Diversity and inclusivity in the workplace should be a priority for every company. Building teams from varying backgrounds not only improves the employee experience, but it also enhances productivity and the decision-making process, according to McKinsey.
Several studies indicate that millennials are 16 percent more diverse than baby boomers and, that by 2065, the U.S. population will have no racial majority. Therefore, having a clear strategy to increase diversity in your company should be a priority — all the more so when you expand your business on to the international market.
Having access to a global talent pool can help create diversity at your company, but you will also need to implement specific strategies in parallel to improve your company’s inclusive culture.
A central plank of a positive corporate culture is that the workspace should be a safe environment for your employees. When you consider that 61 percent of employees have experienced or witnessed discrimination firsthand, it’s clear that a robust implementation of inclusive strategies is essential.
By improving diversity and inclusivity, you will not only enhance your company’s reputation but also ensure that your employees enjoy working there and will continue to do so in the long term.
What does diversity and inclusiveness in the workspace mean?
When the term diversity is used, it refers to a work environment that is enriched by the perspectives of its members and is inclusive of their different characteristics. This helps to create a work culture in which everyone feels equally listened to and involved.
Meanwhile, inclusion is all those policies and practices that provide access to opportunities and resources irrespective of sexual orientation, gender, or disability, to mention a few examples. It is about giving equal access to opportunity and getting rid of discrimination.
Having a strategy to boost diversity and inclusiveness not only improves the work environment in your company, but also offers benefits such as:
- Improved customer understanding.
- Recruitment from a larger pool of candidates.
- Increased productivity in your work teams.
- Surpassed revenue expectations.
- Enhanced innovation in your teams.
- Optimal problem solving.
It is estimated that 67 percent of millennials and Generation Z employees value diversity when considering employment opportunities. Embedding diversity and inclusion in your company will help you access and benefit from their talents.
Furthermore, employees in general wish to work for diverse and inclusive companies. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 57 percent of respondents want their company to be more diverse.
What strategies can I implement to make my company more diverse and inclusive?
To create an inclusive and diverse workplace, you can implement the following strategies:
1. Recognize the holidays of each religion and culture.
Usually companies recognize the holidays relevant to their country of operation. However, having a collective calendar which includes important dates for employees of different ethnicities and religions in your company will increase their sense of belonging.
In addition, your other employees will become aware of and interested in these holidays, which enhances a sense of belonging for all team members.
To complement this, you can:
- Invite people from each religion to talk about how the festive day is celebrated in their culture.
- Use your company’s Intranet to let employees know who will have the day off.
- Have greater flexibility in the scheduling of recurring calls on those days off.
2. Develop a diversity and inclusion training program.
This will lay the foundation for how your employees treat each other. It is recommended that this program be part of your onboarding process and that it be extremely specific about the consequences of acts of discrimination or violence.
In this way, you will also promote equality, respect, and empathy. Overall, having your team trained on these issues will benefit your company. For example, a study by Deloitte indicates that inclusive companies are twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets, three times more likely to be high performing, and eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes.
3. Promote the creation of an employee resource group.
An employee resource group (ERG) is an employee-led group in which workers can participate on a voluntary basis. Their main objective is to promote diversity and inclusiveness in the policies of the company they work for.
These groups usually share specific characteristics with each other such as language, religion, or ethnicity. In this way they can support each other in personal or work-related issues.
This type of group is becoming increasingly common; and can now be found in 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies. With their help, employees feel heard, valued, and understood.
Having employees actively participating in an ERG will benefit your company because you will have:
- Increased employee retention.
- The presence of underrepresented groups.
- Improved cultural awareness.
- A sense of community within your company.
4. Be open to hearing feedback from your employees.
Being in constant contact and caring about employees’ performance and work experience makes them feel appreciated. This is increasingly important because, according to Zippia, 66 percent of employees would leave their job if they did not feel appreciated.
Remember that being more diverse and inclusive includes listening to what your employees are looking for from you as a company and how they want to see change happen. Constant feedback helps 85 percent of employees take more initiative within your company, which increases productivity and improves the work environment.
By having weekly meetings and an annual performance review, you can make the changes you want happen in your company. In addition, this improves engagement, and employees who are highly engaged are 87 percent less likely to leave their jobs. Tools like Slack, Jira or Notion can support you in this process.
Remember that diversity and inclusion are issues that will become only more relevant in the coming years. Working in companies with global employees automatically creates a coexistence of different nationalities, religions, and ethnicities, as well as gender and sexual orientation. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn from each other and will help your employees have a wonderful experience working for your company. Moreover, you will enhance your reputation as a company and set an example for others in your industry.
How G-P can help
At G-P, it’s our mission to break down barriers to global business and open up opportunities for everyone around the world. We’re committed to enabling global growth through a connected and supportive experience with our market-leading SaaS-based Global Growth Platform™. We champion and support companies working to improve diversity and inclusivity across their organization by making it fast and easy to hire anyone, regardless of location.