An organization having diversity at the workplace suggests that it is an equal opportunity employer to persons of any race, class, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity. It includes persons with physical and mental disabilities or insufficiency, within the scope of capabilities required to function at the workspace.
Inclusion is the culture that enables diverse groups or individuals to feel empowered, equal, and respected, ensuring their involvement in the organization.
The urgency for diversity and inclusion in the workspace has been acknowledged by most employers, to ensure growth and long-term sustainability. As per a Gartner report, more than 800 CEOs had signed the CEO Action Pledge for Diversity and Inclusion, yet only 36% of D&I leaders report that their organization has been effective at building a diverse workforce. This data is proof that without the conscious participation of employees and key stakeholders of the organization, diversity and inclusion initiatives cannot be successful.
Diversity is a different aspect from inclusion; diversity is about representation, while inclusion is about involvement, but both are interdependent for success. Diversity alone will foster a biased or toxic workplace, while inclusion alone will create a stagnant workplace lacking in innovation. Both working together can create winning workspaces!
The Impact of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) on the Top Line Revenues
D&I touches every function of an organization, and neglect in implementation has seen an impact on the net performance in every vertical:
- Recruitment and Hiring: The employees of today are informed and aware of practices and cultures across the industry. Prospective employees are tuning into employee reviews and industry chatter about workplaces. Employers offering diverse and inclusive workspaces are preferred. Organizations with no D&I implementation can encounter a rise in attrition levels accompanied by a dip in recruitment numbers. This can topple project delivery deadlines, impacting topline revenues.
- Employee Engagement and Culture: Employee engagement is directly related to how an employee feels at the workplace. A diverse workforce brings in creativity and experiences which are unique and valued. How an organization relates to and engages its diverse workforce is what inclusion defines. Having to hide one’s actual self, cultural values, sexual orientation, or social state from your co-workers and managers every day, fearing discriminative action is detrimental to performance. Organizations, where D&I culture is non-existent or partially implemented, will see a negative impact on employee motivation and performance. The drop in productivity can be significant, thus directly impacting customer retention and topline revenues.
- Performance Evaluation: An evaluation system that is unfair and based on racial, sexual, or other biases can be a root cause for unrest in an organization. Women and people of color have been facing this discrimination for decades. If one has to compete on tasks with others but is evaluated on gender or color, it is cause for extreme discontent! Organizations that encourage or ignore such existing practices will have to face unrest of disgruntled employees. A culture of insecurity is created, enabling workplace bullying, thus becoming toxic and challenging to return to every day. Unrest and attrition are the byproducts that will adversely affect company image, deliverables, and top line revenues.
- Leadership and Management: Diversity brings the complexity of ideas, ensuring better decision-making into leadership. It is a knowledge-based behavior, strengthening strategizing and implementation. People identify with those similar to them. Often organizations have diversity at the bottom levels that vanish at the leadership level, thus losing the opportunity for problem-solving and innovation with relation to employee issues. It has been proved that organizations without diverse leadership in middle and top management tend to be less productive due to, a lack of creativity, flexibility, and originality, directly impacting topline revenues.
The solution to increasing topline revenue is easy – Incorporate diversity and inclusion at every step!
- Rewrite recruitment practices: To hire a workforce with diversity of age, color, and gender rewrite the organizational recruitment policies with diversity practices at the center of every step. The recruitment policies have to be strategic, focused, and reaching out to the talent belonging to diverse groups. Publicize it on your website and create an industry buzz around your fair hiring practices to attract the right talent.
- Keep employees at the center of D&I initiatives: Employees should get a sense of inclusion with psychological protection and emotional well-being in the workplace to give their best. Create practices and policies which revolve around the inclusion of diverse groups, starting from onboarding. Retain talent with inclusivity policies embedded in business processes. Use skill coaching and buddy systems for new hires. Women and gender inclusivity policies have to include grievance helplines and non-threatening culture. Instill a practice of equality in project assignments and leadership training initiatives. Often the path of growth and continuity is not visible to women and minority group employees within the organization. Engage and retain diverse employees with growth clarity through Peer coaching.
- Make D&I visible in the organization: Consider it an affirmative action and make D&I openly visible to everyone in the organization. Practice it through rewards and recognition and culture-building initiatives. Protect and inform diverse employees from discrimination with clearly published organizational and legal policies. Include disability inclusion in organizational strategizing. Biases are views nurtured through years of upbringing. Changing employee mindset to acceptance is a lengthy and time-consuming process. Peer Coaching is a powerful tool to change biases. Use these new-age solutions to bring inclusion into every vertical of your organization.
- Implement diversity at top and lower management of the organization: Coach diverse employees into managerial and leadership roles. Implement internal recruitment processes to ensure sexual and racial equality in top management. A diverse top-management team brings better creativity, strategy, and innovation to the organization and client-based initiatives.
Re-orient your organization on a journey of diversity and inclusion today and see the positive outcomes in topline revenues!