Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: Importance, Implementation and Improvement

Employers around the globe are reboarding and reimagining how their teams should approach work. There are new challenges and opportunities. Diversity and inclusion are critical elements of any organization looking to make their company culture a competitive advantage.

This guide explains why diversity and inclusion are essential for organizational success today, how to implement initiatives and ideas to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace

LumApps Employee Experience Platform
Guide to diversity and inclusion in the workplace

What is diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Diversity” and “inclusion” are distinct but intertwined concepts that have been overlooked and ignored for decades, but have risen to the forefront of corporate conversations around the world. The aim of both initiatives is to ensure that employees, customers, and stakeholders feel valued and included within the context of the organization.

What is the difference between diversity and inclusion?

Fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace requires, among other skills, the ability to understand the difference between the two. Although these initiatives are typically lumped together, they serve different functions within the organization.

“Diversity” simply means that a company employs and values a diverse workforce. Many people think of diversity in terms of race, gender, and other external factors. Although these attributes can be part of what makes a company’s workforce diverse, there are many others. Successful organizations focus on cultivating teams that reflect diverse perspectives across dozens of touchpoints.

“Inclusion” refers to a company’s efforts to cultivate a workplace where all contributors are treated equitably and respectfully, and have fair access to resources and opportunities. In an inclusive culture, every employee can fully contribute to the company’s success, as well as their own.

There are countless scenarios in which inclusion can benefit both organizations and the employees they hire. For example, a worker who is physically unable to leave their home could still contribute through a remote work platform. Similarly, ensuring equitable treatment for people of different cultural backgrounds can encourage these employees to devote their time, energy, and loyalty to your company’s success.

Why is diversity and inclusion in the workplace important?

In the past few years, companies throughout the United States and beyond have rolled out diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives almost in unison. Virtually every company’s public relations manager tells the public about the organization’s commitment to a diverse, inclusive environment.

But what are the benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Here are six ways diversity and inclusion can be a benefit to workers and organizations:

Diversity helps ensure relevance

Cultivating diversity helps keep organizations relevant, and ensures that its products and services are aligned with today’s buyers – who they are, what they believe in, and what they expect from the companies they do business with.

For example, when Chris Osborne and Matt Davis were spearheading the design of the ThinkRealityA6, an augmented reality (AR) headset designed to help wearers maximize their productivity, they relied on diversity to guide the product’s design.

Seemingly trivial differences such as a user’s hairstyle (bald, ponytail, etc.) could significantly impact their experience using the headset.

Inclusion helps organizations attract top talent

By fostering an inclusive environment, companies can attract brilliant employees who could easily have been overlooked in previous years. More than 7 out of every 10 jobs created in the United States from 1998 – 2012 required the skills of “knowledge workers” – people valued for conceptual skills rather than physical attributes. With the rise of remote work and the ongoing effects of the “Great Resignation,” the shift to knowledge-based work has continued to grow at exponential rates.

By cultivating an environment in which everyone’s ideas and perspectives are valued, you can discover new possibilities through the perspectives of employees who feel heard and respected.

Better employee trust and attention

Companies that promote equality, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace benefit from greater trust among their employees – including trust for their executive teams. Employees of diverse, inclusive firms are also more engaged in their job roles and in the company’s vision and mission. This means higher productivity, better results, and a solid reputation that fuels the future success of your organization.

 

Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace with Employees

 

Better overall employee performance

A diverse talent group with access to an inclusive environment are not only more engaged – they tend to perform better in their roles as well. This means fewer errors to correct which increases overall efficiency and provides better results for clients and customers.

Better public perception

The old saying, “perception is reality,” applies now more than ever when it comes to business. Consumers create their opinion of you based on the perception you create, and that includes how you treat employees. Inclusive, diverse organizations show commitment to equality and inclusion, and gain the support of audiences who share that commitment.

In short, companies that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion outshine those that do not. This leads to more business, higher revenues, and greater impact.

Lower employee turnover

Promoting an inclusive, diverse workplace does more than create trust and improve employee performance and efficiency – it can also lower your hiring costs through reduced employee turnover.

Employees in organizations that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts feel that their contributions are valued, and actively value and support the contributions of other team members. This includes members of their own team, as well as employees from other teams who are joining in collaborative projects.

Reduced employee turnover helps companies not only in terms of lowering acquisition, hiring, and training costs, but in terms of “intellectual capital on reserve.” In other words, companies who retain their employees also retain the accumulated knowledge, experience, skills, and insights of those employees.

Minimizing employee turnover also helps improve public perception of your organization. A company that is seen as a “great place to work for” is also seen as a great company to do business with. When your employees speak highly of you and your company culture online and in-person, you gain trust capital that is difficult for any competitor to take away.

→ Read more: All the Benefits of Diverse Culture and Inclusion in the Workplace

How can you implement diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Although diversity and inclusion are essential initiatives for companies that want to thrive in the post-pandemic business world, implementing effective diversity and inclusion initiatives can be complex.

Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to implement diversity and inclusion initiatives that help your company meet its goals while providing greater opportunities to the employees that serve your company:

 

1. Define objective performance standards and criteria

Having clear performance objectives and criteria for each role – in writing – is a simple but powerful step toward creating an environment in which diversity is supported and each employee feels valued and respected.

