As per a McKinsey survey, racially and culturally diverse workplaces outperform by 35%. Diversity in a company means adding and including a workforce from different backgrounds. An inclusive and diverse workplace is a major asset as it helps understand the abilities of every employee and the potential they hold. Appreciating the differences of every employee brings everyone together towards a developing, growing, unbiased and successful workplace culture.
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What is diversity in the workplace?
According to a Glassdoor survey, 67% of job applicants considered a diverse workforce when looking for job offers. Around 57% of employees want their companies to be more diverse.
Workplace diversity is accepting, respecting, and appreciating the abilities and differences that every employee brings to the workplace. A diverse workspace features an inclusive workplace atmosphere that offers equal opportunities for all staff members, irrespective of their color, age, sexual orientation, experience, disability, religious belief, gender, and ethnicity.
With time, companies are integrating diversity in their workplace to offer equal opportunities to all their employees and a discrimination-free workplace. Employers are taking all possible measures to avoid employee harassment, discrimination, and disadvantage in the workspace. This involves appreciating workplace diversity and ensuring a workplace is free from gender, racial, and cultural biases and bullying.
Why is a diverse workplace important?
In the current, globally connected world, workplace diversity has become necessary for companies to show their dedication to embracing difference.
Most companies today are global, reaching people all over the world. Companies require a diverse workforce to successfully develop, promote and sell their products in this global market. Here are some benefits of a diverse workplace:
- Enhanced productivity: Workplace diversity creates space for more ideas and practices. The diverse talent adds a wide range of abilities amongst employees. It also adds diversity of points of view and experience that boosts productivity.
- Better creativity: With people from different backgrounds and cultures working together, the scope of creativity is high. This is because the company has more people to offer unique solutions and perspectives to a problem, offering opportunities for a better solution.
- Boost in cultural awareness: Diversity in culture in the workspace helps companies manage nuances across the globe. If a company works in China, having Mandarin staff is an asset and can enhance workplace relations.
- Good reputation: Organizations with a diverse workplace are regarded as good employers. With a 1.4 billion population in India, diversity doesn’t just mean hiring females but also a culturally, linguistically, and socioeconomically diverse workforce with unique physical abilities and different sexual orientations. A company with such diverse staff is said to be fair.
Acquiring workplace diversity means bringing out the best of your work staff and helping them work using their best potential. As per a recent report from Avtar Group, diversity hiring witnessed a jump of 32% in 2020 from 23% the previous year.
Types of diversity in the workplace
IMA India’s study on diversity and inclusion marked companies with 30% or more diversity as high diversity organizations and those with 12% or less as low diversity organizations.
As per the standard meaning of diversity, the forms of diversity in the world are infinite. It includes every characteristic which is different in a group of people. But, generally speaking, when you talk about workplace diversity, here are the seven major types of diversity in the workplace.
Gender means the roles created in society that involve identities like male, female and neutral gender. Most people enjoy a completely different experience with a different gender. Hence having a workplace with diverse gender can bring in several benefits. For instance, having different genders in one place can motivate staff to different aspects that relate to gender and learn to respect different genders.
To emerge as a gender-diverse company, it is important to equalize the gender pay gap, where women workers are paid less for the same task than men. Secondly, it is suggested to avoid using gender-binary language as it may hurt people from other genders, like non-binary or transgender.
In India, gender diversity has grown with more and more women being a part of the team. The numbers have risen from 25% in 2016 to 34% in 2020. Their mentoring increased from 75% in 2016 to 96% in 2020.
Sexual orientation is a personal affair, and their professional life has no relation to it. Employees should feel free and safe to express their orientation at their workplace without facing any differentiation and harassment there.
The LGBTQ community includes people with different interests from different backgrounds. A company should ensure 100% security of people belonging to this group. It will help make the workplace more inclusive and welcoming. Ensure that people of sexual orientation feel at ease working in your workplace.
Major sexual orientations involve bisexual, gay, heterosexual, lesbian, asexual, and questionable. While most of the terms are acknowledged in the workplace, LGBTQ employees still face discrimination.
Hence, it is suggested that employers learn about the laws related to LGBTQ employees and educate everyone in the organization about it.
