The truth is that many workplaces are becoming more diverse. At the same time, many organizations are not prepared for this increase in diversity and are not taking proactive steps to foster and celebrate diversity in the workplace.
Diversity and inclusion: are they just buzzwords?
The words diversity and inclusion have become pretty popular buzzwords recently, and organizations are trying to tap into this trend by implementing diversity and inclusion workshops, and hiring employees specifically dedicated to fostering diversity and inclusion within the organization. But what exactly do these words mean?
Diversity is the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.
Inclusion is involvement and empowerment, where the inherent worth and dignity of all people are recognized. An inclusive workplace promotes and sustains a sense of belonging; it values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of its members.
Why does diversity matter?
Diversity makes teams stronger
As the workplace becomes more diverse, it is crucial that we are not simply reacting to these changes, but proactively planning to prepare for a more diverse workforce. Diversity and inclusion are really about setting all members up for success in the workplace by structuring workflows and processes in your organization to enhance and encourage diverse points of views and perspectives.
The fact of the matter is that fostering diversity is important because diverse teams perform better. When people work with others who are different from them, they challenge their brains to overcome stale ways of thinking and sharpen their performance. Furthermore, diverse teams have four distinct advantages over individuals or homogenous teams when it comes to making decisions.
In decision making, diverse teams:
- Bring a broader perspective to bear on the problem.
- Identify more choices with which to solve problems.
- Reduce bias.
- Increase accountability.
Diverse teams are also more likely to consistently reexamine facts and remain objective by encouraging greater scrutiny of each member’s actions and contributions, keeping their joint cognitive resources sharp and vigilant.
The numbers don’t lie
In addition to moral and societal benefits, diversity positively impacts the bottom line.
- According to global management firm McKinsey & Company’s Diversity Matters report, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians, and companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
- Furthermore, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that companies that have more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue.
Diversity and inclusion: more than a checklist
Fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace is not as simple as filling a quota or checking off boxes. It is not a one-and-done initiative or a responsibility that can be pushed on to others. An inclusive environment is everyone’s responsibility—it doesn’t just organically happen and isn’t the sole job of leadership or a handful of people in your office. For an organization to embody inclusivity, it takes commitment at all levels.
This means all employees should regularly engage in learning and development surrounding the topics of diversity and inclusion. A one-off effort like an all-day training workshop is not enough. Employees should regularly participate in learning activities that drive them to uncover and challenge their unconscious biases. The key is to create a shared sense of purpose in being more aware of our hidden biases. If people understand that we all have subtle, unconscious biases, then the issues around diversity and inclusion become less taboo and less focused on shame and blame.
When an organization is dedicated to fostering and celebrating diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the whole team thrives. Learn more about how Verb can help you make diversity and inclusion part of the fabric of your company culture, and schedule a demo today.