Why Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Matters
“Inclusiveness doesn’t just mean we’re allowed to be there, it means we’re valued. I’ve always said, smart teams will do amazing things, but truly diverse teams will do impossible things.” – Claudia Brind-Woody
This is the era of globalized connectivity and workplaces are becoming more dynamic than ever. With Covid-19, the resulting challenges and the shift to digital work, modern work is synonymous with increased flexibility, adaptability and adaptability. Along the same lines, it is always important to accommodate people from all walks of life and ensure their representation. Across the various distributive inequalities that mark our socio-economic existences, labor continues to promise a site where hard work pays off and where inclusiveness and diversity do much to reinforce its sanctity.
Diversity and inclusiveness have been found to directly correlate with earning profits and growing businesses. McKinsey’s 2019 analysis found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in leadership teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile, compared to 21% in 2017 and 15% in 2014. Great Place Research from to Work found that diverse and inclusive workplaces experienced 5.4 times higher employee retention than a usual workplace, increased ability to recruit a differentiated and specialized talent pool, a greater willingness to innovate as well as higher revenue generation. Their study showed that when employees in a high trust culture experience a caring workplace, they are 44% more likely to work for a company with above-average revenue growth and, therefore, organizations racially diverse recorded an average growth of 11.1% versus 8.6%. of the most disparate companies.
This has obvious reasons. To innovate effectively, you need to have a multitude of perspectives and ideas, instead of being trapped in a homogeneous echo chamber. With greater representation and a greater variety of ideas, inspiration and rigor follow as everyone can bring something new to the table. It’s also essential to build a better world, because when groups who have been denied equal access to work start talking, we move towards greater light, new idioms of productivity and a vibrant new community with a polyphony of expressions. It’s one of the surest keys to tackling gender inequality, class disparity, racial discrimination, and other ills by empowering everyone on the same platform.
However, the task is by no means simple and requires conceptual clarity before action. Diversity and inclusion are often talked about in the same vein and confused, and while they may be related, they cannot be interchanged. Diversity is about the makeup of an organization and the representation of different groups, while inclusion is about the impact and value of these diverse synergistic contributors in the workplace. For the workplace to be diverse and inclusive, all people from different backgrounds in their different roles must be equitably considered and valued. It is complex terrain. Expert Matt Bush asks the right questions in this regard, when it comes to valuing people in all areas:
“The ‘all areas’ part is important. Do you have diversity in your recruitment, in each of your departments and in your management? Or do you have a workplace where 50% of your employees are women but 0% of your women are managers? Do you have a good representation of employees of color overall, but they’re all in the same department?”
Questions like these are necessary in a world of promotional stunts and compromised aspirations for inclusivity. Hiring for diversity mindlessly isn’t enough, it’s important to build a workplace that supports it. To this end, the distribution of roles, responsibilities and privileges must be democratized. It is also necessary to recognize the unequal situation as it exists.
A Boston Consulting Group (BCG) survey report revealed that among Fortune 500 companies, only 24 CEOs are women, representing only 5% of the total number of CEOs and the same report pointed out that among of the 500 CEOs, only three are black, three others belong to the LGBTQ+ community. Therefore, a company must remain committed, despite the early stages of hiring, to including voices regardless of age, race, gender, religion, sexuality, physical condition, etc. and having appropriate policies for the protection of employee interests and having adequate space for mentoring and support.
In summary, keeping diversity and inclusion at the center of our professional endeavors is a step towards greater success, innovation and a better world. It’s not an easy task in a divided world, but it’s a commendable step in the right direction and we need to fuel ourselves to get there.
(The author is Chief Impact Officer at the Recykal Foundation)