Diversity and inclusion have become an important cornerstone of discussion not only across communities but within the workplace. It’s already been a focus for many companies, and with its rise in attention through social movements and shifting perspectives, its value and benefits within an organization continue to grow.
What is diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
While the two are often interconnected, diversity and inclusion are not the same thing. They work together to bring a new level of equity into a workspace, opening new doors to productivity and morale, but each serves a very distinct role in bringing about a greater harmony.
Diversity, in its simplest terms, means a company has a wide range of employees spanning racial, ethnic, gender and cultural backgrounds, with different lifestyles, experiences and interests being accepted.Inclusion, in turn, is when your company has put policies and procedures in place to ensure all people feel welcome, heard, and recognized. Both leaders and employees consistently demonstrate behaviors that allow different perspectives, opinions, and experiences to be respected.
Both boil down to a fundamental respect of the differences of others, but where diversity brings a broad range of people together, inclusion protects their right to be different. Diversity is about representation; inclusion is about value and integration.
Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion
Strong leaders know that their companies benefit from attracting, developing and retaining a diverse workforce, and fostering an inclusive environment. They recognize that these practices and policies not only help the bottom line, but the frontline, improving everything from revenue to morale.
A Better Bottom Line
According to studies, companies with executive teams that rank in the top 25 percent for being ethnically and racially diverse are likely to see financial returns of nearly 35 percent. Other studies show that companies with the smallest diversity gaps posted revenue growth nearly one-third greater than less diverse and inclusive businesses. Some of this profitability is the result of increased innovation and better collaborative process, while more diverse and inclusive companies also gain a stronger, more favorable public perception of the brand.
Stronger Internal Collaboration
A diverse team with an open platform to share ideas fosters new levels of innovation. When a team is homogenous, there is less room for outside of the box thinking, or perspectives outside of their own. Similar thinking and perspectives are more likely to display “groupthink”, while diverse teams in an inclusive environment provide perspectives that lead to better problem solving and decision-making since they can weigh issues from different viewpoints.
Stronger Morale, Stronger Loyalty
Organizations that are diverse and inclusive not only attract better talent, but keep them. Businesses with a strong diversity and inclusion policy show a higher emotional investment to their work and company, and are less likely to seek other opportunities. When team members feel heard they are more likely to contribute and excel in their role and grow with their company.
The Keys to Fostering a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace
Having a diverse and inclusive business is more than talking the talk. It takes work and commitment by everyone in the organization to not only create, but maintain an open and welcoming environment.
Recognize Unconscious Bias
Nearly everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various groups, usually as a result of an individual’s tendency to categorize. Often these biases are at odds with a person’s beliefs. The first step to overcoming these biases is to gain a greater awareness of them through open communication and a deeper look within one’s own self.
Adjust How you Listen and Communicate
Inclusion begins with communication. Letting someone speak isn’t enough. Listening to their thoughts and asking open-ended questions will allow a deeper understanding of their point of view, strengthening the dialogue and ultimate outcome of the conversation. It’s also important to understand that different people have different communication styles.
Show Your Colors
It’s important to understand what motivates an individual and drives their approach to both sharing and absorbing ideas for a more open line of dialogue. Understanding your Real Colors profile will help you engage with other color personalities to further develop stronger communication and avoid potential barriers and biases. Being aware of a person’s color profile helps you better understand what motivates them both rationally and emotionally so you can approach conversation in a more meaningful and productive way.
Are you looking to build a more inclusive and diverse workplace? Real Colors can help. Complete our Get Started form to connect with one of our experts today to learn how we can help your company unlock a more diverse and inclusive culture within your organization.