Disability involves physical or mental disability that affects the ability of a person to do a specific job. Disabilities impact your mobility, vision, hearing, and work efficiency. Adding diversity with regards to disability can help to make a workplace more inclusive and welcoming to everyone of all ability levels. It helps to develop a company’s positive reputation, especially in front of its clients and guests.
While ethnicity refers to a person’s shared social, cultural, language and beliefs, nationality refers to the country to which an employee belongs. The regional background of a person is different from the other person.
Often people discriminate based on nationality. They don’t want anyone other than their nationality to work with them, leading to a toxic and non-inclusive working environment. This badly impacts employee morale and eventually a company’s bottom line.
However, accepting people from different nationalities will open doors for companies to establish relations in different countries and make the workplace more inclusive, warm, and welcoming.
Culture includes a unique ethnic background of a person, which showcases the traits in which they grew, the values they learn, and the cultural norms.
Cultural diversity is significant in a workplace, especially when a company has clients in different nations. A culturally diverse workforce educates employees to respect people from all cultures when working together.
With a culturally diverse workplace, employees can learn about other cultures and show appreciation and interest for their colleague’s identities. It enhances morale and fosters collaboration by developing a respectful workplace environment.
Education differs all over the world, and with education comes experience. The influence of law, government requirements, and training add to a worker’s experience. And it differs in every place. Hence, to add people of different experiences, education can help to give your company the diversity that will take it miles.
Some companies may need people with higher and lower degrees and a workforce with fresher and more experienced staff. Rather than discriminating depending on their experience, it is important to leave the door open to everyone.
Whether someone has formal or informal education, work from home experience, or office experience, different levels of knowledge and experience will add to the company’s contribution.
People naturally have different abilities and strengths depending on their personal and professional experience. Having a workplace with people with different experiences creates a positive culture that supports employees to thrive and grow in their roles.
7. Economic strata
Employees in an organization come from different economic backgrounds and have unique perspectives on different aspects of life, such as money, education, and social status. For instance, if someone was poor and has struggled to reach this job position, they will have a different viewpoint compared to someone who has enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. Hiring people from all economic strata is essential and ensuring no employee is judged.
Having a diverse workplace helps to boost productivity and eventually enhance your bottom line. Diversity is not just about hiring people of different nationalities, gender, experiences, and culture. Everyone should feel secure, welcome, and free in the workplace.
Building an inclusive workplace
According to HBR, diverse organizations have a 70% higher chance of capturing new markets. Thus, companies aim to promote diversity and inclusion in workplace culture. It works as a win-win for them, employees, and society. Here is a step-by-step guide to building an inclusive workplace:
Start with educating the leaders
The managers and executives will help your D&I efforts. Eventually, the leader works on the front line with employees. Hence, their experience can make or break a D&I initiative.
Hence, companies should roll out mandatory coaching for people at the executive and managerial levels. It will help them learn the basics of inclusion and its importance. One-on-one or group coaching will help discuss strategies to bring it into the organization.
Managers at every level should undergo coaching in unconscious bias to avoid making judgments about people on race, gender, and other aspects without even realizing it. The coaching helps them recognize such bias and acknowledge the importance of adopting inclusive behavior.
It further helps the managers to make better decisions about workers and adopt a D&I filter into those decisions to ensure everything is impartial and appropriate.
Develop an inclusion council
Companies can develop a dedicated group of 8 to 10 leaders who are passionate and dedicated to inclusion. These members should roll up their sleeves to set goals around recruitment, retaining and promoting a diverse workforce, and addressing issues amongst the underrepresented workforce.
Ensure the council is diverse with members from different genders, nationalities, experiences, cultures, and business functions.
Checklist for inclusivity for HR
- Ensure the leaders know that inclusion is all about listening to everyone’s voice, considering everyone’s opinion, and valuing every team member.
- Train managers to exhibit that inclusivity is a major competency.
- Appreciate differences and promote an environment where employees are comfortable showcasing their “real selves.”
- Recognize the underrepresented groups’ requirements and address their needs.
- Offer workers a safe space to work
- Promote daily interaction as it is the best sign to determine if the company has an inclusive workspace.
