The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion
Written By Aisha Khan
Published Date Sept 3, 2019
In a multicultural society full of bright minds and unique capabilities from different backgrounds, the value of diversity should not go unnoticed.
What is diversity and inclusion?
The level of progress America has made towards accepting diversity is reflected in our current workplace, however a survey from Glassdoor reveals that 57% of employees believe that their companies should be more diverse.
Having a diverse team means accepting and respecting the various differences in race, religion, sexual orientation, background, and more — and it’s these differences that make inclusion matter. It’s easy to hire and accept people for a job based on the skills that they can offer, but making them feel included is another story. Inclusion isn’t just about accommodation. But rather, it’s about ensuring that you can incorporate everyone’s needs so that they can play to their full strengths. It also means accepting that everyone works differently, but it’s in the way that teams collaborate together that they can be the most effective and achieve the best results.
Why does diversity and inclusion matter?
Diversity matters as it gives more people — regardless of their race, age, sexual orientation, gender, or personality — an equal chance to be hired and promoted. Additionally, a diverse workplace encourages and motivates employees, as new and different experiences can lead to inspiration on how to better approach everyday challenges. In fact, HR Technologist’s Scott Ballina says that diversity and inclusion are key drivers of employee engagement and productivity, along with talent acquisition, innovation, and growth. In other words, diversity and inclusion help businesses thrive and flourish.
Despite all the progress towards accepting diversity, there is still a lot to be done. Most businesses are still slow in getting the inclusivity train going, so we’ve provided a couple of ways to help promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace.
Tips on Encouraging Diversity in the Workplace
Recognition and respect for differences
Our writer Jennifer Walk-up emphasizes that the first step to accepting diversity is to recognize it and respect it. This means acknowledging the uniqueness of each person in your team, and taking time to understand their different ways of life. Not only will this help your team realize how their differences can lead to strengths, but it also creates respect and appreciation for one another.
Equal pay for equal work
Promoting the idea of diversity can begin with having a welcoming workplace that disregards any bias as a cause for unequal pay. Take a look at your industry and benchmark salaries for your employees working in different roles. If you notice that some of your employees are being paid less for the same work as their peers, it’s time to make a change.
Bias often begins in the employment process. The best way to address this is to create a process that minimizes the risk of bias. For instance, remove age, gender, race, or religion from the equation when evaluating applicants. These are all unnecessary pieces of information if you want to promote diversity.
Ensure that your policies are upheld
It’s easy to draft policies in the workplace, but ensuring that they’re followed is another story. With this in mind, Sangeeta Agrawal’s feature on Special Counsel recommends that by forming a core committee to oversee your company’s diversity initiatives, as well as creating mentoring programs, it will help to engage diverse talent. This way, you can ensure that your diversity initiatives are prioritized and sustained over time. Another step you can take is to conduct an operational audit starting with the HR department, which looks at procedures from the ground up.
A diverse workplace is a thriving, happier workplace that has higher productivity, is more innovative, and is ultimately, more successful. Companies should take the opportunity to grow their organization in a more positive manner by accepting diversity and encouraging it in big and small ways.