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Diversity and inclusivity in the workplace is not a new concept, but it is one of the practices that organizations are still making adjustments for. With this, companies are keeping up by paying more attention to their policies and programs that promote diversity and inclusivity.
A Harvard Business Review article revealed that more than 1,600 CEOs have signed onto the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Pledge, which is a project that aims to encourage the business community to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace.
Moreover, an increasing number of HR leaders claimed that they prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts 1.8 times higher in 2020 than in 2019.
This shows that companies are taking sizable measures to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in their workplaces. Although diversity and inclusion are two interconnected concepts, they differ in meaning and objectives.
Diversity in the workplace refers to the representation of employees with different backgrounds and characteristics, such as different gender, race, and ethnicity. Meanwhile, inclusivity in the workplace means employees feel welcome and valued for their contributions regardless of their affiliations.
It’s important to remember that diversity doesn’t always translate to inclusive work environments.
Therefore, organizations must conduct cross-cultural training to teach employees how to effectively work together with people from varying backgrounds.
Our previous article on ‘ESL Teachers’ explained that learning how to eliminate stereotypes and unconscious biases and understanding and developing strategies to work effectively with people of different cultures is important to become a better individual and professional at work.
Moreover, gender inclusivity is not limited to male and female employees but also includes members of the LGBTQIA+ community. An article by business and lifestyle writer James Gonzales shared that over 40% of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals experienced employment harassment and mistreatment at work, and 90% of transgender people also suffered from ill-treatment in their careers.
Apart from offering cross-cultural training, organizations must establish non-discrimination policies, which include sexual orientations, to provide a safer and more inclusive environment for employees from LGBTQIA+ communities.
One of the benefits of adopting an inclusive culture in workplaces is that it increases productivity and business performance. The article by Samiksha Chaudhuri on the importance of inclusiveness shared that companies with inclusive practices generate up to 30% higher revenue per employee and greater profitability than their competitors.
Moreover, companies with gender inclusivity were 21% more likely to generate above-average profitability, while companies practicing ethnic diversity have profitability increase up to 33%. This happens because diverse and inclusive teams have a broader set of experiences and skills, which is beneficial in solving problems and creating innovative ideas.
If organizations are diverse and inclusive, they can also easily adapt and evolve along with the continuously changing society.
Another benefit of inclusivity is that it promotes better employee engagement. A survey revealed that millennials are 83% more engaged within a company with inclusive practices. If employees are engaged, they’ll be more motivated to perform tasks that benefit the organization and more likely to speak positively about the company to other people.
Engaged employees will also be more open to discussing their ideas during meetings because they know their opinions will be heard. Lastly, better employee engagement results in lower employee turnover. The same survey explained that companies with higher levels of diversity have 22% lower turnover rates.
This is important because higher employee turnover can reflect badly on the company and will incur expenses in training new employees.
Founder of Cheryl Obal & Associates
Cheryl Obal & Associates is a cross-cultural training and consulting company that helps businesses improve their cross-cultural competence.
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