Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is a hot topic transcending industries. Customers and employees expect workplaces to embrace and welcome individuals from all different paths of life. Leaders are racing to implement workplace D&I initiatives to stay competitive in their marketplace.
But what exactly does diversity and inclusion mean and how can organizations achieve it?
Diversity describes the range of differences that humans have, this could include age, gender, ethnicity and race.
Diversity expands all aspects of an individual that makes them unique: sexuality, personality types, thinking styles and physical and cognitive differences. For employers, this means actively seeking out employees that have different identities, experiences and perspectives. A great example of a leader driving diversity is Sodexo. Sodexo is one of the largest multimillion corporations, is represented by a workforce made up of 54% women, and as well as 43% of their Global Executive Committee (1). Diverse leadership is an incredible way to ensure decisions from the top down are inclusive and encourage inclusivity within sub teams.
To receive the benefits of a diverse workplace, inclusivity must be established.
Inclusion is a culture of empowerment and dignity for workers. It fosters a sense of belonging and drives innovation by allowing workers to feel comfortable with expressing themselves at work. For employers, this could mean creating a work culture in which differences are embraced, which can be done through the organization and the individuals within it, or through the physical work environment itself. In the case of Sodexo this meant having diverse leadership to result in inclusive decisions.For. Accenture, the massive consulting firm, this is reflected in their a company wide celebration for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The event enables employees to learn about varying abilities and how it is relevant to them at work. Accenture goes further and provides employees with assistive technology, additional training and flexible hours as they need it (2).
We believe defining Diversity and Inclusion and understanding what that definition means for your company is the first step to implementation. Defining these terms allows leaders to identify their unique company culture needs and changes to implement.
Your personal D&I definition will drive evaluation, how you will measure your success, a necessary endeavour companies aiming to truly lead diversity grapple with. . Of the 60% of companies actually investing into D&I initiatives, only 15% report to know how to evaluate them. defining your D&I goals help you uncover outcomes to start measuring your effectiveness and improve with each imitative. , Defining D&Iis a simple step, but an important one that companies need to invest in to understand when and how to & promote inclusivity in the workplace.
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