- Understanding and appreciating interdependence of humanity, cultures, and the natural environment.
- Practicing mutual respect for qualities and experiences that are different from our own.
- Understanding that diversity includes not only ways of being but also ways of knowing;
- Recognizing that personal, cultural and institutionalized discrimination creates and sustains privileges for some while creating and sustaining disadvantages for others;
- Building alliances across differences so that we can work together to eradicate all forms of discrimination.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
One of the greatest challenges diversity employers face today is getting the right talents their companies need, while managing their workforce diversity. It's a delicate balancing of attracting & hiring the best talents --- on the basis of their skillsets, knowledge/educational attainment, & experience, and without regard to their race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, among other characteristics – and retaining them.
What also makes diversity challenging is creating the right environment where a strong sense of inclusion is experienced. As one diversity & inclusion expert stated that “every organization has diversity, but the challenge is getting inclusion right.”
Diversity, according to one dictionary definition, is “the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group...” (Merriam-Webster).
Now one apt, academic definition states that "Diversity" means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating difference. Diversity is a set of conscious practices that involve:
Inclusion, on the other hand, is the engine that drives diversity programs to fruition and success.
Inclusion involves creating an environment or climate of acceptance, recognition of the differences in characteristics, opinions, perspectives, ideas, and experiences.
Diversity and inclusion still matter even in the new millenium; in fact, more so.
A population research by the Pew Research Center (PRC) earlier this year showed that the US demographic make-up is more racially and ethnically diverse than in the past, and is projected to get more diverse in the decades to come.
By 2055, the U.S. will not have a single racial or ethnic majority. Much of this change has been (and will be) driven by immigration.[...] More Americans say immigrants strengthen the country than say they burden it, and most say the U.S.’s increasing ethnic diversity makes it a better place to live.
Part of that PRC report also showed that as more women have entered the workforce, the share of women in top leadership jobs has risen, but they still make up a small share of the nation’s political and business leaders relative to men.
As is also stressed in a Forbes article, the customer base is rapidly changing, which means changing tastes and preferences. These same groups of people who are your new customers need to be represented in your firm.
Therefore, companies need to be in step with these demographic shifts, as it is good for their businesses, for the country's economy, and fortifies the US dominance in the global market.
Companies with more diverse workforces performs better financially, according to a McKinsey analysis (2015) involving 366 public companies across a range of industries in Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom, and the United States – whose financial performance as well as the composition of top management and board were taken into account. Among the findings of the research were:
*Gender-diversed companies are 15% more likely to outperform companies in the bottom quartile for gender diversity;
*Racially and ethnically-diversed companies are 35% more likely to outperform those in the lower quartile for racial and ethnicity diversity.
But to make diversity truly thriving, not just by the numbers, an inclusive work culture is crucial. An inclusive work culture is wherein each employee feels included, that he or she belongs, it is okay to express one's viewpoint or ideas without fear of being ridiculed or dismissed, and that one's contribution is appreciated and recognized.
Building an Inclusive Work Culture
Certainly nobody wants to feel isolated or unwelcome at work. Most employees need to feel a sense of importance and of being accepted by peers and bosses, which are a great motivation for giving their utmost to their work.
The Golden Rule is a good guiding principle in creating an inclusive work environment.
One effective way to practise the Golden Rule is:
* Treating others with empathy. In today's workplace, empathy is found to be fundamental to forging closer relationships and better job performance.
A study undertaken by the Center for Creative Leaderships (CCL) showed – among other findings - that empathy is positively related to job performance. Managers who show more empathy toward direct reports are viewed as better performers in their job by their bosses.
Noted international motivational speaker, executive life coach, author, CEO DeLores Pressley once wrote that empathetic executives and managers realize that the bottom line of any business is only reached through and with people.
Indeed. And where there's empathy, there's trust. And where there's trust, there's greater cooperation and productivity.
Here are some more concrete ways to foster inclusion within the organization:
* Learning about others' cultural backgrounds, lives and interests. This paves the way for better understanding of and respect for others as individuals, of who they are and where they come from. This can be facilitated through cultural awareness training, augmented with community outreach programs. Cultural awareness helps avoid misguided notions due to ignorance, biases and prejudices.
* Keeping communication lines open. Make everyone feel safe to discuss important issues especially those that relate to discrimination, for example, without fear of recrimination. An open door policy is necessary if trust is to be built between a company's leaders and its employees.
* Hosting team-building and social activities, including cultural events builds camaraderie and good relationships, as well as showing importance to the employees' respective cultures. This boosts employee morale, improves work performance, and creates good vibes in the workplace, making it a comfortable place to come to each working day. Happy employees lead to better customer service and happy customers.
* Inclusion of employees in decision-making and planning of company events makes employees feel valued for their thoughts and contributions, thus inspiring them to give their best.
* Being clear and firm about the company's policies on diversity and inclusion – reviewed and updated to be responsive to its present needs - to ensure everyone cooperates in promoting an inclusive work culture. It is important that sanctions against any form of discrimination be followed consistently to show the company's zero tolerance for such unwanted behavior.
A company may have the numbers to show of its diverse workforce, but its strong supportive, inclusive work environment is the soil from which diversity will truly thrive well.
Posted by Your Diversity Career Consultant at 4:30:00 PM