A survey by Valuvox across 11 Indian cities found that 77% of business owners believe that not prioritizing Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DI&B) could negatively impact their organization’s growth and performance. With today’s workplace reinventing itself, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that diversity, equity, and inclusion will become more than buzzwords in the coming years. They will be integral to building a healthy and prosperous workplace culture.
Till now, many organizations have considered DEIB as a part of compliance and primarily engage in these efforts to avoid legal challenges. However, today’s businesses have begun to understand that embracing diversity is a moral imperative and pivotal to their bottom line.
This blog delves into the critical significance of embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the workplace, exploring its future outlook in 2024.
Workplace diversity encompasses the inclusion of individuals from diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, extending beyond gender, social status, and ethnicity. It signifies a commitment to fostering an environment where everyone is respected and valued.
Additionally, an inclusion program cultivates a workplace culture that prioritizes respect, acceptance, and value for every employee. This practice encourages mutual respect, amplifies diverse voices, and invests in the personal and professional growth of all employees.
A study by Forbes reveals that companies ranking high in gender diversity outperform their competition by 15%. The results get even better for companies that practice ethnic diversity (employees from various cultural and diverse backgrounds). They showcase performance that is 35% higher than their competitors.
In addition to making everyone feel good, a diverse and inclusive workplace helps businesses find top talent, expand into new markets, and develop truly innovative ideas!
What is the Future of DEI in the Modern Workplace?
Studies show that a diverse workforce often performs better than their less diverse counterparts. A Gartner report suggests that nearly 75% of businesses with decision-making from diverse and inclusive backgrounds surpass their financial goals. The research further concluded that teams embracing gender diversity and inclusion outperform teams with less diversity by 50%, on average.
A company’s commitment to DEI can result in even more benefits than just propelling revenue and building effective teams. Implementing effective diversity, equity, and inclusion workplace practices also helps organizations gain an edge over competitors by targeting a vast talent pool and fostering innovation.
However, with today’s workforce transitioning to hybrid work models, businesses must create a respectful work environment that aligns the culture and values of employees with those of the organization. Below are seven effective ways to make your organization future-ready for DEI.
7 Ways to Make Your Organization Future-Ready for DEI
As businesses formulate distinctive growth strategies in the aftermath of recent challenges, here are a few ways to make your workplace future-ready with a robust DEI program for tomorrow.
1. Use the power of storytelling
When individuals narrate their stories, it helps them connect with other people. Storytelling can be an integral part of every culture. To make the workplace inclusive and authentic, employees must communicate their stories and be willing to engage in open dialogue in their personal and professional lives. Employers must provide a safe platform where workers can get to know one another.
Organizations willing to start their DEI journey must begin by identifying and naming the types of biases that are most likely to occur. Managing these unconscious biases (for example, stereotyping an individual based on previous incidents or experience) can only be achieved by focusing on changing systems and not only individuals.
Employers must educate their employees about correcting one’s unconscious prejudice. Hiring a DE&I consultant to educate a company on inclusion, sensitivity training, and unconscious bias can be a smart initiative. Although the process requires steady yet continuous education, the time and effort are well worth it.
Making the hiring process inclusive increases the potential of your business, fosters a productive team, and contributes to the community. Here’s how businesses may integrate inclusion strategies into their hiring practices:
Hiring managers and HR professionals should be trained to select, evaluate, and retain diverse employees.
Expand your resource base by encompassing a wider range of populations and talent pools.
Establish fair screening and shortlisting procedures.Take the help of employee resource groups (ERGs) in hiring/interviewing.
4. Provide safe spaces for employees
Being an inclusive workplace also means respecting employees’ privacy and security. For instance, gendered restrooms may cause discomfort for transgender and gender-nonconforming personnel.
On a larger scale, inclusive settings may be created by simply socializing. Provide opportunities for employees to interact with one another by hosting team lunches and other casual events. The business can create a network or support group for employees inside the office to help them connect with others and share their experiences.
Giving workers a forum and networking opportunities creates a secure, welcoming atmosphere where they can start dialogues and discuss issues significant to their community.
ERGs are all about bringing together people with similar backgrounds or interests. They usually concentrate on “mainstream” groups, including the LGBTQ+ community, Black people, Asian Americans, and others. However, businesses should also consider ERGs for other groups, such as single parents, persons with disabilities, and parents of children with disabilities.
As remote and hybrid work cultures, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence become more common, businesses are developing innovative ideas to promote DEIB. For instance, several large firms, including Walmart, Ford, and Coca-Cola, are utilizing virtual reality technology to assist employees in seeing many points of view and comprehending how their actions affect others.
Investing in technology that monitors remote work cultures can also help employee engagement. For example, new mothers who find it too early to return to the office due to personal distress can resume working from home after maternity leave. This will help the mother care for her child and help the business retain talent.
For a firm to expand and succeed sustainably, talent development is essential. To develop the potential of their personnel and create inclusive work cultures, businesses need to invest more in training and development. It is crucial to offer ongoing learning opportunities about empathy, communication, giving and receiving feedback, building trust, psychological safety, being an upstander, and everything else that goes into fostering a respectful workplace culture.
While studies have consistently demonstrated the competitive edge of companies with DEI strategies, recent times underscore the critical need for global egalitarianism and interconnectedness. Organizations fostering a robust DEI culture not only navigate pandemic-related challenges more effectively but also stand out prominently, aligning with the growing emphasis placed by workers and regulators on the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Driving organizational growth while implementing an impactful DEI can be challenging, but far from impossible. It requires strategic focus and effort, just like any other business imperative. If you plan to best use your diversity, equity, and inclusion budget and gauge its impact on organizational performance, consider an integrated performance management solution. Engagedly is a cloud-based integrated performance management tool that assists in drafting transparent performance measurement strategies and managing your diverse workforce efficiently. Book a personalized demo to learn more about Engagedly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What are the key focusing areas while setting future budgets for diversity and inclusion programs?
A company must identify the following workplace diversities: cultural diversity, racial diversity, gender diversity, physical disabilities, and diversity in interests.
Q2. What is the difference between equity and equality?
While equity refers to universal fairness, equality advocates uniformity. In an environment where equality is valued, it is considered that everyone is starting from the same position.
On the other hand, equity is a workplace practice that ensures optimal access and opportunity for all people, with a prime focus on promoting policies and practices that benefit everyone across the organization. Equity recognizes the different situations, backgrounds, and issues affecting some of us more than others and strives to establish policies that are fair to them and everyone else.
Q3. What are some of the challenges of DEI in the workplace?
Transparency, senior leadership, budget limitations, and insufficient benchmarks for comparing the program’s effectiveness are some of the major challenges of DEI in the workplace.
Jacqueline Martinez is the Director of Marketing at Engagedly, where she leads initiatives to fuel the marketing-to-sales pipeline through strategic content management, revenue operations, and thoughtful mentoring. She is a growth-focused marketing executive with extensive experience driving multi-million-dollar revenues across SaaS, technology, real estate, oil & gas, and financial services industries.