Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging: Changing Corporate Culture
Diversity and Inclusion are words on everyone’s lips this month and the truth is, it’s nothing more than having an environment of respect for all. To be and remain a trusted business to our customers, we must first have the ability to attract and retain a diverse workforce guided only by capabilities and skills.
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are about more than policies, programs, or employee numbers. Being an equitable company is about respecting the unique needs, perspectives, and potential of all team members, without dwelling on conditions or likes and dislikes that ultimately are private matters for individuals.
As a result, diverse and inclusive workplaces earn greater trust and engagement from their employees.
What are diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
A diverse and inclusive workplace is one that makes everyone, regardless of who they are or what they do for the company, feel equally involved and supported in all areas of the workplace. The “all areas” part is important.
Why is diversity and inclusion in the workplace important?
Research has shown that a diverse and inclusive workplace has many benefits:
- Increased revenue growth
- Increased willingness to innovate
- Increased ability to recruit a diverse talent pool
- 4 times higher employee retention
- Inclusion in the workplace is one of the most important keys to retention.
When employees don’t feel that their ideas, their presence, or their contributions are truly valued or taken seriously by your organization, they will eventually leave.
“If we cannot put an end to our differences, let us help make the world a place fit for them”, John F. Kennedy
As companies it is up to us to design a positive environment for who we are and a practical guide on how to do that is this:
1. Establish a sense of belonging for everyone
By creating a sense of belonging individuals will be able to bring out the best in themselves. An environment that creates a connection with your employees and makes them feel they can be themselves will lead to greater engagement and creativity.
2. Empathy in leadership
Diversity and inclusion are often treated as unique initiative that belongs exclusively to HR. But for real change to occur, every leader has to embrace the value of belonging, both intellectually and emotionally.
3. Covering quotas is not the way
Being inclusive does not equal HAVING to hire diversity. We don’t want misinterpretations. But to be inclusive is to have a policy that if a qualified person arrives for a position, they are hired for their skills, no more.
Sometimes HR departments impose targets and meet a diversity quota, but it doesn’t work that way, you don’t create an inclusive culture by covering a quota. Again, the environment must be created.
4. Inclusion is a continuous process, not a one-time training
It is not enough to teach employees what it means to be inclusive. Like any form of behavior change, inclusion requires individuals to identify key moments in which to build new habits or “micro behaviors” (daily actions that can be practiced and measured). And when these habits are put into practice in an environment that supports honest conversations and healthy tension, real change becomes possible.
Be who you want to be!