If you have worked in HR and recruiting, the terms diversity and inclusion are not new. However, truly understanding each isn’t as basic as we like to believe. The terms are not interchangeable and both are crucial in reaping all the rewards of a diverse workforce.
A recent report created by McKinsey named, Diversity Matters, looked at companies across different industries to measure financial and management metrics and how they relate to diversity. During their research, they found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Among other things, those companies who also happened to be racially diverse, generated 35% more returns; proving that workplace diversity is not only important but beneficial to the company.
What is Diversity & Inclusion?
Diversity is the who. This includes ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Diverse employees generate innovation and new perspectives, which means different approaches to problem-solving, heightened creativity and better ideas for future growth. Studies have shown that even just racially diverse companies outperform others by 35%. And in general, employees enjoy working on diverse teams. In fact, 57% of employees think companies should be more diverse.
Inclusion is the strategy of ensuring the environment is accommodating for diverse workers. Any policies and protections that are put in place to uphold the lifestyles and values of workers strengthen and support inclusion. Traditionally, you might think of maternity/paternity leave, health benefits and disability, discrimination and equal opportunity acts. Today, workplaces are welcoming even more unique perks and policies in hope of attracting and retaining a variety of workers. The challenge with inclusion is that the atmosphere of an organization is the overwhelming factor in its maintenance. Think of this as the way employees/ managers interact and treat each other.
To truly embrace diversity, you can’t just hire workers from various backgrounds, you must also provide to them a workplace in which they can thrive. That includes making them feel comfortable sharing their views and opinions. Policy is important for inclusion, but setting a positive example for colleagues is just as crucial.
What’s the Problem?
The benefits are known, studied and proven, yet some of the largest organizations with top recruiting prospects are struggling to cultivate diverse and inclusive workforces. Tech giants like Google, Uber and Twitter have made headlines for less than stellar inclusion:
This just goes to show that even with enormous recruiting budgets and a well-known employer brand doesn’t mean diversity hiring is successful. These giants are not starving for applicants and still, there is a disconnect between understanding the benefits of diversity and actually including diverse workers.
Diversity hiring is possible. Year after year, organizations are honoured for their ability to leverage diversity and inclusion within their own workplace as well as contributing to the growing list of techniques that will help others see the same success. If you’re dreaming of a more inclusive and diverse workforce, consider these tips:
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