The modern workplace, as is our society, is changing radically. From the tools and ways we communicate, to the modernization of corporate culture and the way we execute work; the speed of change is incredible. Add to the mix new technologies and the permanent marks of a global pandemic. It’s now quite obvious why companies must catch up and even transform their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policies. As a leader, you might ask, what is it for me? Well, fact is, companies with inclusive cultures and policies witness about 60% increase in innovation and 40% better valuation of consumer interest and demand says the International Labour Organization.
The research is clear that diversity, equity and inclusion aimed business cultures favour talent acquisition and hiring. Case in point, its people at the core of any organization and its culture. The fact is, that inclusive business groups statistically yield better results than non-inclusive groups. So as the competition for top people and talent is getting more challenging than ever so is the need for flexibility and diversity of corporate culture. The business case and incentive for building diversity, equity, and inclusion within workplaces is crystal clear for any progressive organization and/or business leader.
Regardless of the latest energy focused around DEI, it’s obvious that for many businesses we do consulting for, they lack clarity around the terms and the exact meaning behind them. In some cases, we’ll likely hear one or more of these terms used interchangeably. In a different case, we’ll find DEI used as a kind of broad-spectrum culture blanket. It will be safer and surely more productive to define DEI as a general philosophical approach of an organizational culture. It is therefore, imperative to shape and manage a company’s DEI culture with some clarity. Here are the basics:
- Change is hard, especially related to diversity, equity and inclusion. It is not impossible but it requires strong change agents within the company.
- The reassurance is that you, as a leader, must be the change you want to see. You need to be open to explore, innovate and build inside you the change you want to see.
- Framing diversity and communicating it as such, is misleading at best, because it is a harmful generalisation statement that basically isolates people, rather than include them.
- It’s healthier to conceptualize DEI as an equal opportunity for all regardless of…(whatever your limitations are). A canvas of differences represented as one.
- Economically speaking, DEI equips companies that pursue diverse candidates to be stronger and more efficient than those who don’t.
- Ensure DEI is integrated into the larger business strategy and culture of the organization, including human resources.
A company’s internal culture is the fundamental engine for success. Diversity, equity and inclusion matter because they help build a fair internal culture (and in effect a society) that allows everyone to win the opportunities they deserve. This approach brings together people, perspectives and ideas and creates bonds among individuals that are durable and effective. DEI means that everyone has value to contribute and the organization has the corporate responsibility to remove barriers and factors in order to unleash creativity, innovation and growth. The research is clear, that companies with high diversity are 35% more likely to outperform competitors. Organizations can exponentially serve themselves and the communities they operate, by being more diverse, inclusive and equitable.