Organizations that invest in diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace are more profitable, attract better talent, and see an increase in innovation.
A McKinsey report on diversity “confirms that gender, ethnic, and cultural diversity, particularly within executive teams, continue to be correlated to financial performance across multiple countries worldwide”.
And a study by Boston Consulting Group found that organizations with diverse teams show a 19% increase in profits due to innovation. This innovation is something that has been increasingly valuable with COVID-19 and the shift to remote and hybrid work models. McKinsey & Company writes that “inclusion and diversity are at risk in the crisis—but are critical for business recovery, resilience, and reimagination”.
Studies by Deloitte (Welcome to Generation Z and The Radical Transformation of Diversity and Inclusion: The Millennial Influence) have uncovered thatMillennials and Gen Z strongly value diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
At its broadest definition, diversity refers to the traits found in an organization’s workforce as a whole.
A diverse workforce is made up of individuals of different genders, ages, orientation and ethnicity/background. The distribution should be fairly proportionate, meaning senior roles should show as much diversity as entry-level roles.
Inclusion is the degree to which employees feel accepted, valued, and respected at work.
Inclusion is also sometimes described as psychological safety, the feeling that an employee (no matter at what level) can contribute ideas and criticism without fear of ostracization or career repercussions.
Introducing or expanding your D&I initiatives requires planning for employee buy-in, navigating roadblocks, and understanding how your workforce views diversity and inclusion.
For a few D&I quick wins, we’ve put together some suggestions on small changes that you can implement in relatively short time to be more inclusive and increase diversity in the workplace.
- Set up more learning events for your entire organization. A workshop or a department roadshow lets employees interact with and develop new relationships with coworkers in different areas of the business. Everyone gets to showcase what they're excited about and what they've accomplished, and it gives employees an understanding of what it is everyone else does in the company.
- Take the time to celebrate events that are important to many different cultures. Consider holding education sessions for each holiday or special event. That way, everyone can understand who celebrates which holiday and why it’s important. It’s a way to help employees see their coworkers as people, not just people they work with.
- Flexibility when it comes to feedback is also important. Especially in brainstorming meetings, not everyone is comfortable with making suggestions out loud to the group. Consider asking for ideas by email after the meeting too to give employees more time to come up with ideas and still feel included in the process.
For a few more ideas on how to create a positive work environment through your diversity and inclusion initiatives, download our free ebook: Increasing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.