How can you, as an HR practitioner, team leader or high-level executive, foster and maintain a culture of diversity and inclusion in your work environment? What does that look like? How can you track whether those who might feel like “the minority” or “different” are integrating into the company?
The pros of a supporting diversity and inclusion
To begin with, let’s consider why it’s so important to nurture diversity and inclusion. Aside from common decency and kindness, encouraging diversity and inclusion leads to the following benefits:
- It reflects positively on your brand – When your company creates an inclusive environment, word gets out that you don’t just strive for profitability, but have a heart for people. Employees and customers want to feel valued.
- It boosts employee morale – When employees feel like they’re part of the team, their confidence is boosted and they perform better.
- Better performance – When employees don’t have to focus their attention on trying to fit in and be recognized, they’re able to focus on what matters and channel more energy into their actual work.
- Reduced stress levels – When morale is high and employees are able to focus on their work, productivity increases and stress decreases. It’s a great cycle.
How to monitor diversity and inclusion in your company
As author and professor at INSEAD, Erin Meyer points out in her book, The Culture Map: Decoding How People Think, Lead, And Get Things Done Across Cultures, “Effective cross-cultural collaboration can take more time than monocultural collaboration and often needs to be managed more closely.” Bear in mind that the term “culture” doesn’t only refer to a person’s nationality, so Meyer’s logic can be applied to scenarios where various forms of diversity exist, creating a “cross-cultural” environment.
This highlights the need for effective systems that allow you to manage the impact of a diverse workplace. As the Data-Driven Decisions Global Leadership Forecast 2018 brings to light, companies that are prepared to use data to guide their decision-making process are 8.7 times more likely to have well integrated talent and business strategies than those who have not responded to today’s data-rich business world.
And, that’s exactly what we offer at vi: software solutions driven by data. Our Diversity and Inclusion Solution allows you to track how well employees are progressing within a diverse environment. Based on the unbiased feedback that the program produces, you are able to take an informed and pro-active approach to addressing any underlying issues and thus retaining employees.
The next step
Once you’ve identified how well your employees are adopting an inclusive approach in your company, you’ll have the power to implement practical steps. You’ll be able to tailor your response, and ensure that the correct steps are taken to effectively improve inclusion where necessary, as well as offer support to those who are struggling to fit in, and you’ll be able to monitor the results.
There are many ways in which diversity can be acknowledged. Some general points to consider practicing to encourage a sense of unity among staff include:
- Ensuring diversity throughout the ranks – When this is the case among senior executives too, employees know that the company “puts its money where its mouth is” and truly believes in the need for diversity in the workplace.
- Implementing an open-door policy – This eliminates the “us and them” barrier and lets employees know that their opinions and contributions to the company are valued.
- Making use of gender-neutral terms in internal company documentation – Using terms such as “they” or “their” rather than “he” or “she”, or “his” or “her” sets a more inclusive tone. This is particularly relevant nowadays as women strive to receive equal recognition in the workplace.
- Offering choices in your cafeteria – There is a large movement towards eating more consciously these days which, of course, plays a positive role in employees’ wellbeing and thus their ability to perform well at work. If your company serves food, you could introduce vegan, gluten-free and allergy-friendly options, as well as items that are Halal or Kosher, for example.
- Providing a platform for support – Let employees know that when they’re struggling to fit in, they have someone to talk to and to receive guidance from. This could be a mentor, a manager or an HR professional. You don’t want issues that could have been addressed to fly under the radar.
As I’ve highlighted before, employee retention is one of HR’s biggest challenges today. Fortunately, at vi, we have the tools to make a difference.
Want to learn more?
For further insight into how our Diversity and Inclusion Solution works and what it can do to help you retain employees, follow the link below, book a time and leave your details – we’ll gladly take you through a short demonstration.