There is a common misperception that diversity efforts automatically lead to inclusion, but this may not always be the case.
Diversity doesn’t guarantee everyone feels welcome at your company; for instance, women or people of color might be well represented but still feel excluded from key leadership positions and other aspects.
What is Diversity Equity and Inclusion?
Diversity, equity and inclusion are terms commonly used in the workplace to describe how companies value different perspectives and experiences. Although many use these terms interchangeably, each term has specific meaning. For instance, an organization which hires many women of various genders, races and nationalities may be considered diverse but not inclusive – inclusion involves making everyone feel welcome and valued for their unique viewpoint; providing equal opportunities for people to participate and influence all aspects of a business; as well as addressing and preventing unconscious biases or microaggressions.
Understanding the difference between these concepts is crucial for prioritizing diversity and creating an inclusive workplace that feels welcoming for everyone. A company that employs diverse employees but excludes women from senior positions does not promote inclusivity; therefore it is vital to have ongoing conversations about inclusion as part of company culture, along with trainings and resources dedicated to this cause.
Diversity refers to any factor that distinguishes one person from another – race, religion, ethnicity, sex, age and sexual orientation are just a few examples – that makes each of us unique; inclusion aims to recognize these differences while creating an environment in which each of us can flourish rather than simply survive.
To be truly inclusive, a company must do more than hire and promote from diverse backgrounds; they must ensure everyone is included in decision-making processes. This requires creating a framework which incorporates equity into all areas of an organization such as talent screening and hiring practices, promotion practices and workplace standards – as well as continuously promoting it via diversity committees, ongoing education efforts and budget allocation for speakers or workshops on specific topics.
Establishing an inclusive workplace takes dedication from leaders at every level of an organization, but its benefits are clear based on research on companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion over those that don’t.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives not only foster a more productive work culture but are also good for business. Studies demonstrate that organizations that prioritize DEI are better equipped to attract and retain top talent, innovate more quickly, make informed business decisions faster, foster collaboration across teams and departments and become more efficient overall. As more people recognize its benefits, organizations must take proactive steps in order to create more equitable workplace environments.
Workers tend to support DEI initiatives, although their attitudes vary according to demographic and partisan factors. Overall, half of workers believe focusing on race, ethnicity and gender diversity in the workplace is good; Black and Hispanic workers are more likely to say this than white workers.
Diversity encompasses many facets of an individual’s identity, such as race, sex, gender, age, nationality, religion, education, sexual orientation and physical ability. This type of diversity is known as intersectionality – when diverse identities overlap and intersect one with the other – for instance a Black woman who identifies as queer may experience something similar to what a White male with disability might experience.
Though diversity of perspectives in the workplace is essential, many companies struggle to implement comprehensive diversity practices. Their efforts may be hindered by an inability to detect and address bias during hiring processes or lack of training to identify and respond to microaggressions.
Organizations may hesitate to adopt new policies or practices due to fears that these will negatively affect productivity or cause discomfort for certain employee groups. No matter the reason, organizations must remain transparent regarding their efforts to foster equity within their workplaces; Salesforce–a technology company known for prioritizing DEI–publicly reports its progress on implementing diversity equity measures while having a Chief Equality Officer dedicated solely to this cause.
Transparency in the workplace includes offering salary data, creating employee resource groups based on identity and providing diversity and inclusion training. While not every worker may have access to all these opportunities, six in ten say their workplace provides some form of DEI promotion.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion in the Hiring Process
Diverse employees comprise diversity at an organization. Such diversity could include different races, ethnicities, genders, ages, sexual orientations, religious beliefs, disability status or socioeconomic standing; thus creating a welcoming culture. Businesses which value diversity will likely attract an expanded pool of applicants as they foster equity and inclusion across their staff.
Create an inclusive work environment through hiring practices. Focusing too heavily on job-related qualifications like experience and education may limit applicants from underrepresented groups; prioritizing cultural fit over skills fit is also often detrimental in finding ideal candidates for each role. By employing technology to support diversity and inclusion efforts, companies can increase diversity on interview panels while assuring all candidates feel welcome at their workplace.
Leaders need to establish clear goals when it comes to diversity and inclusion goals for their company, so it is crucial that they define what success means for them in terms of recruitment, training, retention rates for underrepresented groups as well as setting measurable targets for recruitment, training and retention rates at an acceptable rate. It is also necessary to assess current state diversity through demographic data analyses regarding hiring, training and retention rates of current employees at a given company.
Workers generally perceive their workplace to value racial, ethnic and age diversity and offer programs or trainings on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Unfortunately, some employers may not be taking enough steps towards DEI initiatives.
Some workplaces may hire DEI champions who are dedicated to diversifying their workplace, but without enough resources to implement an exhaustive DEI plan, it’s vital that these champions prioritize meeting team member needs instead of engaging in ineffective or counterproductive activities. DEI efforts tend to succeed best when management and staff take an equal role in driving this change forward together – this ensures everyone stays committed and invested.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion in the Training Process
As companies strive for more inclusive environments, it’s imperative that they provide their employees with training that teaches diversity and inclusion as an integral component of business culture. DEI training programs typically consist of one-off educational resources provided by third party experts who facilitate DEI programs online or face-to-face; such programs help participants understand various forms of diversity that exist among people such as demographic differences, sexual orientation, gender identity differences, cultural or religious beliefs and assigned sex statuses among many others – among them are demographic factors, sexual orientation/gender identity differences as well as assigned sex differences as physical/neurodiversities etc.
DEI training helps employees and managers recognize and appreciate the unique attributes that all individuals bring to the job, encouraging teamwork and creativity in the workplace. Employees who feel valued and respected at work become more engaged at work, leading to greater productivity levels overall. Furthermore, organizations who prioritize DEI issues tend to be more competitive as they can attract and retain top talent more efficiently from the market.
One way an organization can strengthen its DEI training program is to add more senior-level managers into these sessions and encourage them to act as training role models for their teams. This ensures the program gains credibility and legitimacy – essential ingredients of its success. Furthermore, it’s vital that the appropriate people lead these sessions – someone with either lived experience of these issues or an active commitment to allyship are ideal choices to lead these sessions and facilitate training sessions effectively.
Other ways of fostering DEI training include inviting external speakers or panel discussions on issues related to diversity and inclusion, either in-person or online, with Q&A sessions for audience participation. You could also establish an employee resource group (ERG), which would serve as an avenue for discussing these topics among peers while raising awareness among them.
Review all company policies and practices to identify ways they could become more inclusive, especially any processes which may disadvantage certain populations, such as punitive discipline for absences and tardiness.