In Pursuit of Impact: Choosing Zebras Over Unicorns
When India achieved independence, “unity in diversity” became a buzz phrase.
The country’s leaders tried to cultivate inclusion across races, languages, religions, and many other dimensions.
Fast forward 75 years and discussions about inclusion have moved into all spheres of our lives, including conversations on creating inclusive workplaces.
Inclusion is vital for both companies and individuals as it has been seen to have positive effects on employee efficiency, team coordination, productivity, and satisfaction. How vital is it? In 2020, Glassdoor revealed the results of its 2020 Diversity Hiring Survey. The results were startling. About 76% of the survey population or 3 out of 4 people felt that diversity would be one of the key factors in evaluating an organization.
And there’s more. Organizations benefit too. Research from Harvard Business Review shows that diverse teams solve problems faster. When you have a diverse team, you bring in diverse perspectives. Varied thoughts. Different approaches. And that results in more intuitive problem-solving.
It’s why leaders and workers alike have begun to understand that diversity, inclusion, and belonging are crucial factors in a company’s success.
And there are more tangible benefits when both diversity and inclusion are part of an organization’s DNA:
These findings are hardly surprising.
An organization with more diverse mindsets, more types of thinking, and richer exposure to diverse cultures is more likely to thrive with greater levels of creativity and resilience than one without.
While these statistics are interesting and substantiate the importance of inclusion, we must also keep in mind that diversity and inclusion are not just about performance metrics; they are core human values.
“Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance” — Vern Myers.
In a corporate context,
Diversity is a fact.
Wherever you are, whatever organization you run, diversity is a fact. People come from different backgrounds and vary with respect to race, gender, language, aspirations, cognitive abilities, perceptions, emotional makeup, physical characteristics, and many other ways.
In the workplace, diversity is usually a concern right from the hiring process to ensure that all have access to the same opportunities based on their merits.
So, while diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice.
Inclusion is about creating a culture where everyone feels comfortable speaking up and being their authentic selves, which helps them thrive.
Inclusion, however, is not just about the impact on work effectiveness or efficiency. It is important as a fundamental aspect of human justice. Everyone deserves to feel safe and happy in their workplace. Working and living with dignity is a basic human need, so practicing inclusion is simply something that everyone should prioritize as the right thing to do.
Inclusion is vital for both companies and individuals as it has been seen to have positive effects on employee efficiency, team coordination, productivity, and satisfaction.
In an increasingly flat world, wherein cultures melt into one another, people have begun to recognize that diversity and inclusion go together.
Inclusion as a core value is crucial for promoting a healthy corporate culture everyone can be proud of.
Even workplaces with the best intentions can fail to be inclusive because of unconscious bias or by failing to institute systems that actively promote inclusion. Investors, leaders, and employees can take active measures to ensure that a company’s workplace is inclusive.
Here are a few ways to do so:
Start at the top
Getting C-suite-level buy-in on making inclusion a core priority and company value is perhaps the most crucial step in creating a culture of inclusion. Like a lot of other things, inclusion trickles down. Once an organization’s leadership and management start advocating for inclusion, those who work for them are more likely to follow suit.
Practice inclusive hiring
Inclusion starts at the hiring stage. Analyze your screening process to remove any step that might be a barrier to creating a diverse workforce and introduce inclusive practices.
Educate your employees
Discrimination often stems from a place of ignorance. Spread awareness in your workspace about how diversity and inclusion are essential for your vision, how an inclusive work culture stands to benefit, and simply how it is our basic moral duty to be inclusive of everyone. Emphasize inclusivity in diversity training, and make it a mandatory part of training for all new hires. This will sensitize them about their own unconscious bias and give them actionable tips to overcome it.
Take conscious steps for inclusion
Form an inclusion council or task force
While promoting diversity and inclusion should be a company-wide concern and effort, having a team that is focused on just this pillar is helpful to streamline efforts. Many companies set up a task force that actively promotes inclusion, and some even have chief diversity officers. An inclusion task force is essentially a council or panel of key members from your organization and has a representative from different departments and, ideally, all social groups. Brainstorming, analyzing, and implementing strategies to ensure diversity and inclusion in the organization is the responsibility of this task force.
But creating a task force is just one step. Set measurable goals and gather actionable insights on how included your employees feel in the company. Encourage workers to speak up without fear of retaliation using confidential or anonymous surveys. As a leader, you must regularly assess your firm’s progress and communicate goals not just to the task force but across the company.
Many companies have been pushing the inclusion needle over the past couple of decades. A few stand out:
And closer home, diversity and inclusion are one of our core pillars at Girl Power Talk. We have team members from around the globe, and our Young Leaders belong to different countries, cultures, classes, religions, genders, and sexual orientations. This amalgamation of identities fosters mutual understanding and gives us a competitive edge in coming up with diverse and innovative solutions for our business problems. We are committed to doing everything we can to create a culture of inclusion and belonging in which each individual can shine as themselves and participate in a broader human pursuit that is much greater than the sum of our individual quests.
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