When creating job descriptions – including responsibilities and objectives – include multiple stakeholders with diverse perspectives in the process. Considering the perspective of a wide range of individuals, all of whom are affected by the employee’s performance in one way or another, will help ensure development of accurate, equitable job responsibilities and evaluation criteria.

 

2. Focus on small, meaningful changes

Very few people are truly comfortable with change, despite what they might tell you. Incorporating a diversity and inclusion plan into your company’s workplace culture can create “cognitive dissonance” for some people who are used to seeing things done a certain way.

It’s important to avoid trying to overhaul your culture overnight. Instead, think in terms of achievable, long-term objectives, and be sure to include those who are resistant to change in your conversations.

 

3. Communicate your vision clearly

Many companies have launched DEI initiatives without explaining their visions to their employees. The changes simply come as “mandates” from high in the executive tower, and employees are left to guess when it comes to day to day implementation.

Take the time to communicate your diversity and inclusion vision to your employees, as well as to stakeholders, social media audiences, and customers. How do you plan to integrate diversity and inclusion into your workplace? How will you achieve that goal?

 

4. Be authentic

“Authenticity” has become a buzzword in the business world in recent years, and for good reason. Consumers, investors, supporters, and others want to do business with companies led by people of integrity.

This means not only sharing and celebrating your diversity and inclusion successes with your audience, but sharing your challenges and “lessons learned” as well.

One of the biggest shifts that will affect businesses in every industry is that people are not as interested in whether your company is perfect, as they are in whether you act with integrity. This means having the self-awareness and confidence to acknowledge your company’s mistakes and deficiencies. It also means having the courage and commitment to do better in the future.

 

Diversity and Inclusion - LumApps Employee Experience Platform

Diversity and Inclusion – LumApps Employee Experience Platform

 

5. Provide an open forum

Diverse, inclusive workplaces are highly beneficial; however, they can also pose challenges. Misunderstandings, disagreements, and conflict arise in even the most supportive work environments.

When this happens, it’s important not to “sweep it under the rug.” Small disagreements, microaggressions, and other forms of behavior that can cause discomfort to others are inevitable. They should be acknowledged and handled in an equitable manner.

Create opportunities and environments in which disagreements can be resolved without causing unnecessary conflict or harsh treatment. Providing guidelines for handling conflict within a supportive environment can also help promote understanding and positive results.

 

6. Leverage smart platforms for employee engagement

Employee engagement ranks high on the “wish list” of every growth-focused organization. Unfortunately, though, many of these companies struggle to keep employees truly engaged – even those that employ “personnel relations” staff.

Simply emailing a monthly newsletter or an occasional announcement isn’t keeping employees engaged. In order to bring them in emotionally and create a sense of loyalty and synergy that truly drives success, it’s important to give them “at your fingertips” resources and insights.

That’s where platforms like LumApps come in. Through an employee experience platform, employees can connect, discover a wealth of resources and information, and dial into the company vision as valued, unique contributors to your success.

Smart employee engagement apps like LumApps deliver custom content and resources – each user’s experience is completely tailored to their interests, goals, job role, and other factors.

Employee engagement platforms help employees feel valued and understood without the enormous cost of employing an army of one-on-one employee liaisons.

How can you improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Above, you learned several ways to implement an environment that supports equity and inclusion in the workplace.

To provide you with a quick reference guide, here are some examples of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and how improvements can be made.

1. Create objective, fair performance standards.

Each employee’s employee’s performance and success must be evaluated using the same criteria, regardless of the employee’s personal attributes.

2. Create change in small steps.

Rapid change can lead to employee backlash and poor implementation of DEI initiatives. Instead, include change-resistant employees in the implementation process, and roll out initiatives in small steps.

3. Be clear about your vision.

Employees, customers, stakeholders, and social media followers all want to know what you stand for and what your company plans to achieve. Communicate your vision clearly across internal and external channels.

4. Go for authenticity.

Employees and stakeholders aren’t looking for perfect leaders. They’re looking for people who can learn from mistakes and continue growing. Tell your authentic story and don’t worry about glossing over your missteps.

5. Ensure that diverse voices are heard.

No workplace is conflict-free, but you can promote harmony through diversity and inclusion by offering an open forum where employees can reach resolutions that benefit them, you, and your company.

6. Engage employees through technology.

Employees need to feel engaged to do their best work. With a robust, AI-driven employee engagement platform like LumApps, though, you can optimize results and profits, as well as each employee’s sense of job fulfillment. Best of all, it’s all done through automation, so there’s no reason to amend your payroll budget.

Discover how simple employee engagement can be – connect with the professionals at LumApps today.

Read more: 20+ Ideas to Improve Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

“Diversity” and “inclusion” are distinct but intertwined concepts that have been overlooked and ignored for decades, but have risen to the forefront of corporate conversations around the world.

“Diversity” simply means that a company employs and values a diverse workforce. “Inclusion” refers to a company’s efforts to cultivate a workplace where all contributors are treated equitably and respectfully, and have fair access to resources and opportunities.

  1. Define objective performance standards and criteria
  2. Focus on small, meaningful changes
  3. Communicate your vision clearly
  4. Be authentic

All the steps

  • Create objective, fair performance standards
  • Create change in small steps
  • Be clear about your vision
  • Go for authenticity

All the ideas

Author

Milton Herman
Content Writer

Category

Corporate Culture Employee Engagement Employee Experience

Published on

March 8, 2022