For businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic is a test of their leadership. They need to protect the health of their employees and customers as well as plan for recovery. The test also includes reimagining what the company will do in the new normal.
In this challenging time, it might be hard to work on diversity and inclusion in your workplace.
But this report shows that inclusion and diversity are essential because they make a company stronger. Companies with diverse talents will do well if their leaders include different perspectives.
We know you have to deal with COVID-19 now, but inclusion and diversity are too important to put on the back burner.
However, some companies seem to view inclusion and diversity as a "luxury we can't afford" during the crisis. We believe that they may jeopardise their license to operate in the long term and miss out on new opportunities to develop their business models and strengthen their recovery.
Now is the perfect time for you to seize this moment — both to protect the gains you have already made and to leverage diversity and inclusion to position yourself to prosper in the future.
A diverse and inclusive workplace allows everyone to feel equally engaged and supported in all areas of work and life regardless of who they are or what they contribute to the company.
Do you hire candidates from a specific background instead of skills? Or do you have a workplace where half of your employees are women but none are managers? Overall, you have a good mix of races and ethics, though they are all assigned to the same department?
These questions are a good way to tell whether your workplace has diversity and inclusion.
Diversity and inclusion are two related concepts, but they are not synonymous.
Diversity is about having a variety of different people in an organisation. Be it race, ethnicity, background, creed, religion, belief, culture, generation or gender identity, your workplace is considered diverse when you have a mix of different types of people.
Inclusion is about bringing together different groups of people to create a stronger workforce and community while also not excluding anyone based on their differences. Everyone feels they're involved, treated and supported fairly.
A company is diverse when it hires employees from multiple ethnicities, races, nationalities, genders, and political beliefs. Still, it's not inclusive if it doesn't value or listen to the perspectives of a certain group.
A company is inclusive because it values every single perspective and makes sure everyone feels involved and supported. But it's not diverse because the majority of the workforce consists of only one or two races, nationalities, gender identity, or religions.
Diversity and inclusion may sound like a hassle, but there are social, economic, and business benefits.
McKinsey's Diversity Wins report shows that diverse businesses in gender and ethnicities are 25% and 36% more profitable, respectively.
Companies with a diverse workforce make superior judgments more quickly, giving them a significant edge over their competitors. As a result, organisations with diversity in the workplace see better financial results and greater earnings.
Since your employees have different backgrounds, characteristics, and skills, you're more likely to get various unique perspectives and come up with novel ideas. Thus, boosting your company's innovative and creative capabilities.
This is a great competitive edge for you to slice through the competitors and gain a front-row seat in the industry.
A Deloitte study found that high employee engagement is a direct outcome of diversity and inclusion.
Those who feel highly included in a workplace are more engaged (67%) than those in a diverse but less inclusive work environment (20%). Even better, it's the combined force of diversity and inclusion that produces the highest levels of engagement (101%).
The connection between workplace diversity and employee engagement is obvious — when employees feel included, they are more engaged.
There are many ways to promote diversity in the workplace. But in this article, we'll highlight 3 game-changing ways that will tip the scale the most.
In your employee's mind, "If my leaders are not doing what they say, why should I follow?"
A harsh statement, but this is how your employees think about your leaders. When advocating a company culture, policy, or behaviour, your leaders set the examples first.
If they don't practice what they preach, they're essentially giving the employees permission to disobey the new policy.
So, start from your leadership team and incorporate diversity and inclusion into their habits. Here are the 6 traits a diverse and inclusive leader has:
Diversity and inclusion don't work when they exist only on paper.
The most important and impactful thing you can do right now is to open the can of worms and address each inequality and mistreatment one by one.
Chances are, there are many hidden forms of biases, stereotypes, unfair treatments, and exclusivity happening on the ground level. And having an honest, open dialogue is the key ingredient to make diversity and inclusion your practice.
For starters, it's recommended to carry out the conversations privately. Why? We can bet that none of the employees will speak up in public for fear of retaliation when diversity and inclusion are new to your company.
So, educate your managers to practice the 6 diverse and inclusive leadership traits above. Then, open 1-on-1 conversations between the manager and their subordinates. Managers are required to remain open-minded and calm — even if the subordinate is talking about how "the manager" treated them unfairly.
Tip: Your manager can open this kind of dialogue during performance review sessions.
Culture fit has been a focus in hiring practices. Others, however, have argued that it promotes groupthink, making it difficult to come by new and novel ideas.
The thing is, did you know that "culture-fit" is the opposite of inclusion?
Instead of selecting someone who fits within your culture, search for someone who is a little different and would therefore enrich your culture.
Here's how Facebook does it:
To create a more diverse and inclusive workforce, Facebook banned the phrase "culture fit" when providing feedback on what interviewers liked or disliked about a candidate, forcing interviewers to offer specifics. They looked at their interview procedure and made efforts to eliminate any biases before they became apparent.
Facebook also restructured their interviews to focus on alignment with their five core values and developed a "managing unconscious bias" training program. While this training is not mandatory, almost 100% of senior leadership and over 75% of employees have voluntarily completed the program.
Diversity and inclusion don't work when they exist only on paper.
Leaders need to lead by example and be courageous to open up conversations about the topic. Consider hiring talents that enrich your culture instead of just finding those that "fit" your company.
Now is a good time to introduce diversity and inclusion into your culture. So, your business will be ready to take off as soon as the world returns to its full economic force.
How do other companies make their workplace more diverse and inclusive?
One way is that they hire disabled people. In fact, studies have shown companies that hired employees with disabilities outperformed their peers! But it's not easy to make these employees feel inclusive. Find out how you can best support employees with disabilities in your workplace.