Corporate Diversity& Inclusiveness
Diversity and Inclusiveness (D&I) is a complex area to manage and develop in organizations. The benefits are actually quite expansive and worth the investment. Nonetheless, there are pitfalls that can also hurt an organization when we don’t understand how policy or even earnest attempts at increasing it can backfire.
More informal and formal discussions need to take place about change in general in the workplace at all levels. In order for people to be more open minded and less resistant to change, real shifts need to happen in the culture and strategy of a corporation. Policy is never enough! Policy can be utilized as an enforcement tool, but people will always find loopholes, grey areas, or ways to hide their effort to hinder diversity within the workplace.
What does the research show for D&I? Some research has shown that it has a direct beneficial impact on profitability when organizations increased the numbers of woman in leadership roles, as well as better mix of racial/ethnic diversity. Increased D&I can impact far more, but more studies (quantitative & qualitative) are needed within organizations that have successful outcomes to show the benefits that an array of diversity has to offer to other organizations that have yet to move forward on D&I initiatives. Employees who are comfortable being themselves at work will be more focused, less stressed, and happier.
Diversity of thought is also very important. Why? It increases creative thought and enhanced problem solving. Lack of it, can lead to bad decision making like “Groupthink”. That sometimes occurs when a person with a very strong personality leads a group and is not open to different ideas. It can also happen to groups where the people under a leader are too afraid to voice their opinion if they don’t know if it will be appreciated or not. Leaders can develop “yes-people” without even being aware of it. Genuine leaders who are open and give voice to those who support them are more likely to avoid the toxicity and negative ramifications of groupthink. Diversity of thought increases are ability to be creative and problem solve. How do we make sure that teams are communicating and working at optimal levels?
“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.”
Ageism is an ever-increasing problem in many countries and corporations. It is more easily hidden than some of the other types of discrimination; subsequently the global statistics are probably not close to being accurate. Some of the benefits of older workers are as follows: (1) More Engaged-Happier, (2) Highly Skilled, (3) Life Experience, (4) Absent Less, (5) High Interpersonal Skills.
How an organization defines talent can have a big impact. Companies that have invested in D&I, onboarding, training, and mentoring have been more successful at attracting new employees. Cultural fit has become an important factor in hiring and attracting candidates.
A cultural shift or full transformation can happen if the leaders genuinely believe in it, and staff at all levels support it. The first step is to openly talk about the issues and move those talks into action. Through positive change and forward thinking, an infusion of diversity can help avoid costly lawsuits. More importantly, it can increase productivity & profitability, retention rates, good decision making, creativity, and positive employee engagement, so that the organization can outperform and outlast their fiercest competitors. By embracing a variety of diversity, corporations will go stronger, not weaker. Business leaders will greatly benefit from building bridges not only for themselves but for their organization as a whole.