Written byJessica Petor, Research Analyst
Previously published by PSI Talent Management or Cubiks, prior to becoming Talogy.
It is safe to say that being productive, profitable, and effective are top priorities across organizations. Employees are key drivers of success – undoubtedly organizations want to make sure they have the best of the best. To achieve this, making an in investment in selection, development, and training can help ensure that the best employees are identified and retained. A lot of research has gone into identifying who the best performers are but a recent shortcoming among organizations is understanding and embracing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Are you really attracting the best of the best? Are there groups of high-potentials that are getting left behind? Is your company diverse?
What is “diversity and inclusion?” Broadly speaking, diversity is any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another. Inclusion is a state of being valued, respected and supported. In the workplace, it’s about concentrating on the needs of every individual and ensuring the right conditions are in place for everyone to achieve his or her full potential.
The importance of diversity and inclusion has been a hot topic among HR professionals and has been identified as one of the top ten workplace trends that will likely emerge or continue to grow in 2017 according to an article published by SIOP in December 2016.
Diversity at work used to only focus on equal rights, equal pay, and equal opportunities regardless of gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Companies are starting to understand that it’s more than that (e.g., Sodexo, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard, Disney). Ideally, inclusion should be rooted in the culture, practices, and relationships that are in place in an organization to support a diverse workforce.
Organizations should embrace diversity and inclusion and here’s why:
- American Sociological Association’s research shows that each 1% increase in the rate of gender diversity resulted in an approximately 3% increase in sales revenues
- Deloitte research shows that If just 10% more employees feel included, the company will increase work attendance by almost one day per year per employee
- McKinsey’s research shows that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same.
- Bersin by Deloitte’s research shows that companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers.
It’s clear that having diversity and inclusion as part of your culture is important, but what can you do to create this environment? There’s an abundance of advice about the best practices and strategies, here are few notable strategies:
- Have a structured interview process. Having a structured interview ensures that you are asking the same questions and getting the same information from all interviewee. This gives the hiring manager a more objective, comparable representation of candidates. This also reduces the chances that bias will occur during the hiring process (such as unconscious bias, similarity bias, structural bias, and self-rate bias).
- Provide unconscious bias training. Research shows that we all harbor unconscious biases. Enhancing awareness and training can create an inclusive culture that identifies and helps to eliminate hidden biases. For example, Facebook recently released a series of training videos about unconscious bias.
- Provide (when applicable) work-life balance. Give employees opportunities to work from home or offer them flextime. In companies where women held 50% or more of the top jobs, 82% provided flextime and 19% provided child care, versus 56% and 3% respectively in companies where there were no female executives (Galinsky & Bond, 1998).
- Promote diversity in leadership positions. There isn’t a lack of leadership potential or talent among women although there is still an under-representation among leaders. Researchers have explored the essential ingredients of leadership and found no gender differences in leadership effectiveness (Hyde, 2014). Additionally, in a recent study by Select International that assessed individuals for leadership potential with Executive Assessment, women and men did appear to have some notable differences in leadership skills.
- Offer opportunities for development. Companies should offer their high-potential employees with opportunities for external education and development. According to Accenture’s 2016 report, formal learning programs can speed up career growth for women.
Bringing it all together, having a diverse and inclusive organization benefits organization and employees all around. Diversity means more productivity, more creativity, more perspectives, and overall just a better culture. Embedding diversity and inclusion into an organization’s culture can appear to be a daunting task, but there are small strategies that a company can take to start promoting diversity. Don’t get left behind and lose the competitive advantage to having a rich, diverse, inclusive culture!