Does your company talk a lot about diversity and inclusion? Is there training on how to implement them? It is not uncommon to come across companies that claim to support and celebrate diversity and inclusion but, when it comes to designing a strategy, lack the qualified and experienced staff to do so. And if someone has a diversity expert, it usually falls on that person, without the support of a department. Here’s a look at some of the reasons senior leaders should move from discussion to action and implement a diversity and inclusion strategy.
Increase motivation in the workforce
Job satisfaction is a practical goal for D&I experts, as a happy workforce is a more productive workforce. A happy work environment helps the company run better—studies on this topic date back to the 1920s with thehawthorne experiment. Today we also know that diversity fosters employee engagement by increasing trust (Deloitte). This must be supported by the creation of a diversity and inclusion strategy that guarantees that workers, whatever their origins and circumstances, can develop their professional career in the organization, reaching their full potential.
This will help create a positive atmosphere in the company, but it has to come from the top—you need ainclusive leadership to drive positive changein behaviors at work. The value of diversity and inclusion training has to come to be understood in a tangible way. Diversity goes beyond demographics (race and gender) and includes aspects such as cognitive (training and personality).
The winning trick is to share our progress outside the doors
Companies that have implemented a good strategy have thewinning trick in D&I, since many times the figures do not make sense. To measure inclusion, it is essential to organize discussion groups to get information about the well-being of workers. The data obtained on employee satisfaction must be collected and analyzed according to the different groups within the organization.
Analyzing the happiness of workers according to their gender, nationality, age or the time they have been with the company is a useful strategy to increase inclusion. And to measure it we must not limit ourselves to box-ticking exercises: culture is a fluid phenomenon, and measurement tools must change regularly. Demonstrating abroad that we are actively promoting diversity is important for the image of the company. Hitting the numbers is always fine, but what people want to see is engagement and relevant action.
From difference to discovery
We all prefer to be with GCN (people like us), staying with what we are familiar with and with people whose ideology is similar to ours. However, in this changing world, not questioning ourunconscious biasesit is simply a mistake. The time has come to look beyond “groupthink” and get to the bottom of our curiosity. Developing an effective diversity and inclusion strategy means catalyzing synergistic workforce diversity to drive innovation and create the best ideas. Historically, curiosity has not enjoyed a very good reputation. The old expression of “curiosity killed the cat” is just another way of telling us that being curious about other people’s affairs can get us into trouble.
This expression has its origins in the England of the s. XVI, where we find that playwrights like Shakespeare and Jonson use it in their works. In his Don Juan, Lord Byron refers to curiosity as “an ignoble vice.” Five hundred years later, it is an irrefutable fact that curiosity is a positive element in the reflection processes behind any organization. Diversity has to be integrated at all levels of the organization. develop thecultural intelligenceand discovering the needs and aspirations of each worker will open new horizons for our company. It is important to create a safe environment and that our principals have an open door policy.
Companies that have been able to integrate D&I have been empowered by diversity at all levels. Big companies like the American giantexelonthey have benefited economically after implementing diversity and inclusion. The company offers mentorship and mentorship programs, and recently launched a workforce development initiative in Washington, DC These types of programs allow people to openly express their feelings and thoughts about their career and their future. Middle managers, whose role as people skill connectors is often overlooked, should be a key player in the process.
And what are we waiting for?
Seeing differences as a problem is the mistake that many people in companies and organizations make. There have always been age gaps in the workforce, and those who can see the benefits of having millennials working side-by-side with people over 50, for example, are ahead of the game when it comes to talent development. If we have in mind from the beginning a final destination for our organization, we will be able to design an effective and personalized strategy that will result in an increase in the interaction with the shareholders. By developing an effective D&I strategy, the company demonstrates how much it values differences, and publicly shows that it is committed to developing the best talent in the organization, regardless of gender, nationality, age or sexual orientation.