Anyone working in change management needs to focus significant attention to diversity and inclusion. This is all about building a diverse workplace and providing everyone with equal opportunities and an equal voice, irrespective of their gender, sex, sexual orientation, background, race, religion, or anything else. By putting together an effective diversity and inclusion policy, you can drive your business forward, benefiting from a diverse set of opinions and ideas, as well as making positive steps to support those who have been historically suppressed for many years. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the best diversity and inclusion practices today.
Understanding the difference between diversity and inclusion
Diversity and inclusion strategies cannot be established if you do not understand the difference between both. Let’s begin by explaining diversity. This includes any dimension that is utilised to differentiate people and groups from one and other. When we’re talking about diversity from a business point of view, we concentrate mainly on appreciating and respecting what makes workers different in terms of natural origin, education, sexual orientation, disability, religion, ethnicity, gender, and age. Every employee within a team brings a different set of ideas, beliefs, thoughts, and perspectives, which helps workers have diverse views on different company opportunities and challenges. Therefore, it is critical for change managers to value and respect every individual if you are to build an improved employee experience and business culture.
So, what about inclusion? What’s the difference? Unlike diversity, inclusion is focused on making organisational efforts so that all employees feel welcomed and treated equally. You cannot simply have diversity strategies without having inclusion. You not only need to hire people from different backgrounds, but you also need to ensure they all feel welcome and part of the team. After all, we work our very best when we have a sense of belonging, as we do not feel like we are being starved of our thoughts and creativity. It is all about making sure you respect everyone and who they are as a person or group. When this happens, you will notice your employee engagement levels increase considerably too.
Why should you care about diversity and inclusion?
Well, the obvious starting point is that you will be doing what is ethically and morally correct. After all, there are groups of people who have been suppressed and not given equal opportunity for years and years, and it is time to re-write this history. You can be a part of that, and you should be a part of that!
However, the business benefits are extensive too, including enhanced reputation, better financial performance, improved decision-making, and innovation and creativity. We are all different after all, and so bringing a diverse set of thoughts and opinions to the workplace can only be a good thing.
Other benefits you can expect include improved employee loyalty, empowerment, and retention, as well as knowledge sharing, talent attraction, and employee engagement. These are changes that all businesses would certainly benefit from.
What are the best diversity and inclusion practices that your business can implement?
Now that you understand why you need to consider practices that address both inclusion and diversity, let’s take a look at some of the different ways you can go about implementing these practices at your business:
- Support creativity and innovation within your change management efforts – In order to create a diverse team, you need to ensure that creativity and innovation are supported. If they do not make up one of your primary business objectives, you will struggle to build diversity in the workplace and to maintain it effectively. After all, when creativity and innovation is not supported, businesses remain stagnant and a fresh perspective is rarely sort, which in turn, starves your diversity and inclusion efforts. This is why it is critical to support innovation and creativity. Your business will soar as a result.
- Provide equal opportunities to grow and develop – Whether this is training opportunities or the chance to get promoted, it is imperative that everyone has the same opportunities to grow and develop within your team. Good facilitation is the key that unlocks creativity, that unlocks our minds to achieve more. If you look at statistics regarding employee retention, you will see that one of the main reasons people move on is because they do not feel like they have the opportunity to grow and develop. They feel like they are stuck in dead-end roles and they won’t have the chance to flourish and achieve more. Eradicating this can make a massive difference to the success of your business.
- Make sure all of your team members receive fair treatment – Favouring one person over another is never advised in the workplace. It simply cannot produce good results. Fairness is one of the vital prerequisites for workers to feel accepted and valued. We’re not just talking about giving preferential treatments on projects, but also unfair benefits packages and unfair salaries. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses are still operating unfairly from a financial point of view. You need to change this and ensure that everyone is on level pegging so that there is clear respect within your work environment.
- Create a feeling of belonging – As mentioned earlier, we always work our best when we feel like we belong. In many respects we live in an age of uncertainty but when there is a sense of belonging, we feel like we can be ourselves. We are not afraid to speak up or to put ideas forward. We are able to build a truly valuable professional network of diverse minds that can generate truly innovative ideas. This is why it is imperative to create a full sense of belonging for everyone in your team.
Now we’ve given you some insight into some of the best practices you can put in place when it comes to diversity and inclusion within the workplace today, we hope that this has helped you to get a better understanding. However, if you are struggling to put together an effective DEI policy, the best thing to do is hire an experienced professional who will be able to assist you with the process. They will be able to help you refine your approach to diversity and inclusion, which, in turn, will drive your business forward.