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Numerous businesses embrace workplace diversity, but the significance of inclusion is often overlooked. While diversity stands as a crucial core value, it cannot flourish without inclusion. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) go beyond mere buzzwords; they should constitute fundamental principles for all companies. Workplace inclusion entails an environment where every individual, regardless of background, has a voice and is valued. A workplace that is both diverse and inclusive cultivates a culture that encourages collective ingenuity and better mirrors the diverse markets served. By prioritizing an inclusive culture, businesses not only uphold ethical standards but also enhance their competitive position in the global market.
Promoting a workforce that is both diverse and inclusive allows companies to establish an environment where each individual is empowered to contribute their distinct insights and skills. Inclusive cultures foster a variety of perspectives, serving as a catalyst for innovation and effective problem-solving. Now, let's explore the advantages that arise from nurturing a culture of inclusivity in the workplace.
1. Inclusion Boosts Engagement
Gallup research showed that employees in an inclusive workplace are more engaged, demonstrate higher advocacy for their company and have a higher retention rate. Yet, according to Gallup, only 23% of employees consider themselves to be engaged in the workplace. They are doing the work but are putting in little additional effort. That presents a significant opportunity for organizations to boost productivity and results via inclusion.
2. Inclusion Builds a Sense of Belonging
Fostering a sense of belonging among employees by accepting and embracing their individual differences is integral to the essence of inclusion in the DEI context. According to Bersin, inclusion implies being fair, equitable, and transparent, particularly in aspects such as job hiring, promotion, pay, and other rewards. Despite the HR implications, only 6% of HR leaders perceive the lack of diversity as a threat to a positive workplace culture, as revealed in a survey by isolved. Chief People Officer Amy Mosher sees an opportunity to enhance efforts in creating belonging, especially for those working in a distributed environment. Mosher emphasizes the importance of representation for a genuine sense of belonging, asserting that every employee must feel included for true equity and inclusion to be achieved.
3. Inclusion Improves Employee Experience
Inclusion significantly enhances the employee experience by fostering open communication, innovation, and idea-sharing without fear of reprisal. This environment signals employer value for diverse perspectives, leading to increased satisfaction, loyalty, and the attraction of top talent. Chris Savage, CEO of Wistia, stresses that inclusion goes beyond equity, making everyone feel valued. Teresa Hopke, CEO at Talking Talent Americas, notes that an inclusive culture motivates individuals to contribute, knowing their perspectives matter. Genuine diversity and inclusion yield benefits like unlocking potential, driving innovation, and increasing retention.
4. Inclusive Workplaces Enhance Innovation
Innovation thrives in an inclusive culture that encourages risk-taking. According to Bersin, fostering inclusivity is crucial for employees to freely express new ideas and feedback. Amber Corrin from Spire Communications highlights that workplace diversity and inclusion lead to more effective problem-solving and decision-making. In an inclusive setting, each employee can contribute to innovation by leveraging their unique perspectives shaped by diverse life experiences.
5. Inclusive Leaders Are More Effective
Leadership plays a pivotal role, constituting up to 70% of the impact on an employee's sense of inclusion. To foster diversity and inclusion, leaders must visibly commit and address personal and organizational biases. According to Bersin, companies with strong leadership focus on inclusion are 3-4 times more profitable. In the current landscape, a diverse workplace is not a perk but a necessity, acknowledged by leaders who understand its benefits. Diversity and inclusion should be ingrained in every aspect of an organization, from hiring practices to internal policies and leadership positions, fostering employee engagement, innovation, a sense of belonging, and an overall improved employee experience.