Respect employee differences
A good way to show employees that you appreciate and acknowledge their background and culture is to ask them to share their traits in the workspace. A company can promote inclusiveness in several ways:
- Setting up a prayer or meditation room. Give them 15 minutes off for a Friday prayer. The inclusion will help them bring their full selves to work.
- Create a small HR office for isolated employees. Companies can set up an HR office for work-from-home employees or workers on different floors to have private conversations with their leaders.
Diversity in the team helps with higher creativity, improved decision-making, and eventually more returns. But, inclusion connects the workforce to the company and is one of the major reasons for retaining workers.
Listen to your workers
Companies conduct surveys to understand employees and develop groups to handle inclusion issues. Host a complete assessment of the company’s demographics and develop strategies to boost diversity and inclusiveness.
Make sure the leaders know what employees need and what makes them comfortable. Just being heard is important for the workforce. It makes them feel valued, important and safe.
Share goals and assess progress
Set clear communication about specific, quantifiable, and time-bound objectives. If engagement is measurable, it leads to better efficiency.
Every company should benchmark its culture before they start investing in it. Perform a complete audit of your employee procedures from recruitment to developing and retaining. Acknowledge the shortcomings and measure differences. See how the diverse workforce works inclusively towards a goal.
Importance of a diverse and inclusive workplace
Diversity and inclusion are extremely important today as a healthy variation of people from different cultures, fields, and backgrounds offer companies the perfect balance of thoughts and diversity of voices.
However, even to date, not many companies have a healthy diversity of people working for them. This is one thing which should be changed. Some points showcase the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Research reveals the importance of a diverse and inclusive workplace.
- Better revenue generation
- Higher ability to innovate
- Enhanced ability to hire a diverse talent
- Increase in employee retention up to 5.4 times
Inclusion in the workplace is a major ingredient for retention. If employees don’t feel valued or their contribution given importance by the company, they ultimately leave. As per research, when employees know that they are being treated fairly irrespective of their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or experience, they are:
- They look forward to going to regular work 9.8 times more.
- They take pride in their work 6.3 times more
- They stay in the company 5.4 times more.
More creativity and innovation
Developing a workplace with workers with different experiences, backgrounds, ethnicity, and skills means that there will be better innovative ideas. It can positively impact your business in the long run. Employees will feel safe and comfier sharing their ideas with their team.
Add a wide range of skills.
Hiring a diverse workforce gives businesses the luxury of wider perspectives. So, companies can enjoy a more diverse brainstorming and problem-solving session.
Boost in business
Diversity and inclusion are factors that most candidates look forward to when applying for a job. If a business has people from all backgrounds, candidates feel more welcomed. This helps businesses to recruit efficient talent, ensuring the best skills remain in the company.
Working in a diverse and inclusive environment makes employees comfortable and happier. Employees flourish in their roles and seek better opportunities, allowing businesses to thrive overall.
Teamwork and collaboration enhance productivity. A diverse team offers varied experiences and skills and helps co-workers learn from one another. Better productivity means more ideas are being exchanged, and businesses can grow in a short time against companies that don’t have a diverse and inclusive team.
How can uExcelerate help?
It may be challenging to implement diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace. However, once the doors are open, employees actually feel like they belong to the company. It enhances retention and productivity, thus taking businesses to new heights.
uExcelerate is the ideal digital leadership coaching platform that helps businesses seamlessly build a coaching culture in their company. The SaaS-based platform allows companies to scale coaching and build a coaching culture that promotes a diverse and inclusive environment. The coaches at uExcelerate ensure that they resolve the workplace’s pain points and help develop the organization into the best version of itself.
Depending on the needs of the workplace, a right-fit coach can be selected to help you build a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. The coach interacts with leaders and managers in one-on-one or group coaching sessions to reinforce an inclusive culture. This helps managers create an environment where the employees’ inputs and contributions to the company are valued irrespective of their backgrounds.
So, if a company wants to take its DE&I initiatives forward, it should find a suitable coach and program for its plan. Developing a diverse and inclusive workplace culture is challenging, but the payoff is worth it. By adopting inclusion and diversity, employees will feel safer working in a workplace and stay in the company for longer.
So, choose uExcelerate as your one-stop solution to meet your coaching needs and foster customized talent development for your company. Reach out to us at [email protected] to find out more.