Time and time again, research has shown that diverse and inclusive (D&I) workplaces perform more effectively than those that do not prioritize these principles. Employees feel more represented and valuable in these environments, which leads to better performance. Understanding and implementing diversity and inclusion best practices can boost any organization’s performance, from small businesses to global corporations.
What is Diversity & Inclusion?
Diversity simply refers to the makeup of the organization. So a diverse organization has employees at all levels of management and employment that represent a variety of demographics, experiences, and backgrounds.
On the other hand, inclusion is how the perspectives and input of all employees is understood and implemented. So even if your workplace has a diverse workforce, it is not inclusive if it does not value the contributions of all employees.
Why is D&I Important in the Workplace?
Businesses benefit when employees feel that their voices and ideas are important to workplace leaders. Organizations that support D&I see positive results like
- higher revenue growth,
- more innovative and creative employees; and
- higher employee retention.
In today’s labor crisis, employee retention is more critical than ever. Employees who know company leadership values their voices in a diverse and inclusive work environment will feel safe and more comfortable bringing their unique perspectives and personalities to the workplace. Generally, they experience greater work satisfaction and are more likely to stay with their company longer.
D&I Best Practices
So what are some diversity and inclusion best practices that can help you improve your workplace?
- Include a D&I strategy in your business plan. While it’s nice to talk about having a diverse and inclusive workplace, having an actual D&I strategy—with actional goals and performance measures—will ensure your workplace makes true progress.
- Regularly conduct wage and salary reviews. While the work environment is very important to an employee’s desire to remain at a company, a recent study found that 63% of employees left their jobs due to low wages and too few opportunities for advancement. So no matter how diverse or inclusive you might say your workplace is, simply paying lip service to these concepts is no substitute for fair compensation. You’ve got to walk the walk if you want to talk the talk.
- Implement mentoring in the workplace. Did you know that 71% of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs? Intentional workplace mentoring can dramatically impact an employee’s experience and performance. Letting workers know that they are valued by providing one-on-one time with workplace leaders allows their voices to be heard and helps them grow.
- Ensure benefits plans are well-rounded and fair. If you haven’t evaluated your employee benefits plan in a while, now is the time! Added benefits like paid paternity leave and accommodations for caregivers can go a long in helping an employee feel valued. Sometimes, benefits can make or break a candidate’s job choice. And in this labor market, businesses need to do everything they can to attract and retain employees. While maternity leave is a common benefit in many organizations, paternity leave is notably less common.
Regularly evaluating your D&I strategy will help ensure your business stays on track and grows well into the future. Business can no longer be about simply turning a profit. In 2022, all organizations—across all industries, geographies, and sizes—must be in the business of people first.