Championing Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Time to read: 3 minutes

Inclusive Workplace Summary

  • Inclusion in the workplace is the follow-through of diversity efforts. It is one thing to hire diverse, but it is another to act on it.
  • Simply put, creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is good for business, aside from being morally correct.
  • How to be a truly inclusive workplace and what needs to take place for a company to be successful.

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace continue to be at the forefront of conversations during and in between the harsh realities of the racial injustices in society. The work needs to be done for society to move in the right direction. An area we surely can continue to work on and lead society on the right path is at work.

Understanding Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity is the action taken to proactively include individuals who in some way are different from the traditional member and to be more reflective of society. Most definitions of diversity focus on race and gender, but far exceeds those limits encompassing ethnicity, age, religion, disability, location, personality, sexual preferences, as well as many other defining characteristics be it personal, demographic, or organizational.

Inclusion in the workplace specifically is the act of creating a work environment where all employees are on a level playing field by being treated equally and respectfully and introduced to all opportunities and resources to contribute the company’s mission and goals uniformly and fully.

The distinguishing difference between these two definitions, but what makes these two concepts important to the other, is that diversity speaks to the characteristics of individuals whereas inclusion speaks to the behaviors towards individuals. Diversity efforts falter if they are not met with an inclusive culture that respectfully values all members of the workplace.

It is one thing to hire a diverse group of employees, it is another to authentically welcome employees of all backgrounds.

How Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Contributes to Company Success

While it is the employers’ duty to uphold the moral responsibility of creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, doing so is good for business.

As it pertains to attracting and recruiting top talent, 67% of job seekers consider diversity and inclusion important elements of their workplace. The more diverse a workforce, the more appealing that the workforce is to prospect talent and alleviates the chances of missing out on great hires. With that, diversity and inclusion can inspire such creativity and innovation, something we touch on in a previous article we published on why diversity and creativity are a successful match. A truly diverse and inclusive team has the power to break down problems and more effectively come to solutions. By hiring diverse and practicing inclusion, companies open themselves up to so much more potential and different realms of success.

As for building and growing the business, an American Sociological Review study showed that companies with a more racially and gender diverse workforce did indeed experience higher sales revenue as well as a greater number in customers and customer retention. With that, diverse companies are 70% more likely to capture a new market audience and reach that audience with authenticity.

Making a Successful Diversity and Inclusion Initiative

Be an advocate of diversity and inclusion efforts in the workplace. Initiatives as important as this go over well when promoted from the top down. Make it a priority to continuously re-evaluate the workforce and rectify any gaps. Companies have the most success with diversity and inclusion in the workplace when the following happens:

  • Leadership is educated and campaigning efforts from the top down.
  • Zero tolerance policy and recognize biases.
  • Hire and promote diversely.
  • Employees are aware of diversity and inclusion initiatives.
  • Diversity forums to allow for all persons to have a voice.
  • Team building and staff engagement exercises.
  • Continued training and education.

Important Acts and Laws pertaining to Inclusion in the Workplace

The Civil Rights Act (Title VII)

Equal Pay Act

Age Discrimination in Employment Act

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

In conclusion

Inclusion is what makes a diversity initiative successful. It is the employer’s obligation and moral responsibility to create a welcoming environment for all incoming and current employees. Making diversity and inclusion initiatives a priority internally and externally will bode well for recruitment and retention, propelling the business forward.

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