an organization.
The Financial Case for a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace
Companies with gender equality post up to 15% higher returns than their counterparts. Firms with diverse workforce are 45% likelier to increase their market share over the previous year and 70% likelier to capture a new market.
Profits rise when workers at every level of an organization feel valued, respected, treated fairly, and empowered through inclusive business practices and leadership. That’s because multiple perspectives promote innovation and improve productivity.
Additionally, minority recruits who feel that their talents are embraced tend to excel over time. A major benefit is that a diverse workforce is better able to respond to the needs of their diverse customers.
In short, diversity and inclusion lead to an organizational ability to see new opportunities for growth and revenue. That leads to greater competitive success for the company.
The Personal Benefits of Being Part of a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce
There are many benefits associated with a diverse and inclusive workforce. In a Deloitte survey, 80% of the respondents revealed that an inclusive workforce is of critical importance for them when choosing an employer and about 23% of them have already quit a company for being less inclusive. In the same report, 47% of the surveyed choose ‘an atmosphere that lets them be themselves’ as a vital element of organizational culture they value.
The Desire To “Have It All”
The “great reset” means that employees are increasingly choosing to work for organizations where they aren’t just “bums on seats”. They want to be part of organizations where everyone can thrive professionally and in their private lives. Workers who feel that their work contributions matter are happier in their private lives.
A Growing Sense of Community
Diversity and inclusion create a more robust and informed workplace. Employees have the opportunity to connect with people from other cultures or beliefs in an environment where they can engage or disengage as needed. Learning about and from others creates familiarity and acceptance within an environment where all parties have a vested interest in working for a positive outcome.
Soon, a sense of community and goodwill will grow across the organization. Employees who feel comfortable in their workplace feel more empowered in their work. They feel more satisfied with the work they’re doing, and they’ll be more engaged in the process.
Diversity Is a Stimulus for The Spirit of Learning
An engaged workforce accepts learning and growth opportunities from all directions. Learning opportunities create space for constructive feedback. Constructive feedback spurs a process of continuous improvement. Continuous learning and improvement broadens expertise, keeps people up to date, and provides opportunities for further career growth.
In the beginning, some interpersonal friction may arise due to diverse background and values, but they can be quickly overcome with the right training programs and courses. The resulting benefits far outweigh any potential challenges along the way.
More Effective Long-Term Collaboration
Diversity makes workplaces more sustainable, productive, and less prone to issues of bias. It facilitates the combining of multiple sets of skills, experiences, and perspectives in a workspace.
While such inclusion typically benefits a company’s bottom line, employees who feel supported and valued are more likely to stay at an organization for longer periods. When each one gives his all, it creates pockets of excellence in organizations. Those pockets of excellence allow individuals to rise to prominence.
Critical Thinking Is Becoming an Organizational Survival Skill.
People from different backgrounds have different experiences. Employees who are exposed to new viewpoints learn to challenge their subconscious biases. They learn to ask themselves: Is this true? Why can’t I do that? What if I tried something new?
Critical thinking leads to new ideas and innovations, and, ultimately, a better society.
Diversity In the Workplace Spills Over to Life Outside of Work
A true sense of diversity within a workforce increases the ability of individuals to adapt to an ever-changing world. Employees who feel comfortable working with others who are not like them are better equipped to cope with new life experiences outside the work environment.
Challenge The Thinking That Is Keeping You from Advancement
Employees who embrace values such as integrity, inclusiveness, and creativity find it easier to achieve deep levels of collaboration in the work environment. Collaboration helps them to look past their basic assumptions in every situation, be it dealing with difficult customers, putting together new proposals, or devising a new strategy for customer outreach.
Critical thinking allows people to investigate new concepts. When people become aware of subconscious obstacles, it becomes easier to avoid a pattern of thinking that encounters the same roadblocks every time.
What Can Employers Do to Promote Diversity and Inclusivity?
Employers should foster a company culture where employees are encouraged to take risks, embrace diverse viewpoints and critical thinking, and where people believe that career growth opportunities can come from going beyond traditional thinking.