Going beyond mere compliance with diversity employment laws is good for business. Savvy organisations recognise that embracing diversity provides a genuine competitive edge.
What’s missing, even for many of these savvy firms, is genuine inclusiveness.
So what should organisations be doing and just how powerful can diversity and inclusion be for businesses?
1. Diverse thinking
Every employee has a different approach to problem-solving, shaped by his or her personality type, background and experiences.
So in a diverse team, employees can combine, consider and apply their differing views and ideas. This helps find the best, most innovative and effective solution to any given problem.
2. Culture change
Best in class organisations encourage a culture of acceptance, one where different styles of life, thinking and working are welcomed. The tone for this is set at the top, by leaders.
If organisations treat differences between employees as a positive, this will enable people to express these differences fully and to flourish. This is what an ‘inclusive’ culture entails.
3. Pressing home the advantage
Encourage your managers to be open to accepting minor inconveniences in the name of inclusiveness. While these might be small things, they could make a big difference to individuals.
For example, accommodating religious observances might inconvenience a manager slightly. However, this could lead the employee to be more engaged as they feel respected as an individual. In such cases, the minor inconvenience is outweighed by the business benefits.
4. Start with managers
As in the example above, the precedent for inclusiveness is set by management. Their attitudes and behaviour shapes the organisational culture.
Successful organisations foster a culture of inclusiveness by starting with managers. Embedding the right cultural values within this group sets the foundations to create an open and inclusive culture.
5. D&I is good for business
A forward-thinking organisation that embraces diversity and inclusion will be more successful.
It’ll also be more attractive to the best and brightest talent as this is where Generation Y and Z employees want to work. But, perhaps more importantly, inclusiveness is an enabler for existing employees. It can help to drive increased engagement and uncover greater creativity and problem-solving abilities.