Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are not new concepts, but they remain absolutely critical pillars of any successful business. Creating diverse and inclusive workspaces creates a sustainable environment built around respect, learning, and acceptance. These features are all worthy goals for any workplace but achieving a genuinely harmonious culture takes work and dedicated focus. Before you can enjoy the benefits of an inclusive workplace, you must invest in and commit to diversity and inclusion training where all aspects are covered, so each employee understands. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are complicated, so it deserves the proper time to comprehend and implement into daily life.
What is Diversity
Diversity in a workplace means that the employed team comes from varied backgrounds that reflect larger swatches of society. Rather than every employee coming from the same city, state, or country, a diverse workplace might include international employees. There are many types of diversity, with location being one of the simplest to explain. Diversity encompasses every part that makes each person unique. Most of us identify with a handful of diversity categories like age, gender, or race, but there are many more ways a person can be unique and add to office diversity.
Diversity is about more than having diverse employees, though; it is also about accepting the diversity around us. True workplace diversity means all employees understand and embrace the differences between coworkers. A diverse workplace should accept that coworkers may come from different backgrounds, have different skills, experiences, and customers.
What is Inclusion
Inclusion is another way of saying everyone has an equal seat at the table. Each employee should be treated fairly, respectfully, and have the same access to the company’s resources as any other employee. An inclusive workplace will be supportive and respectful of all employees participating in their unique way. Discrimination and intolerance are the opposite of an inclusive workplace, and those behaviors or tendencies must be corrected. When inclusion is implemented and supported correctly, everyone will feel included and supported. No one should be left behind or purposefully left out for arbitrary reasons. Inclusive workplaces enjoy better teamwork and collaboration because all employees feel safe and respected.
Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Diversity and inclusion often go hand in hand, but they are not the same thing. Diversity refers to the traits that make each employee unique, while inclusion refers to how those unique qualities are accepted in the workplace. Inclusion focuses on social behaviors to ensure everyone feels welcome and is critical for diversity to succeed. Focusing on inclusion not only makes diversity easier to achieve, but it also improves employee wellbeing, engagement, and productivity as happy workers are more productive.
Equity and Belonging
Equity in a workplace means that everyone is treated equally and fairly. Transparency is a large part of equity as everyone must know what to expect, what will happen, and the consequences before everyone can be held to the same standard. Equity means everyone is treated the same, that also includes access to resources or new opportunities. When everyone is on the same page, and everyone has the same tools, it creates a feeling of belonging and a healthier workplace. However, diversity, inclusion, and equity do more than improving the employee’s lives, as it is also beneficial for the company.
Companies that make equity a priority attract more skilled employees who will stay at the company longer and add to your growing diverse workforce. Equity ensures an equal workplace for all, and that is a company that employees want to stay with for a while. Investing in your company culture and social training lowers your turnover rate while improving your employee’s quality of life.
Making your employees feel like they belong starts to break down the barrier between who they are at work and who they are at home. If you can create a respectful and accepting work environment, employees will open up more and see their fellow employees as more than just coworkers. The more invested and at home an employee feels, the better for the employees and the company. When workers feel like they belong, their work performance improves, collaboration becomes more effortless, turnover rate drops, and employees take fewer sick days. These changes can mean monumental money-saving initiatives for bigger companies that also result in happier, healthier employees who are better workers.
The best practices for diversity and inclusion might seem like common sense, but they are all worth repeating. All employees should be treated fairly, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and work in an inclusive, accepting, and collaborative environment. The general working environment should foster teamwork, innovation, creativity, and solidarity while retaining flexibility, agility, and responsiveness to adapt to unexpected changes.
Some diversity and inclusion best practices can be communicated, and then it is on each person to uphold their part of the system, but some diversity and inclusion initiatives require a more formal approach. At a minimum, you should have a system to resolve conflicts where everyone feels heard and valued. Appointing a leader of diversity or equality or any other suitable title gives employees a central figure to reach out to when they have questions or concerns. Diversity and inclusion must also go beyond the worker bees and be ingrained in every level of the company. Leaders must follow the same guidelines as everyone else, and that includes diversity and inclusion training.
Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion Training
Successful and effective diversity and inclusion training lets employees and leaders become more comfortable with concepts or ideas they were unaware of before. Whether it is implicit or unconscious bias or different cultural perspectives, learning about diversity and inclusiveness will only make employees better workers and better people overall. Raising awareness for underrepresented ideas helps other people feel more accepted in the workplace and less like an outcast among the group. The better a group of employees get along and understand each other, the better the collaboration efforts will be. Training also lets employees develop more sensitive thinking and inclusive actions that are invaluable skills, even outside of work.
Here at SkillSource, we know that diversity and inclusion are important elements of any successful company, but adding specific training is easier said than done. Every business wants their team to thrive and work harmoniously, but it takes work to reach that point. SkillSource is dedicated to sharing our industry knowledge to help you excel and our expert consultants can ensure your business has what it needs to get to the next level. They can help you choose a DIE&B program and a course of action that makes sure it resonates and achieves long lasting impact. Contact us today to learn how SkillSource can bring diversity and inclusion to your company.