By Steven W. Pearce
In a multicultural society, diversity, equity, and inclusion are of the utmost importance. Companies that are more diverse are more profitable. According to Kellie Wong, in her article Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: Benefits and Challenges, Deloitte found that diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times more cash flow per employee. They found that in high-diversity environments, team performance improved by 30%. In another study conducted by Boston Consulting Group, they found that companies with diverse management teams had a 19 percent increase in revenue compared to their less diverse counterparts. Despite these benefits, only 40% of employees believe that their employer fosters a diverse environment.
Wong goes on to define what diversity and inclusion mean. Diversity refers to but is not limited to political beliefs, race, culture, sexual orientation, religion, class, disabilities, special needs, and/or gender identity differences. In the workplace, diversity means your staff consists of individuals who bring new perspectives and backgrounds to the table. Inclusion means that everyone in the diverse mix feels involved, valued, respected, treated fairly, and embedded in your culture. Empowering all employees and recognizing their special talents is part of creating an inclusive company.
Saint Bonaventure University defines equity as fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people. This includes active anti-discrimination and equal access to educational, learning and advancement opportunities. It is an action-based practice that requires organizations to identify and eliminate barriers that have historically prevented the full participation of all groups. Equity influences those who have access to career opportunities and how employees feel valued at work.
According to Wong some of the benefits of diversity are:
- Bigger talent pool
- Increased employment engagement and trust
- New perspectives and innovation
- Better decision-making
- Improved performance
- Stronger business results and profits
- Higher revenue growth
- Greater readiness to innovate
- Increased ability to recruit a diverse talent pool
- 5.4 times higher employee retention
Now that the benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion have been established, you might ask how you can increase diversity within your organization? The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) offers 11 suggestions on how to increase workplace diversity:
1. Leverage job diversity boards.
2. Highlight diversity on the career page of your website.
3. Provide targeted internships and scholarships.
4. Offer diverse mentorships.
5. Conduct diversity training.
6. Create an inclusion council.
7. Reward diverse referrals.
8. Celebrate employee differences.
9. Unconscious bias training for recruiters.
10. Incorporate diversity into company policies and practices.
11. Strengthen ant-discriminatory policies
Robin Pedrelli gives advice on how employees can support diversity and inclusion:
- Know the diversity goals and vision of your organization and its connection to the overall business objectives.
- Participate in employee engagement surveys and respond as openly and honestly as possible.
- Actively engage in the diversity effort.
- Become culturally competent. Take the time to learn about different cultures, races, religions, and backgrounds represented by your colleagues.
- Treat people in a way they wish to be treated rather than the way you wish to be treated.
- Drive positive change in the organization.
- Welcome ideas that are different from your own and support fellow teammates.
- Understand the diversity elements you personally bring to the organization.
- Commit to continuous improvement. Be willing to learn, accept feedback, and listen to the concerns of those around you.
- Communicate and educate.
- By committing to the principles of DEI, not only do companies add to their talent pool by obtaining a broad range of perspectives and unique experiences, but it will appeal to new customers, adding to the potential for revenue growth.