11, December, 2016
Having workplace diversity is one of the most powerful assets at an organization’s disposal. Studies have shown that corporate teams with diverse members yield better results and are able to tackle problems more easily.
However, not all organizations are able to effectively harness the power of workforce diversity.
Diversity vs. Inclusion: The Difference
Diverse organizations boast a workforce comprised of people from various cultures and backgrounds. However, some firms are unable to have all their employees feel like a part of the organization. This is primarily because while there is diversity, they are lacking a culture of ‘inclusion’.
● Diversity is a term used to encompass the different kinds of people working in an organization. This refers to having a mix of people from different cultures, backgrounds, races, religion, and gender.
● Inclusion, on the other hand, is about how accommodating a corporate environment is to the various people from different backgrounds.
Diverse organizations that are unable to create an inclusive environment risk losing out on employees who might feel out of place at work.
Instead of trying to create a diverse workforce just to fulfill a diversity policy, organizations should focus on making the workplace a comfortable and equal environment for all employees. This way, people from all walks of life can be encouraged to perform at their highest level.
Benefits of Inclusion
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of promoting diversity in the workplace. However, these advantages only come into play once you’ve created an inclusive work environment for all your diverse employees. Here are a few benefits of having an inclusive, diverse workforce:
Access to Talent
Most job applicants conduct thorough research before applying to an organization. During this process, the job seekers have one main goal – finding an organization where they will fit in.
By having a more inclusive workplace, you are telling all candidates that they will be a welcome part of your organization.
Due to having diverse employees, organizations are able to bring different perspectives to the table and consider multiple approaches to a single problem.
However, for the employees to share their opinions they must feel like their voice matters and that they will be heard if they speak up. An organization can instill this confidence in employees by creating a more inclusive environment rather than just trying to fulfill the regulatory requirements for workplace diversity.
By keeping employees comfortable and showing that they are valued, organizations are able to better retain their employees. Employees are more likely to stay with a company that has an inclusive, diverse culture.
Of course, it can be challenging to create a truly diverse and inclusive workforce. But, companies can take steps to achieve an inclusive workplace, and thus reap the benefits of their diversity efforts.
What Can Companies Do?
Most importantly, companies need to acknowledge the diversity of thought. Employers need to be able to appreciate employees for the unique perspectives they bring to the table, regardless of race or religion.
For companies to help all employees feel included, they need to eliminate conscious and unconscious biases within the organization. They can start by conducting surveys of management, and creating inclusion programs to teach employees the importance of appreciating others’ diverse perspectives.
Sure, this process may take time. But with a few steps in the right direction, you will be able to transform your company and be able to use the power of diversity to its fullest potential.