Top 4 Ways To Improve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
For teams to work better, it is important to consider diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. Diversity & Inclusion is the need of the hour for any organization in the world as it has various benefits including but not limited to, innovation, positive workplace, new and vibrant ideas, and a great office culture.
What is workplace diversity?
When a company employs people of varying characteristics such as age, gender, race, religion, languages, ethnicity, sexual orientations, etc., the company is said to have diverse resources. Hence, we use the term workplace diversity.
Many organizations focused on workplace diversity because having employees of diverse backgrounds became fashionable and a statement for their marketing. But they realized the true value of diversity in the workplace after seeing significant improvement in results.
An article on Medium talked about statistical analysis from various workplaces by different consulting groups.
The results of that analysis not only showed that a workplace brings new viewpoints and perspective but also higher revenue, higher rate of job acceptance when offered a job, better decision making and performance than competitors.
Reading this, some employers might think ‘Hey! My workforce is diverse. But I don’t see all those benefits. Rather, turnover rates are high.’
Well, they are right. Diversity in the workplace is necessary but that is not sufficient to reap the benefits. Employers often miss out the sister term of diversity, inclusivity.
1. Use Inclusivity
Inclusivity complements diversity and employers need to know this.
Your organization might have a diverse workforce with employees from different races, religions, sexual orientations, ethnicities, or even employees speaking different languages. But there are smaller issues that are overlooked by the employers and HRs. These issues consummate into something catastrophic- attrition.
For example, consider you have a native Tamil speaker in your office who is not comfortable speaking in any language other than English for small talks. Or a Muslim employee who must leave early on Fridays during Ramadan.
These things might seem trivial to all but not for them. Small nuances like these contribute towards the organizational health and well-being of your employees.
When employees need to masquerade themselves as being happy just because they are unsafe, unsure, or invisible, then eventually it will lead to loss of motivation, engagement, and productivity.
Therefore, employers and HRs need to ensure inclusivity in their organization.
Inclusivity can be brought by acknowledging and honoring multiple cultural and religious practices.
Employees from different cultures have different special days. For example, Christians might want an off on Good Friday, or a Tamilian on Pongal and so on. Some companies call them special holidays while others call them floating holidays. No matter how fancy the holiday sounds, it is important to let your employees know that you care for them.
It is important for HRs and managers to be aware of these and show empathy towards them during those special days.
2. Give all your employees voice!
When you are planning to introduce inclusivity in your office, it is important to give them their voice.
As we have seen earlier that an organization with diverse workforce bring different ideas and perspective to the table. But not all organizations benefit from it, despite boasting how they embrace diversity.
For example, your company’s employee might feel that your products don’t cater to people of all sexual orientations. He/she might have an idea to overcome them. They usually fear expressing their views because the necessary environment isn’t provided by the employer at the workplace.
Employees should have the freedom to express themselves based on their unique perspectives. But they seldom do, fearing they would be ridiculed, marginalized, or snubbed based on their age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
When employees don’t fear to express themselves, it makes them feel included and more safer in the workplace. This is how you foster creativity and innovation
3. Executive team is also your workforce
If you are planning to develop a diverse culture at your workplace, try evaluating your executive team. Do they reflect your idea of diversity in the workplace?
Many organizations hire from different communities, gender, and regions. But when it comes to top management, diversity is seldom found. When the top management is diverse, it speaks volumes about the work culture of your company.
Diversity at the top management could open doors to several undiscussed issues such as gender pay inequality, lack of representation from employees of different cultures, etc.
Since C-suite takes major decisions, diversity at the executive level will give all the other employees greater hope and motivation. This eventually will lead to greater productivity and reduce attrition.
4. Embrace multi-generational workforce
Gone are the days where old bosses expect things to work in the way they used to. ‘Back in my day-‘sounds cringe to Generation Y and Gen Z employees who have a totally different approach towards work and life. Since most of the workers will be replaced by Millennials, it is important to embrace a multi-generational workforce by taking inputs from those millennials and deploying them.
It is important to manage inter-generational tensions in the organization. To inculcate inclusivity, try to improve communication in the workplace by deploying various communication channels and letting employees of varying generations interact with each other and share ideas.