Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives are integral to any organization’s success, benefitting both employees and creating vibrant work environments.
Diversity refers to any distinctions in gender identity, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic class that exists among its population. By contrast, inclusion refers to all workers feeling accepted and valued for being themselves in the workplace.
Cultural humility is an approach to life that encourages individuals to recognize and acknowledge their biases and prejudices while seeking to understand people from other cultures. Additionally, cultural humility promotes respect for all individuals’ unique experiences, nurturing empathy in the workplace while preventing microaggressions or other forms of discrimination from happening in the first place.
Many organizations are beginning to prioritize cultural humility when it comes to their diversity efforts, in contrast to cultural competence models which tend to focus more heavily on gathering knowledge of minority cultures through goal-oriented training sessions. Both approaches must work hand-in-hand for creating an inclusive organization.
Establishing knowledge of various cultures is vital in creating equitable and welcoming workplace environments for all employees. But cultivating cultural humility goes much deeper than mere knowledge acquisition; developing such an ethos requires self-reflection skills to identify personal biases as well as methods for recognising and challenging the biases of others, along with mechanisms to place different worldviews on an equal playing field so as not to marginalise any worldview over another.
An effective way to foster cultural humility among employees is to offer training on the importance of understanding and accepting diversity at work, followed by discussion of various forms of cultural humility that can be implemented within a corporate setting – this might include encouraging story sharing among staff as well as creating opportunities for employee community curation.
Training should also emphasize the need for ongoing reflection on diversity and inclusion issues, whether that means personal reflection papers or group discussion groups; immersive learning opportunities could even include being exposed to various backgrounds, beliefs, opinions and experiences for a deeper understanding of the world around them.
Be Mindful of Multicultural Religious or Holiday Celebrations
As our society becomes ever more diverse and complex, organizations need a comprehensive strategy for Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Successful DEI initiatives help organizations build engaged workforces and foster an inclusive company culture while improving recruitment/retention/productivity/revenue increases.
As part of creating a workplace that welcomes all, it’s crucial that organizations recognize the various cultures and religious traditions. While it can be easy to get caught in the habit of only celebrating Christmas during this season, other cultural holidays like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Diwali occur that must also be acknowledged and celebrated appropriately if employees want them to feel included and show that the company cares about their wellbeing. Creating an inclusive work environment means acknowledging these celebrations so employees feel supported while showing how invested their company is in their wellbeing.
As part of an inclusive environment, it is also critical that there be a distinct distinction between diversity and inclusion. While diversity refers to the make-up of groups (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation etc), inclusion focuses on providing every person an environment in which they can achieve their full potential while feeling supported and comfortable.
Imagine three people all of equal height who all share equal opportunities – it would be unfair for one of them to climb a fence which another person could easily leap over because that one person was shorter. This scenario encapsulates what happens when companies do not value diversity and strive to ensure equal access for everyone.
Establishing a workplace that embraces all cultures and religions will allow employees to feel welcome and at home in their environment, encouraging them to open up about themselves as individuals while sharing their unique insights with colleagues. This approach can greatly increase productivity and creativity across your entire company as a result of greater team unity; particularly important as more millennials and Gen Z employees join the workforce; they need environments which embrace their values and beliefs.
Be Mindful of Implicit Biases
Studies conducted over decades have illustrated how implicit bias can change how people interact with one another. Implicit bias refers to any negative associations we form towards groups of people based on race, gender or age – often without our awareness – such as race, gender or age groups. While often occurring subconsciously, implicit bias can have profound impacts in the workplace. When people exhibit such strong associations against certain segments of society that they don’t even realize they’re acting negatively – for instance when someone assumes minority job candidates are less qualified than white counterparts; or when managers hire people they like over applicants from outside.
People can experience discrimination based on factors like ability, sexual orientation, religion and political views – often called “ableism” – which can have devastating repercussions in terms of career advancement. Managers may be unwilling to hire employees with disabilities due to concerns they require too many sick days for treatment, while people living with mental illness also frequently experience discrimination when trying to secure jobs or housing.
Becoming mindful of their unconscious associations can help people to overcome them and appreciate diversity. At work, diversity training may be useful in teaching employees how to avoid stereotypes and negative associations and how biases impact decisions. Furthermore, creating an environment in which workers can bring their authentic selves to work without feeling forced to put on a mask is also paramount for successful organizations.
Companies that prioritize DEI and take steps to ensure equal access and opportunity for all people have a distinct competitive edge over companies that fail to do so. Aside from helping attract top talent, diverse workforces tend to be more innovative and productive than homogenous workforces – according to Harvard Business Review research, diverse teams were 70 percent more likely to develop profitable new products and experience an increase in market share year over year.
Diversity, equity and inclusion are often used interchangeably but represent three separate concepts. Diversity encompasses all categories that distinguish individuals from one another such as race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age sexual orientation or disability status. Inclusion refers to active involvement by members of these groups within communities or populations while equity refers to fair and equal treatment regardless of identity amongst all its members.
Prioritizing DEI education is an integral step to becoming more inclusive for any business. Training employees on topics like cultural competency, implicit bias and anti-racism is vital to building an environment of inclusion within an organization.
Businesses should prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion when hiring employees. An inclusive workforce can have numerous benefits to businesses including improved analytical abilities and innovation as well as higher financial returns – according to research conducted by Cloverpop teams that are more diverse tend to perform better than their peers.
Unfortunately, workplace inclusivity remains challenging to achieve. Unconscious bias, lack of leadership skills, a “tick box” approach to diversity, and low prioritization all impede progress on equality’s path.
Companies should also prioritize creating an inclusive work environment by prioritizing employee engagement and retention strategies. Studies have proven that engaged workers tend to be more productive and loyal; similarly, keeping your best employees is also beneficial for maintaining productivity levels and loyalty within your workforce.
Implementing various strategies can help create an inclusive workplace, including setting diversity goals with measurable targets and conducting unconscious bias training for all employees. An employee resource group or mentoring program providing an avenue for employees from different demographics or professional backgrounds can also be effective, while adding an equity lens into policy discussions helps identify any possible differential treatment of protected classes or intersectional groups of employees. By surveying employees to gauge current state of inclusion within an organization’s workplaces, organizations can set priorities and move towards creating an environment of inclusion that benefits all.