Diversity and inclusion in the workplace has progressed far from an initiative being driven solely by federal laws and compliance used to increase brand image. Diversity no longer encompasses simply gender, race, and demographic attributes, and has graduated to be inclusive of employees with “diversity of thought,” as well as those with cognitive differences. As the topic of diversity and inclusion grows in importance, offering a diverse and inclusive company culture is now an executive-level priority for organizations across the globe.
Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Survey found that 78% of executive respondents believe diversity and inclusion is a competitive advantage. Organizations that not only comply with diversity laws, but make it a company-wide strategic initiative gain the competitive advantage to recruit top talent and improve the employee experience. With that said, breaking down barriers and encouraging an inclusive environment has several benefits—and they aren’t just about eliminating organizational biases.
Improving the Employee Experience
An inclusive and diverse workplace can improve employee satisfaction across the board. According to the U.S Office of Personnel Management, when agencies have conditions in place that facilitate diversity and cultivate inclusion in all aspects of business operations, employees are both engaged and productive. Employees that are engaged and productive are the key to organizational success. Employee satisfaction is also known to increase employee retention. Employees that feel included tend to feel a sense of value and loyalty to their company, which makes for less conflict and more progress.
Increasing Financial Revenue
Increasing diversity in the workforce can also result in an increase of revenue. A recent Forbes article stated “Businesses see an increase in ROI when there’s more diversity in the organization — 35% for ethnically diverse companies and 15% for gender-diverse companies.” Recruiting top performers cannot be achieved unless organizations are reaching far and wide for diverse talent, attracting those that will challenge the status quo and transform their role for the greater good of the organization. Having a higher level of diversity allows organizations to deliver a better quality of service to their ever-evolving markets and customer needs.
Driving Innovation and Success
With multiple generations in today’s workforce, employees are defining their position on a diverse workplace more than ever before. Millennials, for instance, are demanding of an inclusive culture. They seek their managers to promote the assembly of diverse teams where innovative ideas can cultivate growth and success. However, this success is not immediate.
When an inclusive workforce is endorsed from the top down, the organization will eventually attract diverse talent that will take on roles and promote innovation. These employees have different perspectives and beliefs, bringing new solutions to the table. They challenge the status quo and provide offerings that an organization may not have originally considered.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace may not be a top priority, but it should be a topic of conversation and evaluation. It’s not about complying with regulations and heightening brand image, but the positive effects that a diverse team can bring to an organization is truly invaluable. From improving the employee experience to increasing revenue and driving innovation, executives ought to take a second look at their strategies for fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace.