Embracing Diversity & Inclusion

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Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) matters.  Building a heterogeneous and cohesive workforce is not only the prudent way to create a sustainable team but actually drives your organization to improve financial results. Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity and gender diversity are 35% and 15%, respectively, more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.  Source: Diversity Matters, McKinsey, 2015.

Companies with the most diverse talent also attract and retain the best talent.  Diversity in the workplace also increases employee satisfaction and improves decision making, ultimately leading to greater success for the business.

We live in a global world with a global workforce, your organization should be a reflection of the times.  Not to mention, the most progressive companies that build a diverse and inclusive workforce, will gain a strong competitive advantage.  The converse of this is a homogeneous, “group-think” decision making process which offers no ingenuity.  The goal of most companies is to differentiate their products/services, and stand-apart from others.  The workforce behind the company should reflect this same principle.

Although welcomed, sometimes embracing diversity and inclusion can be difficult due to “unconscious bias barriers”.  Below we provide a few tips to overcome these barriers and for you to successfully adopt a D&I program for your business.

  • Include training on unconscious bias (often the biggest barrier to D&I programs)
    • Unconscious bias are stereotypes about groups of people that we hold but are not necessarily aware that we are doing so.  They form a number of ways: our perception, attitude, behaviors, attention, listening skills and micro-affirmation.  Source:  SocialTalent
      • A plethora of training provides exist. check out our friends at CCA if you’re looking to explore vendors offering diverse training.
  • Commitment from Leadership – Diversity and Inclusion initiatives must come from the top down.  Your organization not only needs to know that leaderships says they support a D&I workforce but they should be living it which can easily be reflected by the C-Suite, Board and Senior Management.
  • Data-driven Programs – As with any new programs or the need to enhance existing ones, remember to make the case.  Ample data exists to make the case for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.  Unfortunately its quite easy to impair good judgment (see above – unconscious bias).
  • Act now – Invest now and pull ahead of your competition – its always better to set a foundation and work forward then to retroactively put things in place – this may seem like a daunting task but it will only get more difficult as time goes by.  Start slowly – implement training for managers and then gradually grow your program.  There’s no time like the present.
  • Raise Your Voice – Stand up to discrimination for yourself and others.  Develop and implement a corporate plan with how managers and employees are supposed to intervene and address adverse matters related to diversity and inclusion.

Innovation is driven by what is unknown and diversity opens our minds to new perspectives.

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