A diverse and inclusive workforce is an objective that most organizations across the world are striving to achieve. This stems from the understanding that organizations stand to gain a lot in terms of business success by including different perspectives and problem-solving abilities. Given the fact that the world is becoming increasingly connected, experts believe that ensuring diversity within a business workforce has become relatively simpler. This is evident from the fact that the number of organizations with employees belonging to diverse cultures and backgrounds has increased significantly over the past several years. However, despite having the intent organizations still need to have a roadmap in place to promote diversity and inclusiveness and overcome the challenges on the way. This is a Guide for ensuring Diversity and Inclusiveness at Workplace.
Overview of Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity at the workplace can be defined as the ability of an organization to understand, accept and value individual members of the workforce irrespective of the differences in their age, gender, and their cultural, economic, and ethnic backgrounds. At the same time, inclusion at the workplace is about creating a collaborative, supportive, and respectful environment with greater employee participation and contribution. Organizations have come to acknowledge the fact that embracing diversity and inclusion at the workplace can help them attain desired business outcomes in a more effective manner. Multiple research studies conducted on the topic have also indicated that these two aspects play a critical role in improving the overall organizational effectiveness and enhancing workforce performance.
Benefits of adopting Diversity and Inclusion as a policy
Organizations that adopt diversity and inclusion as a part of their core HR Policy can be assured of a number of benefits. The most important of these benefits are as follows:
Diversity helps to improve the overall organizational culture as co-workers share the unique aspects of their culture and beliefs, which may inspire others or even cause a positive change in their attitude and approach towards their work and their colleagues. This can help build an open and inclusive culture in the organization.
It helps in enhancing the overall efficiency of the workforce as people use their distinct skills, background and experiences to overcome challenges and solve various problems at the workplace.
It improves the employer brand value for the organization given the fact that the most talented candidates prefer to work in organizations where diversity and inclusion are part of the policy and the culture.
Finally, having a diverse and inclusive workplace can enhance employee retention significantly as studies have shown. It can thus pave the way for consistent growth and success of the organization.
Best practices to improve diversity and inclusiveness
The four important best practices that organizations should look at implementing are as follows:
- Promote diversity in the workforce
Organizations should look at encouraging diversity at every level and stage of the employee lifecycle including recruitment and career progression. A diverse workforce brings with it the benefits of extensive expertise, varied skills, and volumes of knowledge. All these factors can contribute greatly to ensuring that the organization has a competitive edge. It also enables organizations to gain a better understanding of the needs and expectations of their customers and the best ways to fulfil them in the most effective manner.
- Respect diversity
It is extremely important for organizations to promote a sense of mutual respect for diverse groups that exist within their workforce. They should follow an unbiased approach of accommodating events, occasions, and celebrations of different groups. This will help in creating a deep sense of belonging among the employees, especially those belonging to minority groups within the organization.
- Ensure freedom of expression
Creating a work culture where every employee is respected and welcomed to share his/her views and is assured of getting an attentive hearing can go a long way in promoting a sense of inclusion. It helps in strengthening the sense of connectivity that the employees feel towards the organization besides assuring them of being truly valued. They can speak out their mind without the fear of being reprimanded or punished for the same, making it easier to resolve problems and embrace innovative solutions. Managers and team leaders need to be coached to be good listeners and respect opinions and views even if contrary to their own.
- Encourage diversity in thinking
The decision of having a diverse workforce also promotes diversity in the thinking of the workforce. Organizations should promote such diverse thinking as it helps in generating new ideas and better strategies for business growth. Moreover, the collective power of diverse opinions and viewpoints helps the organization move towards the fulfilment of common business goals.
Building a diverse and multicultural workforce is the need of the hour for organizations seeking the path of success in these highly competitive and economically testing times.
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