Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace is an essential business practice that both up and coming and high-performing companies must give enough focus on to help build a working environment that best suits the growing needs of the employees and the target clientele.
To be successful, DE&I shall be embedded in the company’s mission, strategies, and practices to leverage its effects and achieve a competitive business advantage. DE&I should not just be a Human Resource program, but must be implored through a top-to-bottom business strategy.
A 2019 report revealed that only five percent of people of color are employed in the specified technological firm, putting emphasis on the need for greater efforts to improve programs within organizations to diversify their workforces.
Focusing on diversity, we are actually looking at two main categories:
Inherent diversity: Demographic characteristics like race, sex, and age; and
Acquired diversity: This involves actors such as education, experience, values, skills, and knowledge.
Companies must note that ensuring diversity in the workplace presents a number of benefits:
a. Ability to attract, retain, and develop the best talent
Job seekers said that diversity is an important factor when considering companies and job offers.
Instead of using the usual criteria for recruiting candidates (like the previous company they worked at, what school they went to, their country of origin, and who they’re connected with) which can affect the diversity of applications, a valid and reliable personality assessment can be an effective tool to attract various talents since it measures the candidates’ personality traits, motivations, and skills.
b. Drive innovation through global experiences and cultural understanding
Diverse cultural perspectives can spark and inspire innovation within the team due to different experiences and views on certain topics or subject matter.
c. Ability to combine a range of skills and experiences
Operating a diverse workforce also means openness to hear different perspectives and characteristics. But more than just lending ears, it also means combining skills to create a more effective and productive team.
d. Engaged employees who bring their whole selves to work are more productive
Research shows that engaged employees are 17% more productive than their peers. Engaged employees are more likely to work diligently and extend discretionary effort in their jobs, boosting productivity and innovation.
Engagement begins at gaining a better understanding of what the team lacks and finding ways and measures to fill and improve it.
e. Competitive advantage gained by taking the lead role in DE&I
With DE&I, there is a war for talent and the competition is strong. According to McKinsey, more diverse companies, magnets top talents more and are positioned to improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, which all leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns.
f. Improve the quality of service for clients
Customers are a bunch of people with a mix of race, religion, social status, and a number of other characteristics.
The more diverse the team is, the more likely they will be able to show empathy and connect towards a diverse customer base, and take customer requests seriously.
While it’s obvious that DE&I offers benefits to the workplace, barriers also exist.
Programs. Some workplaces may not have the right programs in place to help diverse employees integrate into the office well.
Communication. Organizations may also have a challenge in effectively communicating with their employees. Poor communication can lead to unintentional offense, mistrust, and unclear practices within the workplace.
Resistance to change. One of the largest barriers to increased workplace DE&I can be resistance to change. As new policies and employees are brought into an organization, there may be those who are resistant to the changes happening.