Workplace diversity is essential to creating a good workplace, especially when it comes to engaging people. Diversity in the workplace fosters creativity and innovation because each team member, from leaders to frontline workers, brings their unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
Studies have revealed that companies with better diversity policies performed better and were more resilient during the 2008 financial crisis. The reason for this is clear: more diverse companies have higher levels of innovation.
LinkedIn’s 2018 Global Recruiting Trends report found that diversity is a key trend that has impacted the way organizations hire their people. According to the report’s findings, 78% of companies prioritize diversity to enhance culture and 62% of companies prioritize diversity to drive financial performance.
The study adds that companies that make significant efforts toward diversity, equity and inclusion, in addition to providing a sense of ownership, have invested in their people and have strong support from their leadership teams. The current 2023 report indicates that 26% of respondents consider this to be one of the most important areas in which to invest.
What exactly does it mean to have a diverse workplace?
Diversity occurs at the intersection of different people from different places with different experiences. It includes cultural diversity in the workplace, gender diversity, religious diversity, language diversity, different educational levels, different points of view, and unique abilities. It is all of that. They are people who think differently, act differently, and look differently working together to solve complex problems.
Why is diversity in the workplace important?
Having a diverse workforce goes beyond an HR seminar or workshop. When done right, there are real benefits to diversity in the workplace. For example, more diverse workforces have proven to be more creative, faster problem solvers, more innovative, and better decision makers.
Simply put, diversity is not just a topic of discussion among HR professionals. Diversity in the workplace creates a more complete work experience that gives companies a competitive advantage.
Establishes a sense of belonging for all
Having a connection to the workplace will allow people to be themselves and result in greater engagement and creativity. For this there is no single approach, so you should always be attentive to sharing best practices and be open to news.
According to a survey carried out by Robert Half, in Chile workers consider that the main challenges for the development of a stronger culture in terms of inclusion, equity and diversity depend on those who make the decisions in companies.
It is revealed that at least 36% of those consulted believe that the lack of support from leaders is the main challenge for the implementation of a culture of diversity and inclusion in companies. 30% consider that it is the lack of strategy, while 21% point to the lack of adequate structure and 13% consider that the problem is the resistance of the workers.
If you want to build a more inclusive workplace, empathetic leadership is essential. It can be easy to miss when workers bring up issues that bother them that may not seem like a big deal to you as a manager. But practicing empathy and thinking about how you would feel if you were ridiculed, excluded, or badmouthed can help you better understand what might be bothering that person. Don’t overlook people’s feelings if you want them to stick around.
Quotas do not guarantee inclusion
Hiring goals may increase diversity numbers, but this will not automatically create an inclusive culture. Too often, leaders focus diversity and inclusion efforts disproportionately on the workforce, but the personal experience continues well beyond an offer letter. To retain and nurture top talent, it’s critical to take an honest look at the end-to-end worker experience, with an eye toward creating conditions that promote inclusion on a daily basis, and devise ways to measure impact.
Inclusion is permanent, not just training
It is not enough to teach people what it means to be inclusive. Like any form of behavior change, inclusion requires people to identify key moments in which to build new habits or “micro behaviors” (daily actions that can be practiced and measured). And when these habits are put into practice in an environment that supports honest conversations and healthy tension, real change becomes possible.
Power the positive
People are programmed to react with fear and mistrust when their beliefs are questioned. While fear can be a powerful motivator, it also encourages people to narrow their perspective, the opposite effect desired in creating a more inclusive workplace. Finding ways to frame challenges, ignite possibilities, and elevate the power of shared experiences creates greater potential for positive change.
Creation of a new culture
Norms, power structures, and inequities in society can easily be embedded into an organization, enabling it to hire, train, and reward people who “fit.” Creating a culture where every individual can contribute their full potential requires digging into your organization’s systems and processes to uncover weak spots and blind spots, then finding ways to reinvent them.
Constantly measure progress and seek feedback
This initiative can take the form of an extended meeting, a company-wide survey, or any method you deem appropriate. Encouraging input from all team members allows you to look at the successes and potential areas for improvement your company is facing. Workers can rely on this HR method to use their voice and ultimately build trust within their company.
Don’t look for the cultural fit
Often when recruiting new talent, leaders look for someone who fits the culture. But what does that mean? If you operate in a company with a certain culture, you have already unconsciously screened out people who might be different from what you have identified as the norm. Everyone you hire should not be the same. Seeing someone as a cultural fit is an outdated phrase that no longer has a place in organizations looking to become more diverse and inclusive. If you find that the company is excluding candidates because they don’t feel like a cultural fit, encourage them to think differently.
Difference between Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are three interrelated concepts crucial for fostering a progressive and harmonious workplace environment. Each term represents a distinct facet of creating a more representative and fair organizational culture
Diversity encompasses the range of identities and perspectives that employees bring to the table, including factors such as race, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and more. It acknowledges the inherent differences among individuals, enriching the talent pool and promoting creativity through a variety of viewpoints.
Equity goes beyond equality. It acknowledges that not all employees start from the same place, and it aims to ensure that everyone has equal access to opportunities and resources. Equity involves recognizing and addressing systemic disadvantages, bridging gaps, and providing tailored support to level the playing field.
Inclusion involves actively fostering an environment where every individual feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute fully. It requires creating spaces where diverse voices are heard, ideas are welcomed, and collaboration is encouraged. Inclusion enhances employee morale, engagement, and productivity by making individuals feel like integral members of the team.