Accepting diversity in the workplace - a positive form of change
For over more than a century, society has undergone change at an unparalleled pace. From the various industrial revolutions to social, economic, political, religious and cultural changes, humankind is going through a process of fundamental transformation. These changes have also infiltrated with the workplace, which has to adapt to meet the need of a more diverse and multi-cultural workforce.
So, while diversity in the workplace is not a new topic, recent years have seen a global shift from race to gender, to cultural and religious affiliation, to disability and sexual orientation and more recently to considering neurodiversity, including personality type and thinking style, companies still have room for improvement to embed their diversity, equity and inclusion policies. This is crucial as findings have linked financial performance and competitive advantage to the topic of diversity, as illustrated by the McKinsey & Company’s report on delivering through diversity
Why should companies welcome diversity?
Over the years, studies have shown that diversity has more depth than the mere act of accepting people for their differences. The benefits of diversity have been linked to the success of the company in the following ways:
A diverse team allows for different perspectives, which lead to increased creativity and innovation
Diversity opens up new avenues for business opportunities and markets
Diversity enhances a company’s ability to recruit, attract and retain top talents in the industry
Diversity increases productivity by introducing different approaches to tackle a project.
How to embrace and foster diversity?
Awareness: To raise awareness in the workplace, it is important to recognise, respect and reinforce the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.
Communication: Companies should create an environment where employees can speak up or report cases of discrimination. Companies need to recognise they play a key role in developing strategies that help to better support employees, build cultures and create a vibrant and thriving business, where employees feel more engaged, safe, connected and heard.
Training: It is crucial for driving acceptance. Employees may need to undergo training that gives them the opportunity to learn, understand and respect other people’s beliefs and way of life.
Inclusion: it is not enough to have people with diverse backgrounds and cultures within the company. Diversity comprises involving people with diverse ethnic groups or gender in the heart of the company’s affairs, for instance, top management and decision-making roles.
Equality and equity: companies need to practise what they preach, especially when it comes to job opportunities and employees’ pay. There should be transparency and fair judgement.
In summary, diversity, equity and inclusion is not something a company can achieve overnight, but it is paramount in today’s world where people move from various countries in search of a better life, experience and job. A workplace that fosters diversity and inclusion further enhances its sustainability by gaining an extended range of perspectives and talents, which are particularly crucial when solving issues, developing new business ideas and avoiding a shortage of workers.
Not sure about how to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion in your business? Please email us at www.ovacgroup.com for a free consultation.