Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is becoming irreplaceable as organizations are looking to create a work environment more reflective of current demographic progression.
Earlier, D&I was just compliance or a program undertaken to run business operations. But in the current scenario, D&I is doing a lot more for business than initially thought of.
Achieving diversity in the workplace is not just an ethical metric that needs to be ticked off. It is also an essential fiscal metric. Numerous studies have shown that companies who rank highly in ethical & racial diversity are ~36% more likely to have financial returns above their industry peers’ medians.
Diversity also creates opportunities for individuals to achieve their goals irrespective of their sexual orientation, social background, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, faith, and disability.
Today, companies are pushing to incorporate diversity and inclusion in their teams. However, they don’t just want it to be a part of their larger work culture but also part of company ethos or work spirit.
Benefits of D&I
Each employee in an organization brings a different set of perspectives, thoughts, beliefs, and ideas, which helps employers have different views on various business challenges and opportunities.
Studies conducted by global universities and industry analysts agree that a diverse and inclusive workplace provides the benefits of:
- 1. Increased creativity and innovation
- 2. Higher employee engagement and productivity
- 3. Increased skills and knowledge
- 4. Better financial performance
- 5. Better consumer understanding
- 6. Faster problem solving and reduced conflicts
- 7. Access to a broader pool of perspectives, thoughts, and ideas
- 8. Better brand reputation and so on.
One of the compelling cases comes from Nextel, a wireless service operator from Virginia, United States. Nextel implemented a diversity training program in 1999, intending to create a better environment for employees. That diversity program resulted in an ROI of 163% as a result of higher employee retention rates.
The Covid-19 pandemic has ushered in a deep sense of uncertainty for all. For this reason, the role of D&I has become more critical than ever.
To thrive in this new reality, it has become imperative to redefine the concept of diversity and inclusion and formally train HR leaders and managers to manage diversity.
HR leaders need to ensure that everyone gets an equal opportunity to grow within the organization irrespective of their diverse factors. A customized inclusion policy should nurture and empower employees to feel included regardless of who they are or what they identify themselves as.
Generally, it is the perception that D&I is only for well-established corporates and is not a mandate for every organization.
However, we need to understand the need for D&I in the organization, which is not limited to gender, religion, ethnicity, culture, or nationality.
D&I is about creating a platform for the right talent in a comfortable environment for personal and professional growth.
Here are some steps to start with D&I:
- 1. To acknowledge the problem first is essential to solving it. Do a complete audit of your existing diversity scenario. You can do this using a Diversity Navigator, like the one in Draup’s Talent Intelligence tool.
- 2. Ensure that everyone is committed to upholding diversity values. It’s essential to work inside-out than outside-in. Once everything is well in the existing work culture, only then can something new be introduced.
- 3. Develop a D&I Roadmap and plans for future hiring. This can be as simple as setting a fixed percentage of hiring minorities etc.
- 4. Monitor and report on progress. Ideally, companies appoint a Chief Diversity Officer to take care of this.
- 5. Work on creating a more inclusive work culture. This can be done by listening to employees, addressing their needs, and acting on them.
Diversity and inclusiveness in organizations do not happen overnight. Instead, they involve a series of continuous efforts from removing unconscious bias to strategically steering thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of key stakeholders to attain exceptional outcomes.
But before any of these measures can be implemented, stakeholders need to carefully audit their current D&I scenario to develop a holistic strategy.
A good D&I strategy is directly connected to your workforce planning, talent management, employee retention, work environment, office setup and infrastructure, compensation, employee engagement, employee grievance, etc.
Using Draup’s Diversity Navigator, HR Leaders can visualize ethnic and gender diversity across business operations, geographies, and job roles. By utilizing the insights from Diversity Navigator, HR leaders can also plan out the career paths of minorities and achieve actual diversity and inclusion.