• Larry You

Is diversity the only value that companies should pursue?

Larry You

Recently with social awareness movements like BLM and Stop Asian Hate, people's awareness of diversity and equality are at the forefront pushing many firms into incorporating D&I (Diversity and Inclusion) as their business strategies.

It is hard to find an organization that does not talk about Diversity and Inclusion in their workplace.

Investment in these initiatives brings a positive relationship to a company's reputation and business performance. While many organizations are only affirming their commitment to diversity especially in their recruiting process some make the mistake of assuming that diversity and inclusion are synonymous. In fact, diversity and inclusion both play a critical role in promoting fairness in the workplace separately.

You may wonder what the difference is between diversity and inclusion. Workplace diversity refers to the differences between people in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, cultural background, personalities, and other dimensions. Diversity gives you access to a greater range of platforms where different perspectives are exchanged. It helps provide insight into the needs and motivations of your client or customer base, especially now when we are dealing with people from all around the world.

On the other hand, inclusion is meant to accept and embrace those differences. Inclusion has three critical indicators - equality, openness and belonging.

In an inclusive culture, you may feel valued, leveraged and encouraged to showcase your unique characteristics as differences are appreciated. A diverse team cannot guarantee its performance in ensuring its inclusive environment.

According to the study from Mckinsey, researchers analysed comments made by firms’ employees about five indicators, and the results show that although overall sentiment performance on diversity was moderated great, with 52 percent positive and 31 percent negative, there are high levels of negative sentiment about equality, openness and belonging, which are three components of inclusion. So, how would inclusion exactly influence a company's both internal and external business performance! Inclusion in the workplace promotes equality and belonging for employees since their differences are accepted and valued in a positive environment. Each employee has equal opportunity and access to resources making them feel motivated to discover their full potential. By doing this, the increased work satisfaction not only will lead to a better working performance, but also help reduce workplace anxiety and stress.

An inclusive culture will promote the team’s cohesion thus increasing productivity and innovation. A study from Deloitte shows that, “Companies with inclusive talent practices in hiring, promotion, development, leadership, and team management generate up to 30 percent higher revenue per employee and greater profitability than their competitors” (Bourke, 2017).

So what can companies do to promote inclusion inside? It is significant for them to set up systematic inclusion workshops for all employees (especially for the HR department because they need to have an open mindset to solve conflicts between colleagues and promote a healthy working condition). In addition, organizations should create opportunities for employees to express their concerns. This constructive feedback is a great way to promote transparency and integrity inside the company.

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