23 Apr Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
What’s the difference between Diversity and Inclusion?
Diversity and inclusion are buzzwords in today’s culture, with good cause, and while they are interconnected, they do have separate, individual meanings. We’ll discuss these terms as they pertain to business organizations, though there are clearly broader applications as well. Diversity refers to the make-up of an organization. It means employing a range of people with various racial, ethnic, socio-economic, and cultural backgrounds, but it also includes varied lifestyles, experience, and interests. Inclusion refers to the practice of providing equal access to resources and opportunities to your employees regardless of their background. Both diversity and inclusion are important to a healthy workplace, and are often discussed in tandem.
Diversity and inclusion have to be core to your company’s culture.
Why does it matter to your business?
McKinsey & Company did a study in 2014 which they expanded upon in 2017 which found the following statistics:
- A positive correlation between gender diversity on executive teams and both our measures of financial performance: top-quartile companies on executive-level gender diversity worldwide had a 21 percent likelihood of outperforming their fourth-quartile industry peers
- Having gender diversity on executive teams, specifically, to be consistently positively correlated with higher profitability across geographies
- Companies with the most ethnically diverse executive teams — not only with respect to absolute representation but also of variety or mix of ethnicities — are 33 percent more likely to outperform their peers on profitability
- Companies in the fourth quartile on both gender and ethnic diversity are more likely to underperform their industry peers on profitability: 29 percent in our 2017 data set
We can see from the above that diversity and inclusion in executive teams has a direct correlation to your company’s bottom line. But beyond profitability, how are individual employees impacted by the presence or absence of a diverse and inclusive workplace?
Greatplacetowork.com shares that when employees are “treated fairly regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or age, they are:
- 9.8 times more likely to look forward to going to work
- 6.3 times more likely to have pride in their work
- 5.4 times more likely to want to stay a long time at their company”
Additionally, according to Forbes.com, “An organization that has mastered inclusion is one where people feel encouraged to bring their ‘whole selves’ to work.”, and “employees who feel able to bring their whole selves to work are 42% less likely to plan on leaving for another position within a year.”
While the impact of diversity and inclusion on individual employees seems to be largely subjective, the resulting impact on the company can objectively be measured in benefits such as a more committed workforce, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and increased job satisfaction. As we’ve discussed before, a positive workplace culture leads to increased performance and higher employee retention.
How do you effect positive change in your business?
Diversity and inclusion have to be core to your company’s culture. They aren’t band-aid fixes or one-time training sessions. They, like your workplace culture, have to be intentionally modeled and continually emphasized. Here is a non-exhaustive list of ways to improve in these areas:
- Check your executive team. The studies above show that a diverse executive team increased productivity. Additionally, culture has to have buy-in at the highest levels for your employees to believe it’s truly important to the organization.
- Discuss gender pay inequality. Socialchorus.com states “Gender pay equity is a big point of contention at many companies. Workforce trust and a sense of inclusion are built around a company’s transparency in its policies and communication about those policies.”
- Encourage diverse ideas. People from diverse cultural and generational backgrounds will have different perspectives on a wide array of topics. It’s important to listen to these varying viewpoints to understand your workforce, and to make sure your people feel heard and seen, regardless of background.
- Acknowledge different religious and cultural events. For example, while most companies will give employees time off for Christmas, many are starting to offer floating holidays to accommodate other cultures and practices.
- Stop hiring for “culture fit”. The idea of culture fit is bad for diversity and inclusion. According to ere.net, “when managers hire based on their own image, they end up with homogeneous teams in which consensus and groupthink trump curiosity and creativity” and “Hiring for culture fit is a form of unconscious bias at best”.
This is just a start, and if your company has traditionally not focused on diversity and inclusion, but is making an effort to change that, be patient. Change often happens slowly, and the larger the organization, the greater the effort required to make changes. No matter where you are in your journey to have a diverse and inclusive workplace, Care Plus Solutions is always here to help.
Care Plus Solutions is America’s first EAP and is headquartered in New York and has offices in New Jersey. Over the course of the company’s 46 year history, their brand has remained firmly rooted in the rich history of the EAP field, never losing sight of the fundamental purpose of the EAP; delivering personal and quality services to those in need. It is fair to say that Care Plus Solutions is the gold standard in the field of Employee Assistance.
Delivering through diversity (2018). https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/delivering-through-diversity
Why Is Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace Important? (2021). https://www.greatplacetowork.com/resources/blog/why-is-diversity-inclusion-in-the-workplace-important
What An Inclusive Workplace Actually Looks Like, And Seven Ways To Achieve It (2019). https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2019/02/04/what-an-inclusive-workplace-actually-looks-like-and-seven-ways-to-achieve-it/?sh=7b0eadc1316b
15 Ways to Improve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace (2020). https://socialchorus.com/blog/15-ways-to-improve-diversity-and-inclusion-in-the-workplace/
4 Reasons to Stop Hiring for Culture Fit (and One Reason to Start) (2020). https://www.ere.net/4-reasons-to-stop-hiring-for-culture-fit-and-one-reason-to-start/