Before we move on to discuss the role that diversity and inclusion play in the workplace, it is highly imperative that we understand the difference between them. When we talk of diversity in the workplace, it means the who and the what – who they are recruiting and what they bring along with them. Diversity includes various facets, like race, ethnicity, gender or gender identity, age, religious affiliation, and sexual orientation. And since it is something that should be measured in more than just a number, diversity also means tracking from the traditional characteristics and identities of gender and ethnicity, and disability and sexual orientation —inherent diversity characteristics that we are born with. Inclusion, however, is the how – how we welcome and embrace diversity in the workplace. It is meant to create a collaborative, supportive, and respectful environment that enhances the participation and contribution of all employees.
While diversity and inclusion mostly influence factors that impact the culture of your organization, with a particular focus on the recruitment of talent that drives those results. This may be one of the reasons why more and more businesses have begun recognizing that importance of embracing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It is no longer merely a morale pursuit but has revealed a direct link between various organisations and improvements in employee engagement, innovation, market share, and revenue generation.
It is challenging for any organization to measure the success of their efforts regarding diversity and inclusion in their workplace. Apart from instilling true inclusiveness and equality in the corporate culture, it is imperative to also focus on bringing about new changes – ones that involve employee involvement. Also, one should not discount the impact of stimulating engagement with today’s leaders in the workplace. While setting goals that align with the objectives, vision, and values of your organization, keep in mind the people and the value that the diverse workforce will bring with along with it.
How employers and employees can support Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
- Mix and match employees within a team: Try to build a group of people that belong to diverse cultures. A mix of talent will allow an enhanced perspective which will encourage the employees to be creative with their ideas.
- Team-building exercises: If you feel that the employees within a team are unable to get along, you can help them get to know each other by engaging them in team-building activities. These activities are meant to increase productivity and improve communication between employees.
- Celebrate holidays and events of all cultures: Although celebrating Diwali and Christmas is never a bad idea, you should also include regional festivals like Onam and Losar. It will not only give the employees a chance to connect to other cultures, and values but also allow them to understand their colleagues a little better.
- Gather feedback: To ensure that your efforts are fruitful, you need to gather feedback from the employees regularly. You can draft questions and conduct various surveys which are an excellent way to gauge whether your programs have been able to create a working environment that promotes D&I.
In the current scenario, the idea of diversity and inclusion has penetrated into the workforce, and within the next few years, the millennials are expected to make up almost 75% of the workforce. As society evolves so will the workplace culture, and not only based on technological revolution but also on the human composition. Diversity and inclusion no longer follow pre-requisites that were set by the higher-ups, they’re more progressive. Because diversity focuses on the differences and similarities that the people bring to the table, inclusion ensures that we are able to tie these elements together in a productive manner. In order to make the most of a diverse collection of people in an organisation, the culture needs to shift with the help of inclusion – being able to facilitate an environment that involves them. This is the best way to design products and services for customers, resolve challenging problems, and provide a meaningful career path to engage and retain employees. The new movement requires us to internalize both diversity and inclusion to create business value.
About the Author:
Globe trotter. Lawn Tennis Fan. Freshly turned Blogger. Netflix addict, who cooks if put a gun to the head!
Nipsy Jhamb is an accomplished Global HR professional with over 14 years of experience in the IT and digital sectors. Having hands on experience in organization design, she is responsible for implementing human resource transformational strategies that enable the board to hire, train, and retain a high performing and motivated workforce.
With an eye to perfection, her admirers are increasing and speak loud about her sense of humor!