Consider the advantages of a diverse workforce
More companies are promoting workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) – and for good reason. As Boston Consulting Group points out, "Organizations equipped with a range of voices and perspectives throughout the ranks are better able to innovate, take risks, solve problems creatively, bounce back from failures, and turn challenges into opportunities."
It also speaks to an organization’s culture and values. Employees deserve to be treated with respect. They also should feel comfortable and safe in the workplace.
DEI refers to the active programs and policies a company enacts to promote representation, acknowledgment, and participation of people of diverse backgrounds, races, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, ability, and religion. Though the terms are often used interchangeably, diversity, equity, and inclusion differ.
Diversity is the presence of difference. It typically refers to representing others across a spectrum of race, gender identity, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and others.
Equity is about putting employees on equal footing. Companies can create fair access to opportunities and advancement by recognizing and minimizing barriers in the workplace.
Inclusion creates the opportunity for team members and employees to feel a genuine sense of belonging and value within a workplace.
The best companies for DEI create a welcoming environment that leads to greater employee productivity and loyalty. They also benefit from multiple viewpoints and perspectives that bring innovative and creative solutions. Some additional benefits companies experience include:
Improved revenue: Employees who feel part of the company take pride in their work and give more discretionary effort. These great workplaces achieve higher revenue levels as a result.
Access to quality talent: Widening the recruitment scope gives opportunities to individuals who otherwise would have been overlooked.
Higher employee engagement: A diverse and inclusive workplace can improve employee engagement. If team members feel respected and important, they feel a greater connection to the company.
Employees are less likely to leave: Diversity tactics also improve employee retention. Employees who feel valued and appreciated are more loyal and engaged.
Bias, whether intentional or not, can lead to unfair policies and practices. It can also create dissension among employees, corrode a healthy workplace culture, and hinder business outcomes. Training employees and leaders to identify and avoid bias can create a more inclusive workplace where everyone feels valued.
Understanding the harm of bias helps ensure learning and growth within your organization. It also shows prospective talent they can thrive.
Bob Helbig is media partnerships director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s partner for Top Workplaces.