While diversity and inclusion were hardly invented in 2020, it was undoubtedly a year the brought them into sharper focus.
The widespread Black Lives Matter protests across the globe, the racially charged political atmosphere in the United States, and the ongoing #MeToo movement brought home the importance of making diversity and inclusion a priority.
Creating a diverse, inclusive workplace isn’t just about a moral imperative. It has tangible benefits for companies that invest in a more inclusive company culture.
The terms diversity and inclusion can be thrown around rather liberally and often used interchangeably. However, if you want to create more diverse teams and a more inclusive culture, you need to define exactly what they mean.
While diversity initiatives often focus on gender, race, and sexuality, bringing together different perspectives in one team is the core of diversity.
While gender, race, and sexuality are certainly critical focal points when embracing diversity, it’s essential to recognize that they aren’t the only ones.
Diversity is about empowering people by appreciating what makes them different and can cover age, religion, disability, education, and language skills as well as many other factors.
Creating a diverse workplace allows your employees to express those differences safely and in a nurturing environment. It also means promoting a company culture that actively values those differences, rather than just tolerating them.
If diversity is a way to bring together people with different perspectives and experiences, inclusion is what binds them together into an effective team.
An inclusive workplace makes people feel valued and respected for their differences and contributions.
Inclusivity means putting in place cultural values and organizational practices that promote the acceptance of people from different backgrounds. It also highlights the benefits their alternate perspectives bring.
Promoting inclusivity creates a mutually supportive workplace environment in which employees feel a genuine sense of belonging.
Inclusivity can mean a mindset shift, but also physical changes, such as how offices are laid out, access to facilities, the makeup of meetings, and how communication is approached.
Diversity broadens our horizons. Bringing together diverse teams in an inclusive environment maximizes the number of perspectives brought to bear on a problem or project.
Embracing diversity brings in new ideas and experiences and allows people to learn from each other in a supportive environment. This leads to greater creativity and better problem-solving.
Learning to value diversity promotes more open communication and lets employees open more effective and productive dialogues.
Attracting diverse talent doesn’t have to be incredibly difficult. There are some simple and actionable ideas that you can put into practice right now to improve your chances of creating a more diverse workforce.
Make Diversity Part of Your Employee Value Proposition
Updating your employee value proposition to reflect a proactive stance on diversity is a great way to attract more diverse employees.
Your employee value proposition reflects the culture and core values of your organization. Taking a strong stance on diversity lets existing employees and potential hires know that you find value in different perspectives and backgrounds.
Talented individuals who represent those different perspectives and backgrounds are far more likely to sign up with a company that values and supports them.
If you want to know how to attract and retain a more diverse workforce, start by speaking with your existing diverse employees.
Get their perspective on what effective diversity means to them and what changes could be made to your organization, culture, and hiring practices to draw more diverse employees.
It’s always good to be seen actively promoting the ideals your company is built on. Use social media to promote diversity and show potential hires your commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
Photos, videos, workplace interviews, support for other diversity promoting groups, social media campaigns, and diversity-related hashtags are an excellent way to demonstrate your company values its diverse employees.
Our unconscious biases are nearly always expressed through the language we use, often entirely unknowingly. Using uninclusive language can often be unintentional.
However, even unintentional statements can negatively impact someone’s sense of belonging and create barriers.
Re-examining how your business and its employees use language and promoting the use of inclusive language is a simple and easy step towards creating a more supportive workplace.
Mentoring is another easy step that can lead to greater engagement and job satisfaction from traditionally underrepresented groups.
Effective mentoring has been proven to increase the number of people of color and women at management level and significantly affect job satisfaction.
While moral obligation is the top driver for greater workplace diversity and inclusion, there are tangible benefits to hiring a more diverse workforce.
Greater Creativity and Boosted Performance
The bottom line is, a diverse workforce is a more effective workforce, and there are stats to back it up. Diverse teams make business decisions that deliver 60% better results. They also provide, compared to the industry average, they also offer 33% higher financial returns.
Gender diverse teams are literally more intelligent and significantly more creative.
According to a Harvard Business Review study, cognitively diverse teams are significantly more effective at solving complex and unfamiliar problems because of their varying perspectives and experiences.
The reality is that diverse brands can connect with a broader customer base. An Adobe report showed that 38% of consumers are more likely to trust brands that can demonstrate diversity.
Brands that can demonstrate that they value diversity also see an 83% higher consumer preference.
Demonstrating a commitment to diversity can strengthen your employer brand, making it easier to retain employees.
Employees who are satisfied with their employer’s diversity and inclusion initiatives are 100% more engaged than those who aren’t.
Research by Changeboard indicates that employees in diverse and inclusive organizations work 12% harder, are 19% less likely to leave, and collaborate 57% more effectively.
Creating a workplace culture that embraces diversity and empowers employees through inclusions has active and tangible benefits. Emphasizing diversity strengthen your employer brand, increasing staff retention and satisfaction.
Prioritizing diversity and inclusion can also make your workforce more productive, more creative, and better decision-makers, benefitting every part of your organization.