In today’s world, only truly progressive companies are incorporating inclusion and diversity as parts of their sustainable future. In a nutshell, diversity is about what differentiates people from one another, whether by gender, ethnicity, disability, education, religion or sexual orientation. But it is a lot more. It is about respecting and appreciating those same differences.
You need to manage those diverse perspectives, backgrounds and lifestyles to drive your enterprise to innovation and success. Diversity can represent a smart business strategy. One that drives technological innovation via a diverse leadership team and diversifies clients to increase the quality of its service.
But diversity occurs during hiring and means nothing without inclusion. Inclusion is about maintaining a productive and professional environment where all employees feel like a valuable part of the company. Diversity is being a part of a business, while inclusion is to be given a genuine and valuable role in the company through an atmosphere that welcomes and values your input. You need to foster inclusion, build up teams and individuals and make everyone comfortable with sharing ideas.
For starters, diversity enables a business to draw from a bigger talent pool. Without it, not only do you ignore some top talents but recruitment costs and time are also increased. Businesses with a more diverse workforce also have a broader perspective that drives innovation. When you embody diversity through your business strategy, everybody wins.
Next, intercultural business relationships promote creativity and innovation. Employees with different experiences and backgrounds come with different ideas or methods to resolve issues. As your network begins to include individuals from different cultural backgrounds, you will be more creatively stimulated by different perspectives and ideas.
Besides a greater talent pool to choose from, better marketing, fewer lawsuits and an influx of creativity, diversity also creates more customer opportunities for a business. What better way to reach the LGBTQ community or expanding Asian market than by having someone from that specific background? Greater diversity at work creates ample opportunities to enter into new markets as there is no better way to reach new communities than by having someone that knows them well.
Recruit and develop talent
You will need to prioritize diversity in the recruiting process and build strong partnerships with different academic institutions and organizations like disability employment services. You can also create an internship program that can serve as a pipeline that discovers diverse talents early in their careers.
Promote training, education and professional development for all workers, and add training that is based on resolving unconscious biases or training for specific groups such as women. Allow diversity in the top the organization to ensure that numerous perspectives and backgrounds are present even there.
Maintaining diversity and avoiding discrimination
You as an employer should build a culture of respect, trust and fairness so that people of different racial, ethnic and gender groups can work together more efficiently. Make your employees participate in diversity training workshops in order to overcome boundaries associated with working with colleagues with different backgrounds. They will learn to identify the signs of misunderstanding, communicate better and devise solutions to work-related conflicts.
For you to remain competitive on the market, your employees must work in a safe and productive environment – one that avoids discrimination. Establish standards and rules for business conduct to make it clear to workers that discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated. You as an executive need to act in a consistent and fair manner in order to have more engaged, loyal and focused employees.
Diversity and inclusion can be great assets to your business strategy if you apply them properly. When you recruit diverse talents and allow them to have a real impact on your company culture, your business will have more creative solutions up its sleeve and can enter new markets. You as a leader are responsible for your business diversity goals and targets. Evaluate progress on a consistent basis, re-visit intentions and take actions to enhance your business strategy.