Sometimes, terms like inclusion and diversity are thrown around as though they are simply buzzwords. Successful corporations, however, understand that embracing diversity and inclusion helps an organization grow and thrive. Why? Because when we celebrate our differences, we learn from each other, and greater diversity in the workplace means a wider range of life experiences, expertise, and ideas. Organizations that make the most of this will find that their collective knowledge and overall mindset begin to evolve.
There is a wealth of evidence supporting the idea that diversity is good for an organization. Research indicates that more diverse companies produce more than double the cash flow per employee than homogenous organizations, and companies with females in top management provide their shareholders with greater returns. Do diverse companies reap these benefits because they have a broader range of talent? Perhaps, but it could also be that an atmosphere of inclusivity improves employee engagement and, by extension, performance. By building an environment where every employee feels supported and appreciated, you build a better employee experience, which leads to better employee performance.
One of the most famous diversity quotes comes from Stephen Covey: “Strength lies in differences, not similarity. ”Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, understood that whether it’s diversity in the classroom or the boardroom, embracing it makes us stronger and more effective. If you’d like a more ethereal diverse quote, try this one from Canadian author and philosopher Matshona Dhliwayo: “A garden’s beauty never lies in one flower.” The garden analogy is a good one because in a diverse classroom or office, people grow to reach a higher potential. Children in diverse school settings perform better on tests, and companies that embrace diversity see better performance and increased employee engagement.
There are a few concrete steps you can take to begin celebrating inclusion and diversity in your company.
· Promote pay equity. Pay equity is important to the integrity of your organization, not just in terms of compliance, but from a cultural standpoint. No company can honestly claim to celebrate diversity when there are pay gaps between employees based on factors like gender or race. To ensure that you’re living up to your ideals, start with an audit, to make sure no such gaps exist. In this audit, you’ll determine which groups to evaluate and which factors to consider, then have the data analyzed to compare pay in relation to the employees’ responsibilities, experience, education, background, and performance, to identify discrepancies. By conducting this kind of audit, you will be demonstrating your approach to paying equity to your employees, and the information you collect will help build a more evolved compensation plan.
· Support employee advancement. When making decisions on promotions and new hires, make sure that your management team is advocating for applicants of all backgrounds. This will require good communication between the Human Resources team and senior management and a centralized employee database that includes variables that will help you easily identify trends and efficiently audit employee advancement.
· Build a company calendar of cultural events. You can build a company culture event calendar by creating a calendar space in which employees can see and add days of observance or celebration. It’s useful to connect this with a messaging channel like Slack, where people can share information and news about events that should be included. Start with religious holidays, branching out from there to include not only historical events but also monthly observances, events, and holidays that celebrate gender and racial inclusivity. This calendar can be a helpful organizational tool, giving you time to plan events and accommodate employee time off. Don’t simply account for gender, race, and religious affiliations, but look for ideas that will help you celebrate diversity in ways that appeal to different personalities and social types. Use your company event calendar to build internal traditions and improve your corporate culture, while providing more visibility to the different cultures and backgrounds represented in your company.
· Provide diversity education. The celebration of diversity must be embraced throughout your organization to be effective. This won’t work if your employees are not well-educated and trained on diversity and inclusion principles in the workplace. Share a list of educational events and resources, either in the culture calendar or through a separate avenue, to let your employees know of opportunities in the community. Additionally, consider scheduling in-house events during work hours, bringing in guest speakers and thought leaders to share stories and their experiences. Work to empower your employees with education and resources, and offer days off to volunteer or attend diversity and inclusive training. You might also offer stipends for employees to spend on courses and certificate programs promoting diversity and inclusion.
If you’re looking for employee engagement ideas, talk to Marketing Innovators, where we believe that connecting to people on a human level is the best way to build a great business. That’s why for over 40 years our family-owned, employee driven company has been working to build and strengthen that connection between businesses and their employees, customers, and partners. We work hard to help our clients motivate, incentivize, and reward their workforce. Our commitment to our core values of integrity, trust, collaboration, empowerment, and the kind of results-oriented attitude that promotes customer success has made us a leader in the engagement marketplace. To learn more about how we can help solve your business challenges, contact us today.