Inclusivity and Diversity in the Workplace

Hiring and managing employees has never been easy. It hasn’t gotten any easier over time. As our population becomes more diverse, so does the workforce.  Hiring for diversity creates its own challenges as are the challenges of having a diverse workforce. One of these is creating and maintaining an environment of inclusivity. But, how do you know if you have created an inclusive environment? A few clues may be your employee turnover rate, employee satisfaction and even long-term growth for your business.

First let’s look at some statistics.

Boring, right? Well sometimes it’s helpful to know why you need to make changes by looking at how people are affected by a lack of inclusivity and thus how it affects your business. Inclusivity isn’t just about making sure everyone eats lunch together or is getting along by saying “hi” in passing. It’s about recognizing the value each person has and how they can contribute to the organization. Making sure they feel welcomed, that they are being listened to, and lastly promoted for their accomplishments, regardless of their gender, disability or background. The Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) has conducted research in gender and racial dynamics for over 15 years. They have found in a 2016 study that between 63% to 67% of Latinx individuals experienced an extreme lack of inclusivity in the workplace. Where they felt they could not share their ideas or were never invited to share their ideas and felt their ideas were not valued at all, even when given the opportunity to share them. This number jumps to 78% when factoring for just Latinas in the workplace. This same experience is true for black women with 46% stating their ideas are not being heard, recognized or valued.

Being an inclusive workplace also affects those with disabilities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state that 1 in 4 American Adults have some form of a disability. Remember, not all disabilities are visible either. People with disabilities also need to feel welcomed and valued in a business. Employees are 4.5 times more likely to leave an employer within the first year when they feel they can’t approach their manager for help, express their ideas, or don’t feel valued and included. Employees who are encouraged to share their ideas, feel their insights are valued and their skills are properly utilized are 43% more committed to their organizations according to research conducted by the Limeade Institute and Artemis Connection. This means less turnover, and the costs associated with new hire training. Research also shows that organizations that use inclusive practices are 2 times more likely to reach their financial targets, are 6 times more likely to be innovative and companies that innovate are generating 19% more revenue over companies that don’t.

Now, how do you make your business more inclusive? Here are 5 steps to take that will help you create and maintain an inclusive environment.

Start with open communication.

Encourage your employees to have a voice. Create dialogue and a safe space for individuals to discuss ideas and talk with their supervisors and peers on a collaborative level. This helps them express their opinions, ideas, fears and creates a sense of belonging and feeling valued.

Second, inclusivity starts at the top.

Leaders need to be setting examples of inclusivity by creating an environment founded on teamwork, safety, fostering value and a sense of uniqueness. This allows for everyone to feel included by showcasing how to value differences of opinion, embrace feedback and authenticity over conforming.

Third, develop a strong educational and developmental system, with access to good resources.

This includes ongoing training on how to be inclusive as well as mentorships, skills training and opportunities for promotions in the workplace. This sends a clear message to your employees that you care about their ideas, well-being and growth.

Fourth, establish a process of accountability.

We all need to be held accountable for our actions and statements. This is true for every level in business from the owner and president to management to the new hire. This creates a safe environment for everyone to feel they can be free to express themselves, share their ideas without judgment.

Finally, create a diversity and inclusivity metrics scorecard.

This helps you track key indices where you may fall short and need to work at or areas where your company excels and can be celebrated. You can create strategies from this data to help with implementation of new processes. Surveys and interviews are a great way to gather this information in a safe way.

When we feel we are valued, we aspire to do better. Being inclusive is not always easy and takes constant focus and attention. Together it happens. Research shows that companies that value inclusivity reap the benefits over their competition in higher revenue, higher quality customer service and more dedicated employees.


Need help creating a more inclusive and diverse business? Contact us for a free 15-minute strategy session where you'll get personalized advice on how to create a more inclusive and diverse brand starting from within. We're excited to get to know you and your business!

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Jason J

In addition to his 20 years in business, he is a certified paralegal, holds a degree in psychology, a degree in philosophy, and is the head writer at The GuiltFree Agency.

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