As organisations face new and complex challenges and constant change in a VUCA world, they need to be equipped to face what this type of environment brings.
With older generations retiring as younger generations are entering the workforce, increased immigration globally, cultural evolutions, and technology breaking down barriers more than ever before, many organisations and leaders are looking to ensure their workplaces are as cohesive, communicative, and collaborative as possible. They also want to have the best possible human resources for continued business growth and success, and an increasing focus is being placed on a diverse and inclusive workplace to answer these challenges.
There is more to a diverse workplace than male to female ratios and a representation across nationality, culture, sexual orientation, parental and family status, physical ability, values, religion, socio-economic status, and age. Diversity can also mean diversity in work experience, background, education, personality, communication styles, and thought processes. It is about different people bringing different ideas, perspectives, and experiences to the table.
Whilst diversity and inclusion are often used interchangeably, they are different. It’s important to note this because diversity without inclusion is not enough. You can have a diverse workplace, but without a culture to support it and all stakeholders being on board and cooperative, you will not experience the full benefits of your diversity and inclusion efforts. It is also important to understand the benefits diversity and inclusion can bring so that all stakeholders are committed to having this in their teams.
Benefits creating an inclusive, diverse workplace
When a workplace incorporates and supports diversity and inclusion, they can experience:
- Higher staff retention/lower staff turnover due to staff feeling recognised, appreciated, and valued
- Higher employee morale, job satisfaction, and motivation
- Higher productivity, due to the above points
- Improved company branding as they are seen as an inclusive and progressive workplace offering equal opportunities
- Improved organisational culture as inclusion policies make employees feel valued, accepted, and respected
Why does inclusion in the workplace actually drive performance?
Along with diversity in the workplace, inclusion can lead to:
Having the best talent for the job and bridging talent gaps
Not only does your talent pool open significantly when you are more inclusive and widen your talent search, your company will begin to attract and retain the best talent. Attracting more skilled applicants to job openings gives an organisation a competitive advantage of being able to choose the best people and the right fit.
Increased knowledge and more skills within an organisation
A diverse and inclusive workplace brings in a wider variety of talents, skills, backgrounds and experiences. Not only does this increase organisational knowledge and competencies, but it also allows employees to learn and grow from each other.
A challenge to the status quo
Diverse workplaces and people bring multiple perspectives and solutions to problems and ways of doing things, along with challenging and questioning each other and how things are done. Paired with the right, inclusive culture, it allows teams and organisations to move forward.
Improved employee performance
Companies that prioritise inclusion and diversity generally have happier employees and higher team morale due to them feeling more comfortable, equal, and confident that they are all accepted for who they are. The higher the morale is, the more productive employees are.
The ability to meet your customer base on their level and improve customer service
It’s not just about team members and employees interacting with each other; a diverse and inclusive organisation sees employees bringing their unique cultural backgrounds, language skills, personalities and experience to their roles which can be suitable for a larger variety of customers. This ability to operate in changing, expanding and global market places is a big competitive advantage for businesses.
An increase in innovation
Diversity within a group of people and employees brings diversity of thought to the table, and different backgrounds, skills and working styles leads to more opinions, ideas, and suggestions, along with the ability to execute on them. You are likely going to see new ideas and innovations come along with non-homogenous workplaces and environments.
Improved problem-solving and faster decision making
With a wider variety of perspectives available, more variables are covered in the decision-making process and can lead to more informed and faster decisions.
Generally speaking, companies that are more inclusive tend to be more flexible due to their diverse nature and the need for better communication and collaboration skills internally.
There are numerous benefits of diversity in the workplace, and it’s critical for businesses to ensure they have a culture and employees which are actively practicing and striving for an inclusionary environment.
If you would like to explore how improving your organisational inclusion and diversity could drive your team and company forward, how to ensure your recruiting methods reach and appeal to a diverse audience, or how to build pipelines of high quality, diverse talent, contact us today.