Why Your Business Could Use Investment in Diversity and Inclusion
For a lot of businesses, the topic of diversity and inclusion have been on the brain. It’s no wonder. A diverse workplace has all kinds of benefits including increased collaboration a teamwork and an increased pool of skills knowledge and ideas. The Millennial generation is the most diverse generation to date, they expect a diverse and inclusive workplace. So if you’re looking to attract the best talent, making yourself diverse and inclusive should be a top priority.
What is diversity?
Most people see diversity in the workplace as having different races, sexes, orientations, abilities and backgrounds equally represented. While that’s part of it, there’s more to consider. Your office should reflect the city you work in. In a city like Guelph, you may have about 83% white employees, but remember, race isn’t the only thing that makes a workplace diverse. Does your workplace proportionally represent men and women? People with disabilities? People of different ages?
Also consider diversity in terms of ways people think and ways people work. There’s a lot of factors that make people diverse other than race, religion or skin color.
What is inclusion?
The goal of diversity, shouldn’t be to “check boxes.” A statistically diverse workplace doesn’t necessarily mean everyone has equal opportunity. Equal opportunity comes from being inclusive. Inclusion has more to do with leveling the playing field so that people of every background feel they have a fair shot. This is no easy feat, and could take time to accomplish. When you create an inclusive workplace, you will naturally attract a diverse range of employees.
Some Questions to Audit Your Workplace Inclusion:
- What does the wording on your job postings look like?
- If you’re looking for “assertive” or “aggressive” people, are you discouraging women to apply?
- Where are you posting job ads? Will people from all backgrounds have a chance to see it? Are people from every demographic likely to see it or only those with computer access?
- Are your ads and the rest of your hiring process accessible for blind, deaf, or other people with disabilities (i.e. written tests, interviews, etc.)?
- Do people feel free to come express concerns at any time?
- Is collaboration encouraged with an open workspace?
- Is there anything in your space that would make someone of a different background uncomfortable?
- Do you have gender-specific bathrooms?
- Is your workplace set up in a way to allow people of every ability to work autonomously?
- How often do you check-in and evaluate people’s comfortability in their job and workplace?
- Do you ever ask how things can be improved?
- Who are you asking for improvements, the same people or a diverse range?
- Are your hiring internally?
- Do you have a diverse workforce to choose from?
- Is it an individual or a diverse team making these decisions?
These are just a start, think of other departments or areas of your work (marketing, training, etc.) and ask if you’re doing everything you can to be as inclusive of as many different groups of people as possible.
What do diversity and inclusion bring a workplace?
A recent study has found that companies within the top quartile of diverse workforces were 35% more likely to have higher financial returns when compared to their industry mediums. In other words, an investment in diversity could end up seeing a huge long-term ROI.
Picture a workplace where everyone feels comfortable expressing their voice or sharing their ideas. People who think differently are more comfortable working together to help solve problems together. And let’s be honest, who wants to sit and work in a boring office where everyone is exactly the same?
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