Looking back at our DEIB event in Glasgow in April 2022.
Inclusion ensures perspectives are valued.
Diversity and Inclusion are often talked about hand in hand, but this doesn’t mean they are always working together. Inclusion is about making sure that all members of an organisation are included and valued in business functions. But it’s possible to have a diverse workplace that isn’t inclusive and vice versa.
Diversity brings more perspectives to your business, and inclusion makes sure they are heard and valued – or as DEI educator Verna Myers famously said; “Diversity is being asked to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”
As with Diversity, Inclusion sounds great on paper, but how does it translate into daily practice and sync with priorities?
Workplace Inclusion in Practice
Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. CEO of SHRM says “It’s a major investment to bring talent into your organisation, so why bring them in if they’re not happy when they get here? You’ve got to get the inclusion part right.”
Workplace inclusion is when your people feel valued and accepted in their team and in the wider organisation, without feeling pressure to ‘conform’. They are supported and helped to thrive at work, regardless of their background, race, gender, age, physical abilities, or socio-economic circumstance.
The route to achieving this can seem overwhelming, so as with all strategies, the best place to start is at the very beginning so you know how far you still need to go.
Assess Inclusion and Put Measures in Place
Inclusion can come down to perception – whether people feel included as an individual or not – so to measure how inclusive your organisation is, you should consider regularly surveying your people. You could also create and run focus groups or employee feedback sessions.
You are seeking to identify shortcomings and any discrepancies in perceptions around the organisation. You need to quantify inclusion so that you can figure out where you are and know where you need to get to.
Once you have an inclusion strategy in place, and you have begun to implement the actions from it, you need to continually track the data to ensure that what you are doing is working.
Educate your people
The route to achieve your inclusivity targets is through education, and where better to start than right at the top? When it comes to creating and promoting an inclusive workplace, your biggest allies will be your leadership team. Prioritising inclusivity will be a challenge if the leadership team does not prioritise it too.
Inclusive behaviour for leaders can be as simple as learning active listening, encouraging different points of view in meetings, and being more aware of the impact of the language they use.
Alongside training, you should consider one-to-one or small group coaching, so that leaders can ask awkward or sensitive questions in a safe space to give them the confidence to roll out the initiatives to their teams.
Organisations need to create clear, actionable DEIB strategies which address:
Here are some little steps you can take towards creating an inclusive workforce:
There is no one route to inclusion, that’s kind of its point, and if you find it easy to make everyone feel included in your organisation, perhaps it is an opportunity to step back and ask how diverse your company actually is.
Research has shown that companies who actively invest in inclusion, attract better and more diverse talent to the company. Brand perception, team happiness and engagement all increase positively.
Remember, DEIB is about appreciating differences between individuals, and in context with the workplace, ensuring that each of these varying attributes and characteristics are valued, and that the participation of these employees is equal.
Take a look at our articles on Equity, Diversity, and Belonging to find out more.
Diversity brings more perspectives to your business.
A diverse organisation ensures that its staff is made up of a range of people. In an ideal situation, the organisation should be aiming to be as globalised as the world outside of the office doors by hiring people who represent different races, genders, socioeconomic statuses, sexual orientations, religions, ethnicities or national origins, and mental or physical abilities. That sounds great on paper, but what are the benefits of creating a diverse workforce and how does it translate to hiring policies?
Racial Diversity in Scotland
Often diversity is seen in terms of just multiculturalism, but it is important for businesses to think outside of the ‘ethnic’ model of diversity. After all, Scotland is not statistically a very ethnically diverse country, with the percentage of the population identifying as white sitting at 96%.
A truly diverse organisation needs to integrate differences in age, sexual orientation, language, education, and more. The fastest growing demographic in the UK workforce is women over the age of 50 - how is this demographic represented in your workforce?
What are the Benefits of a Diverse Workforce for a Business?
The first statistic often cited when looking at diversity is the financial benefits. According to a study by McKinsey, companies in the top quartile of gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns that are above their national industry median. Companies in the top quartile of racial/ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry median.
Beyond these economic benefits, a diverse workforce has been proven to boost employee engagement and performance. In a workplace, as in our wider society, diversity will often result in a broader spectrum of ideas, creativity, and skillsets – all of which is highly beneficial in any growing business.
Source: Science Daily
More engaged employees
When people’s differences are recognised, embraced, and even celebrated within an organisation, people are more likely to be confident in their own abilities, and when people are in a position to better understand each other's different points of view, collaboration is improved, and conflict is reduced.
Improved talent and customer acquisition and retention
Being a diverse business with a forward-thinking culture will also help with talent acquisition and retention as DEIB is now regarded as a top priority for new graduates when they are considering who to work for. It will also improve your understanding of your customers by having people who share their experiences on your team.
How does this translate to hiring?
It is easy to get overwhelmed when it comes time to create a diversity recruitment strategy. Dismantling existing entrenched hiring policies, especially in larger organisations, can seem impossible, even when everyone involved is completely sold on the benefits of diverse hiring. The key is to focus on small steps, and you will achieve the bigger goals in time.
The first step, as with any project, is the audit. You need to assess your current hiring practices to make certain that special care is being taken to ensure hiring is based on merit, and biases related to a candidate’s age, race, or sexual orientation are reduced. Remember, diversity hiring is NOT workplace diversity for the sake of it but guaranteeing that at all stages of the recruitment process are designed to promote rather than hinder diversity. That includes everything from candidate sourcing to pre-hire assessments, to contracts, and even onboarding.
While you carry out your audits, and work on creating a wider, more complete recruitment policy, there are small steps you can take right now to help improve your diversity recruitment.
Improve your job postings by:
At your screening stage you can:
Small steps like this are just the beginning, but you need to start somewhere. If you are seeking to create a diverse hiring policy – get in touch with our HR team for guidance today.
Diversity does not end at Hiring
Remember, workplace diversity doesn't just extend to hiring diverse individuals, it is about appreciating differences between individuals, and in context with the workplace, ensuring that each of these varying attributes and characteristics are valued, and that the participation of these employees is equal.
Take a look at our articles on Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging to find out more.