Many organizations are realizing the need for actionable diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to increase employee engagement, boost profitability and access a larger talent pool. The benefits can include employee satisfaction gains as well as improved profitability and accessing more talent pools.
DEI encompasses more than just diversity in the workplace; rather, its focus lies on making sure employees of all identities feel welcomed into company culture and mission. This means addressing how different facets of identity intersect or overlap – for instance when gender meets race or sexual orientation meets disability.
Gender diversity is integral to business success in an increasingly female-dominated world. Companies who fail to focus on recruiting, retaining, and promoting female employees miss out on valuable perspectives, ideas, and energy that come from hiring diverse talent.
Gender diversity refers to an organization’s efforts in representing men and women equally in all aspects of its activities, from hiring practices and team memberships to equal pay and benefits for both genders. Gender equity also encompasses transgender individuals as well as those who identify non-binarily in the workplace.
Unfortunately, many companies that prioritize gender diversity struggle to make real and lasting progress in this area. One reason may be due to focusing solely on women when making changes; such an approach often proves ineffective at driving change. To truly make progress towards gender diversity goals, both men and women must participate actively – gender should be seen as something which affects all individuals involved, not simply women alone.
Companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion will likely foster an inclusive culture, making them better equipped to attract talent and serve customers. Furthermore, studies show that gender-diverse firms tend to be more profitable.
Though some strides have been taken toward closing the global gender gap, it remains significant and far from closed – particularly at senior levels and within customer-facing teams. According to one recent study, only 37% of managers and 30% of senior executives at top companies were female.
Gender diversity doesn’t just impact women; it affects all groups of employees and communities. That is why the IOE is committed to supporting policies and practices that support gender equality for both women and men alike. Our members can use us as a resource in making their business case for gender equality while getting assistance in creating more gender-inclusive environments both internally within their organizations as well as externally in communities they serve.
Most workers understand it is crucial for their workplace to reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of their community, especially younger workers aged 18-29 who are more likely than those over 50 to see diversity as extremely or very important for themselves. Furthermore, women are more likely than men to regard having an inclusive workforce as something worth striving towards.
People generally believe that businesses with diverse workforces perform better. According to a 2020 study by Boston Consulting Group, companies with 30 percent or more female executives were 19 percent more profitable than non-diverse ones. Unfortunately, though achieving diversity initiatives takes time. Businesses must set long-term goals for themselves and incentivize managers who actively work toward these efforts.
An essential aspect of increasing racial diversity lies in developing employees who are skilled at responding to racism and bias when encountered, including training on topics such as anti-racism governing practices, past discriminatory actions and inequities, sources of privilege and power and how to address conversations on these subjects.
Senior leaders need to speak out about racial diversity and inequalities that affect BAME individuals within their company, which should be seen as part of any leader’s responsibility, not only HR. This will normalize the discussion and make it a top priority across the business.
Business should provide mentoring programs to promote racial diversity. Mentoring programs have proven highly successful at increasing BAME employees in leadership positions, as well as creating more inclusive workplace cultures. Studies demonstrate how mentoring programs significantly boost representation of minority employees at managerial echelons.
No matter the size of a company, having someone or more officials dedicated to monitoring diversity policy enforcement is crucial. They should be trustworthy and respected by staff members – this could include someone from the executive board, department heads or employee relations staff – so as to ensure that initiatives implemented to tackle diversity are working as intended.
Disability diversity is one of the least-represented groups in corporate culture, yet when companies focus on increasing diversity and inclusion initiatives they often forget to include it as part of these efforts. A recent study showed that only four percent of companies include disability in their DEI efforts.
People with disabilities have long contributed to society, yet often go unrecognized. Furthermore, they face discrimination which may leave them with feelings of inferiority and isolation.
Organizations should take great care in prioritizing disability inclusivity by adopting DEI policies and practices that ensure all employees can access accommodations to help them feel more at home in their workplaces.
Employing a diverse workforce also ensures that the company reflects the communities it serves, creating a more welcoming and respectful experience for end-users, while increasing chances of attracting and retaining talented and skilled employees – leading to improved financial returns for the business.
One of the greatest obstacles facing companies that promote disability diversity is avoiding being seen as insensitive or uncaring, especially if hiring more people with disabilities or making changes to existing processes increases. Therefore, it is imperative for organizations to communicate the value of their efforts both internally and externally, setting clear expectations and goals for themselves as leaders and employees alike.
Education of employees on disability inclusion is one of the best ways to create real change. Furthermore, encouraging employees from marginalized communities to act as resources for other employees so that everyone has a clear understanding of its importance and what support mechanisms exist to foster its success.
Make use of this research-based framework in your DEI plan for an inclusive workplace by including it into your DEI plan. Doing so will increase impact and your odds of meeting or exceeding inclusion quotas. Disability diversity benefits far outweigh its costs; all businesses should take steps to eliminate bias and foster inclusivity.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) employees need to feel supported at work by both leadership and culture; regardless of whether they’re involved with same-sex relationships or not. An inclusive workplace that supports LGBTQ diversity will gain the support of this community as well as likely gain appreciation from other minority groups who see it as evidence of inclusive practices.
Many companies make a splash with their diversity initiatives during Pride Month or events commemorating LGBTQ history and heritage, yet creating a truly inclusive workplace takes ongoing work that should occur year round. One key challenge involves finding ways to ensure senior people mentor and sponsor LGBTQ employees as they do other underrepresented communities – without this support they often struggle to advance into leadership positions themselves.
Training employees on how their words and actions may harm members of the LGBTQ community as well as ways they can be allies is also an essential strategy, particularly with regards to using language such as “they,” “their,” and “them.” Incorporating all-gender bathrooms, making clear that all forms of non-binary and gender neutral pronouns are welcome among employees, and creating an environment with meritocratic culture will all contribute towards creating an inclusive working environment for LGBTQ employees.
Attracting workplace diversity has many exciting benefits; however, it’s essential that employees recognize equality and inclusion are two different concepts. While equality involves offering equal rights and opportunities to all, inclusion goes further by offering different levels of support based on an individual’s needs and abilities. A focus on equity helps employees realize their full potential at work while reaching success through equality at work. PolicyLink offers this resource on equality vs inclusion that provides further clarification of this topic.