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Best Diversity & Inclusion Practices to Focus on in 2020

Diversity and inclusion includes a company’s mission, purpose and practices to support a diverse workplace and leverage the effects of diversity to achieve a competitive business advantage.

Workplace diversity has become one of the biggest challenges and top priorities for recruiters and other human resource departments.

What is the Difference Between Diversity and Inclusion?

In order to set up clear diversity and inclusion strategies, it is critical for companies to understand the main difference between diversity and inclusion.

The definition of diversity

Diversity includes any dimension used to differentiate groups and people from one another. In regards to diversity in the workplace, the Council for Inclusion in Financial Services focuses mainly on appreciating and respecting what makes employees different in terms of age, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, education, disability, and national origin.

Every employee in an organization brings with them a different set of beliefs, perspectives, thoughts, and ideas which helps employers have different views on various business challenges and opportunities.

In this day and age, it is crucial for employers to recognize the benefits of these differences and learn to respect and value each individual in order to build a better employee experience company culture.

The definition of inclusion

Inclusion, on the other hand, includes organizational efforts to make employees of all backgrounds feel welcomed, and equally treated.

Inclusive organizational culture makes people feel respected and valued for who they are as an individual or group. Employees who feel welcomed are often much more committed to their work, are more motivated and have higher levels of employee engagement.

The process of inclusion focuses on making people feel valued and important for company’s success. When people feel valued and appreciated, they function at full capacity and feel part of the organisation’s mission and core company values.

Top Advantages of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

It’s important for organizations to have resources focused on training efforts towards attracting the right employees with the best minds, skills and experience. In today’s competitive hiring landscape, this may challenge employers to look beyond the traditional talent acquisition and recruitment methods.

Accelerate business growth and financial performance

McKinsey’s research on diversity showed that companies with more diverse culture, gender and ethnicity outperform organizations that don’t support diversity.

Increase innovation and creativity

Workplace diversity is essential for innovation and creativity within organizations. Companies can bring different views and ideas into the everyday business by having employees from different backgrounds.

Improve a company’s reputation

Companies that concentrate on promoting diversity in the workplace are perceived as more human and socially responsible organizations.

Also, encouraging diversity and inclusion is proof of organization’s morale, empathy, and fairness. These type of characteristics are usually very attractive to Millenials and younger generations.

Make more informed business decisions

In addition to flattening the org chart and  developing an agile organizational culture, diversity is one of the critical factors for better business decision making.

Attract high-quality employees

According to Deloitte, 67% of people looking for jobs use diversity as an important factor when considering companies and job offers.

Improve knowledge distribution

A diverse workplace often means deeper knowledge on various business operations. Consequently, employers that support the culture of diversity are more likely to transcend knowledge sharing practices inside their organizations.

Improve employee engagement

It’s common knowledge in most industries that workplace diversity improves employee engagement.

Decrease employee turnover

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace creates an environment where all employees feel accepted, respected, and valued. As the result, employees feel more fulfilled and ultimately stay longer with their companies. Businesses with diverse workforces generally have lower turnover rates.

Increase employee empowerment

According to Salesforce research on diversity, workers who feel their opinion is heard at work are almost five-times more probable to feel empowered to deliver their best effort.

Increase employee loyalty

Salesforce research also asserts that employees who say their company presents equal opportunities are nearly four times more inclined to say they are happy to work for their organization.

Top Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices

Many businesses are not knowledgeable of some of the best practices to follow, even though they are trying to create and manage diverse workplaces.

Below are some of the most effective diversity and inclusion best practices.

Establish a feeling of belonging

Building the sense of belonging is imperative for employees to bring the best out of them. Possessing a sense of belonging is one the most powerful psychological needs that must be met in order for employees to feel united with their employers and companies.

Be fair towards all employees

Balance is one of the fundamental necessities for employees to feel valued and accepted. Unbalanced salaries and benefits packages for employees from different backgrounds can lead to toxic workplace culture and a shortage of diversity.

Offer equal growth opportunities

Opportunity to advance is one of the main determinants that attract and keep talent within companies. Therefore, employers need to be careful about offering fair and equal growth and career advancement opportunities to their employees.

Rewrite your job descriptions and job ads

The language you use in your job posting makes a big difference in bringing in more diverse talent.

Research on job postings found that using more masculine words like “ambitious” and “dominate” was less appealing to female applicants.

Support innovation and creativity

If innovation and creativity are not one of your principal company goals, it will be hard to develop and sustain workplace diversity. In order to create a diverse workplace, companies must encourage creativity inside their organizations.

Educate employees on diversity and inclusion

Upper-level management being aware of what diversity and inclusion means for business success and the company’s reputation isn’t enough. Employees need to be educated about the benefits and best practices regarding diversity and inclusion in order to support its initiatives and allow it to work in the organization.

Support teamwork and collaboration

Teamwork and collaboration are what employees expect from their employers to support. Therefore, in order to attract and keep a more diverse workforce within your organization, collaboration should be one of your main company core values.

Support flexibility in the workplace

Offering flexible work locations and hours helps you attract and retain more diverse employees.

Restructure your recruitment process

Focusing on what company candidates worked at or what school they went during the recruitment process can often lead to a decrease in the diversity of the candidate pipeline. But, a reliable and valid personality assessments is a great instrument to gauge candidates’ character traits, motivations, and talents.

Promote diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organization

In order for diversity and inclusion initiatives to work, all levels of your company’s hierarchy need to understand and support it.

Communicating Diversity and Inclusion

You need to have a solid employee communication strategy in place in order for the company’s diversity and inclusion plan to thrive. Every employee should be on the same page when it comes to understanding the advantages of having a diverse workplace. The organization’s diversity and inclusion leadership should also be shared with employees since they can act as ambassadors.

When your own employees share content externally on how you promote diversity, you can set your company apart from your competitors and it will support your goal of attracting more talent.

What is the Best Way to Measure Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Even though diversity and inclusion efforts are not easy to measure or scale, some of the most popular success metrics include:

  • Employee engagement
  • Employee morale
  • Employee productivity

Managment and executive leadership teams are being held responsible for their diversity and inclusion programs performance through:

  • Business/department reviews
  • Salary increases
  • Performance reviews
  • Bonuses
  • Promotions
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