While Women’s Equality Day was being observed on August 26 to commemorate the voting rights being conferred on women in US in 1920, somewhere in France a controversy was playing out over women wearing burkini or burqini. These unrelated events reflect a wide range of public conscience around diversity & inclusion around gender, ethnicity, race in our society.
Diversity & inclusion are not just restricted to our society at large as we see these occurring in our workplaces too. Having said that, according to research published in American Sociological Review, workplace diversity is among the most important contributing factors of a business’ sales revenue, customer numbers and profitability.
In his outlook on HR Trends for 2016, Josh Bersin talks about Building an inclusive culture is now the No. 1 predictive strategy for global financial performance, bringing this topic into the focus on CEOs and senior execs. Further, management consulting firm, McK
insey reported that companies in the top quartile for diversity financially outperform those in the bottom quartile. “Gender-diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to outperform” their industry average, “while ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to outperform” the industry average. And diversity is probably “a competitive differentiator that shifts market share toward more diverse companies over time.”
Despite all the data and the awareness around the significance of Diversity & Inclusion available with us, upward of 95 percent of large corporate diversity recruiting efforts routinely fail to meet their modest diversity goals. In fact, the EEOC (US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) reports that diversity employee representation percentages at corporations have barely budged since 1985.
There are multiple ways through which Diversity & Inclusion can be built and sustained in the workplace. I am listing out a few which you can choose from depending on your organization’s context and policies:
Create internal awareness
Create an internal marketing program for people to know about Diversity & Inclusion, the benefits of it and the various initiatives your organization is taking for it. Right information leads to right decisions being taken by managers and employees of your organization.
Focus on data-driven Diversity hiring
It is important to use data while hiring for diversity. You can look at what programs are attracting candidates more, what kind of social is more effective, what is the right choice of words when advertising for jobs to promote diversity. Data based decisions can then be tracked to focus on the one yielding better results in diversity recruitment ratio.
Engage them gainfully
Give new hires a reason to stay. Devote an equal amount of time and effort in retaining new employees. Familiarize them with the new job and company culture. The first few weeks can be the most difficult time for any employee. It’s important to show they have a future in the company. Clearly communicate opportunities for advancement. Set up mentoring programs to build close working relationships. Finding mentors that share personal interests can foster new friendships.
Customize initiatives in line with your workforce
From setting up day care to extended leave for mothers with new-borns, listen in to what your workforce is asking for. Fine tuning your initiatives to meet your workforce requirements is one of the best ways to create diversity in the workplace.
Above all, constant monitoring of all Diversity & Inclusion initiatives need to be done by concerned business leaders to ensure any course correction required to sustain the multiple benefits of a workplace Diversity & Inclusion strategy for the organization.