Diversity and inclusion are key to determining how an organization is seen by applicants, interviewees, employees and other stakeholders. So, let’s start with some definitions:
Diversity –means that those of all backgrounds, life experiences, preferences and beliefs are recognized and respected as individuals and valued for the different perspectives they bring.
Inclusion –means that all are given equal opportunity to contribute to business success and be their true selves, regardless of background.
This is what the CIPD has to say: “there is a compelling moral case for diversity and inclusion in the workplace and beyond. Ensuring everyone is treated equally, with dignity and has their fair share of resources (whether that be access to work or equitable pay) is simply the right thing to do. People matter, and we all should have equal opportunity to develop, progress, and be rewarded and recognized at work. Organizations must ensure that their people management practices champion this fundamental principle.”
It’s a competitive marketplace out there and according to research from Glassdoor some 78 percent of employees expect their employers to be inclusive and treat everyone equally; applicants want an honest picture of the employment experience and culture before making a decision as to where to work.
A good reputation in terms of D&I means:
- Talent acquisition – your business will be more attractive to applicants.
- Customer relations – a diverse range of people into the organization helps build good relations with different stakeholder groups and to develop targeted and tailored products and services.
- Enhancing trust – transparency around diversity and inclusion will strengthen your employer brand with all stakeholders.
Talent management is a challenge for HR professionals and anything you can do to make the organization more attractive will help. PwC found that over 80% of survey participants said an employer’s policy on diversity, equality and workforce inclusion is an important factor when deciding whether or not to work for them. They point out that as well as a broadening of your talent pool, you will be building a workforce that more closely reflects your customer base.
We talked to Tayo Rockson who is the CEO of UYD Management, a strategic leadership and consulting firm that helps corporations improve their bottom line by incorporating diversity, inclusion, and social justice strategies. He feels that education and communication are where to make a start.
You need to understand what it is that customers need and like; if your workforce does not reflect the customer base you serve then there is the potential for a disconnect and conflict. If you can succeed in improving D&I, the more your people feel included, heard and understood, the more willing they are to show up as themselves, which goes to productivity, collaboration, and creativity.
Tayo recommends starting from the top because that makes it easier for people at all levels to engage in meaningful dialogue around the issues. If the CEO has designated D&I as a priority for the company and made it part of every function of the company and has championed and incentivized engagement with D&I by giving everyone the courage to speak out and accountability for improvement.
Tayo’s top tips on embracing D&I:
HR and marketing should work more in concert than they do, as working with senior leadership, they can ensure stakeholder sensibilities are aligned in terms of hiring and messaging
Asked about the future and whether or not there will be a point, down the line, where companies will no longer be talking about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Tayo is optimistic and believes an inclusive mindset is now more important than it has ever been, we have to have the courage to do what is right. It’s sad when people feel they have to hide parts of themselves because they feel it will limit their advancement and we need to address inequality and unconscious bias until we have a more equitable workplace.
By recruiting people from more diverse backgrounds the organization also imports the fresh ideas, creativity, and experience required to encourage innovation, cope with change and build on opportunities.
More on this topic at Diversity & Inclusion at 10 Top Tech Companies.