Diversity and inclusion: are employers doing enough?

How creating a diverse workplace can help your company grow and scale the productivity curve? Employers can create an environment that celebrates uniqueness which benefits all.

Diversity is a fact and inclusion is a choice. ‘Diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ are important priorities in most organizations these days. Many companies have started embracing a diverse and inclusive workforce to ensure an innovative, creative, competitive and more productive edge. 

When defining diversity, the well-known speaker, author, trainer and consultant - Ola Joseph is typically concise: “Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.”

Benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workplace

Embracing diversity at the workplace is crucial for today’s businesses looking to become competitive at the global level.

A 2018 study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) wherein they surveyed more than 1700 different companies across eight different countries (Austria, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Switzerland, and the US), with varying industries and company sizes reflects the same. The study pointed out that increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance. Increasing diversity has a direct effect on the bottom line and companies that have diverse management teams have 19 percent higher revenue due to innovation.

It has also been seen that diversity equals creativity. When people from different backgrounds, cultures, genders etc. bring their own perspective and embrace each other’s individuality, the whole organization benefits.

According to a report “Why Diversity Matters” by McKinsey & Company, diverse companies are better able to win good talent and improve their customer orientation, employee engagement, and decision making, and all these factors lead to bigger returns.  

Another report by McKinsey & Company says that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21 percent more likely to outperform on profitability and 27 percent more likely to have superior value creation. An interesting thing to note that these companies had more women in line roles than in staff roles on their executive teams.

In fact, building a more diverse and inclusive workforce can help:

·      Increase creativity and innovation by bringing in the different points of view into problem-solving and decision making.

·      Build a more skilled and trained workforce simply as a result of having a much larger pool of potential candidates to choose from.

·      Help increase market share and drive economic growth through the extended outreach of the employees.

·      Improve employee determination and teamwork by making them feel valued by accepting their uniqueness which contributes towards a common goal.

What organizations can do to embrace Diversity

There are many ways in which we can make workplaces more diverse. Some measures that go a long way to make an impact include:

·      Create a clear diversity & inclusion vision for your organization -

·      Minimize or eliminate unconscious bias at the workplace which can be a huge setback in creating a truly diverse and inclusive workplace. Hence, training and sensitization can help participants introspect and find out how unconscious bias impacts team dynamics and how employees can modify their behaviors

·      Remove bias from the Talent Management process which limits the hiring, growth and development, engagement and retention of diverse talent

·      Focus on increasing the number of diverse leaders in senior operating roles as in the case of gender balanced leadership where it is closely linked to financial and stock market outperformance

·      Set measurable diversity goals and hold the senior leadership team and diversity leaders accountable for it. Communicate statistics and results to the larger organization and Board

For instance, at Ingersoll Rand, our aim is to build and sustain a corporate culture that fosters values of mutual respect, cross collaboration and inclusion, all of which is perceived as a shared responsibility that drives growth and innovation and enhances operational excellence while making a positive impact in the lives of our customers and the communities we serve. 

We place as much focus on culture as we do on company growth and execution. We have continually integrated diversity and inclusion into the company’s culture – from our values and leadership expectations to talent practices and business strategies. In fact, Ingersoll Rand is the first in its industry to join the Paradigm for Parity® coalition and pledge to bring gender parity to its corporate leadership structure by 2030, which is tied to diversity and inclusion goals at all senior leadership levels to create a winning culture. 

Organizations that support diversity benefit from a rich pool of insight, information, experiences and talent. It makes for an engaged and more productive workforce, freely giving expression to their aptitude, maximizing their potential and creating financial gains for the organization.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

(Edited by Suruchi Kapur- Gomes)


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