In recent years, the topic of diversity and inclusion (D&I) has become ever so crucial in many aspects of our lives. We saw a resurgent campaign for race equality, led by Black Lives Matter on the streets of the US. This campaign was then taken up by people around the world. Organizations that had previously put all their efforts on gender had to understand that diversity cannot be addressed separately.
This new wave has had ripple effects all around the world. And while the focus on race has become a priority, companies have also realized the importance of intersectionality. As an integral part of society, companies play a crucial role in creating a more diverse and inclusive environment for all. For this reason, creating equitable workplaces that serve all underrepresented groups and components of identity is imperative. We recommend you check out our suggestions on the Top 7 Books About Diversity and Inclusion to get you started.
What is Diversity and Inclusion?
Diversity refers to the characteristics of an individual, including, but not limited to, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, or parental status.
There are many more elements that make individuals diverse from one another than those mentioned above. Being aware of these broad categories can help companies identify gaps in diversity within their organizations. Simultaneously, it allows companies to have measurable metrics. To set goals. To make conscious and data-oriented efforts to boost diversity in the workplace.
One without the other
Diversity and inclusion are not the same. One of the challenges that companies often face is: using both of these terms interchangeably and trying to fix the issue solely via recruitment.
As mentioned above, diversity refers to the characteristics of an individual. It refers to the representation of all characteristics at all levels of the company.
On the other hand, inclusion refers to a feeling, to a person’s sense of belonging, in this case, regarding the company they work in. Quantifying feelings of inclusion can be rather challenging. Companies need to understand how to measure it and how to work towards a more inclusive workplace. Otherwise, all diversity efforts will lead to no impact or even negative impact. Companies need to understand that the narrative, along with the numbers, allows us to assess if diversity & inclusion initiatives are working.
Diversity alone doesn’t drive inclusion. In reality, diversity without inclusion can cause a backlash, also known as resistance. Existing employees can distrust new employees by believing they got their jobs due to the increasing adoption of diversity practices in the workplace and not purely out of merit. This can also cause a toxic environment and tension within the group. New employees now have to work harder to prove themselves and show their value.
As Vernā Myers once stated “diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” One never works without the other, being invited is never enough.
Why is It Important?
Both D&I are significant as they help drive trust and commitment within a group. This allows individuals to feel as though they belong somewhere. According to the Great Place to Work, D&I in the workplace causes a 5.4% increase in employee retention, improves readiness to innovate, and boosts revenue growth.
An inclusive environment has the ability to improve employee wellbeing and mental health. An article by Psychology Today states that “someone with high inclusiveness was about four times more likely to have high wellbeing, compared to someone with low inclusiveness”.
Diversity and Inclusion at SPEAK
Often it takes an outsider’s view to help companies identify their biases and lacking diversity and inclusion practices,. Which can be blindspots for those within the organization. For this reason SPEAK works alongside companies to support them in their D&I journey. SPEAK leverages its knowledge on creating inclusive cities and engaged communities,
Because there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach, SPEAK’s D&I program combines our expertise and knowledge with organizations’ needs and goals. Through this tailor made program, we support corporations in successfully driving change. We support companies to implement diversity and inclusion as a norm to prosper in a regenerative and sustainable manner.
Working directly with employees by means of transformational training and a collaborative approach, we create inclusive spaces for all. Throughout the journey, we challenge employees to stand in other people’s shoes and invite them to openly share their take on what is and is not working regarding diversity and inclusion.
To sum up, we strongly believe that D&I must be reframed as a core competence to achieve effectiveness and excellence in companies. Hence, we are here to help guide you and your company in this journey. Leading us to vibrant and productive workplaces where everyone’s voice is valued.
Diversity more than ever is necessary and an agenda that is being pushed by companies and talent. Quick fixes to this issue will ten to drive employees further away from the company.
Companies should appreciate their biases (where you unknowingly judge people based on stereotypes) and affinity bias (where you gravitate towards people who are like you) when hiring and also when promoting people to the next levels.
When diversity & inclusion are aligned, the efforts are set in place, a safe environment is created and people feel they can bring their full selves to work. This is when you know a real effort is being made.
This is when companies start seeing the benefits of D&I. People feel happier in their work environment, are more engaged and creative in their jobs. This means they are less likely to leave. As a result, companies see an increase in new products, new services that lead to higher revenues.
Achieving these results and benefits is not with a one-shot fix of diversity & inclusion, it takes continuous work inside the company as well as time and persistence.
Learn more and get a free copy of our D&I ebook at The Diversity & Inclusion Journey.