You know what is nice? Variety. Liquorice All Sorts, My Little Ponies, ocean-cleaning algae. It’s nice when there are many different kinds of an awesome thing. The same principle rings true when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Today we’ll take a look at why companies that want to evolve and stay relevant should create diverse, inclusive teams in 2019 and beyond.
What is the difference between diversity and inclusion?
Diversity - within an organisation refers to a collection of employees that have a variety of different individual characteristics, values, beliefs and experiences based on their backgrounds, personal preference and behaviours. This includes visible traits like gender, ethnicity, physical ability, age and body type; as well as invisible traits like sexual orientation, religion, education, parental status and socio-economic status.
Inclusion - although related to diversity, inclusion is a separate concept that is defined as an environment in which all employees are treated with the same level of fairness and respect, provided equal access to opportunities and resources and find themselves in a position to contribute to the success of a business.
In short - diversity is inviting a whole lot of people to come to your party; inclusion is actually giving them all a slice of the cake and a turn to play aan-aan. After all, what’s the point of getting all dressed up in your favourite action hero T-shirt and battling with the sellotape dispenser to wrap a gift if all you’re going to do is sit on the sidelines and watch the other kids play? No fun at all.
Would you like to read some more on the topic? A recent study by McKinsey & Company reaffirms the global relevance of the link between diversity (defined as a greater proportion of women and a more mixed ethnic and cultural composition in the leadership of large companies) and company financial outperformance. Go check it out here.
If you want to keep things a little closer to home, we highly recommend that you get your hands on a copy of A Journey of Diversity & Inclusion in South Africa by Nene Molefi. The author takes a look at the conscious and unconscious bias that can prevent diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but also celebrates the companies that have already emerged as allies who want to create a diverse South Africa. It acknowledges the progress that has been made without discounting the work that still needs to be done. A great read all in all.
In the meantime, here are the top 7 important benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace that will get you even more excited to promote this winning strategy at your company:
1. Inclusive culture makes the circle bigger
A team consisting of individuals from different backgrounds automatically provide a variety of perspectives. They also come with differing skills and experiences. This is invaluable if you want to develop sustainable business strategies in 2019 and beyond.
2. A diverse workforce promotes creativity
Let's be honest - diversity creates dissent. No matter how you slice it, there is going to be some discomfort when you gather a whole bunch of very different people around one boardroom table. But that same discomfort and slight sense of imbalance creates a melting pot of fresh new ideas when everyone comes at a problem from different angles.
3. Diverse teams innovate at every turn
According to research by Josh Bersin, a world-renowned industry analyst and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, leading provider of research-based membership programs in human resources (HR), talent and learning, inclusive companies are almost twice as likely to be innovation leaders in their market.
4. Diverse talent pool = swift problem-solving
Groups of cognitively similar people have been found to be less effective at solving problems than groups with different experiences and views. I.e. different folks = better problem-solving.
Read more here 👉 Diversity and inclusion - how your business can get on board
5. Boosted employee engagement
Improved employee engagement is a direct outcome of improved diversity and inclusion in the workplace. When everyone is allowed to play, the workplace becomes a happy space where everyone feels welcome to speak up and participate.
6. Shiny, happy company reputation
When your company's work environment becomes known as a diverse workplace where all individuals have an equal opportunity to grow, contribute and excel, it's undeniably good for business. It positions your enterprise as a forward-thinking entity.
7. Diversity & inclusion efforts attract top talent
We're at a pretty critical point of generational turnover and cultural evolution at the moment. The hard-working, trailblazing Baby Boomers are getting ready to head into retirement or tackle new challenges, while the Millennial generation gets ready to fill some big shoes with their fresh new ideas and approach to work. If your business wants to attract, and most importantly retain, top talent in this shifting cultural landscape, diversity and inclusion in the workplace is not just a nice to have, it is absolutely non-negotiable.
Read more here 👉 10 powerful reasons you need a great company culture
So there you have it - if you want your company to grow and excel like nobody’s business, you should 100% be focussing on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Not just because it makes for good PR, but because it makes the circle bigger, promotes creativity, boosts innovation and problem-solving, boosts employee engagement, improves your company's reputation and attracts top talent. Pheeuw, that is a lot of YAY for one sentence, am I right?
Perhaps this blog has inspired you to launch your very own recognition program with diversity & inclusion at the centre. We have just the book to get you started...Click on the image below and download a FREE copy of our latest ebook to find out how