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Diversity and inclusion have been a point of focus in the business world for a long time. With more cultural education and Gen Z now included in the general workforce, the priority has skyrocketed in recent years, especially for job seekers. Employers are being pressured to deliver on big promises, and many of them have good intentions but just don’t know how to accomplish such an enormous shift. This blog will touch on several reasons why diversity matters and how to start building more diversity into your business.
There are many benefits that come from building a diverse workforce within a business:
It’s important to note that focusing on diversity and inclusion is not just something we do to say we’ve done it. It is an evolving subject that requires a willingness to engage in challenging conversations. However, it’s not only the right thing to do, but also a beneficial business strategy. Diverse teams drive innovation and creative problem solving. Research shows evidence that advantages expand as diversity moves up into the management and senior levels of a business. Organizations with the most diverse executive teams show higher profitability than those with less diverse teams.
So now that we understand why diversity matters, from a human perspective and a business perspective, how do we get it?
One-off DE&I initiatives do not effectively address long-standing challenges and disparities around diversity. Additionally, culture is motivated by the workforce but demonstrated by leadership. This means that leadership must lead this movement, and not just as a siloed approach. Diversity and inclusion should be developed in every channel of your company culture.
Leadership should be promoting and demonstrating a commitment to diversity at every opportunity. They must advocate for these efforts throughout hiring and promoting, as well as within internal systems, removing biases and barriers at every stage of the employee experience. And, they must invite accountability. This means having open conversations with teams and being transparent about letting diversity guide decision-making. Additionally, leaders can manage up, promoting business benefits to any boards or leaders above themselves.
Every stage of your recruitment and hiring process should be critically reviewed and updated to eliminate bias and seek out candidates from the widest range of backgrounds.
Especially in companies where DE&I is a foreign or difficult subject, opening training opportunities and conversations can be critical in developing diversity as a group priority. Open conversations can provide opportunities for individuals to ask questions they may otherwise ignore. This type of training can also offer a more thorough understanding of diversity and inclusion, and teach key issues such as:
Also, it’s important to engage your leadership in training and coaching beyond the silo of DE&I. By coaching and developing leaders, they can improve their relationships with those they lead. A stronger connection with employees allows for more psychological safety and facilitates more honest conversations and feedback. This will organically contribute to the growth in your company culture but also create more connection and rich relationship between leaders and employees, which will naturally motivate more thoughtful and equitable decision making.
Workplace diversity and inclusion has become a critical concern for employers and employees – it’s also a rapidly developing topic, which changes as time goes by. It’s important to stay in the loop with continuing education and training. Additionally, it’s critical to model good culture by speaking up when you see bias or discrimination taking place. Diversity and inclusion can be difficult to develop but placing it as a priority within your business has unlimited benefits.