Building an inclusive organisation and why it is important
Diversity, equality and inclusion – also known as DEI – is a phrase that has infiltrated the global lexicon. Despite its prevalent use, many people struggle to grasp what it means and why it matters.
Here we review the characteristics of diversity, equality, and inclusion and how each aspect lends meaning to the overall concept. We then focus on the inclusivity and why building an inclusive organization is critical for any enterprise in the 21st Century.
What is DEI
DEI is a term to describe the conceptual framework that promotes the complete participation, full representation and fair treatment of all people within an enterprise; including populations that have historically been under-represented or systematically subject to discrimination due to their background or identity.
Each DEI can be understood as:
· Diversity is the presence of differences in a population which commonly include variations in gender and gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, nationality, political beliefs or disabilities. Diversity can also include differences in perspectives and values.
· Equity is promoting fairness, justice and impartiality within procedures, processes and the distribution of resources and opportunities by an institution. Removing equity issues requires identifying and removing the barriers that have prevented certain groups of people from fully participating in and benefiting from institutions.
· Inclusion is the creation of a culture where everyone feels welcome. Inclusion embraces differences within a population and is respectful of all individuals and groups. An inclusive organization is supportive, encouraging all employees to fully participate in organizational collaborative opportunities. Furthermore, an inclusive environment works to remove all barriers, discrimination and intolerance.
Why DEI In The Workplace?
There are countless converging cultural phenomena pushing institutions to establish DEI programs.
The primary factors driving DEI adoption that affect most businesses are:
1. Heightened competition for procuring top talent due to labor shortages and skill aps.
2. The massive exposure companies with toxic cultures face.
3. The ever0growing diverse workforce.
4. The boost in employee engagement and productivity amongst workers who feel comfortable to be themselves in the workplace.
How to Make DEI Work
Though workplace diversity programs often mean well, they can be ineffective or unsustainable. It is not as simple as hiring a diverse workforce but ensuring that every individual feels included. Thus, the most important feature to focus on is inclusivity.
An invaluable asset of a diverse workforce are the myriad of fresh ideas that can be brought to the table. A synergy is ignited when people with varying backgrounds, experiences and perspectives untie and balance out each other’s ideas.
A diverse workforce sitting in an office is not delivering on DEI principles. The key to inclusivity is to embrace employees and value their strengths and encouraging everyone to make meaningful contributions.
Inclusivity does all the heavy lifting, taking the ideals of diversity and equality and elevating them to real-world outcomes.
Three Principles to Building an Inclusive Organization
Consider the following three principles when building an inclusive organization:
1. Treat All Employees with Respect
Respect may seem like a no-brainer. This basic decency should be extended to everyone in and out of the workplace but is often not. Recent reports from around the globe state that the majority of employees do not feel respected in their workplace.
The foundation of employee respect must be embedded in an organization’s values and mission statements and followed through on every level. Leaders play a crucial part in establishing an inclusive environment founded on mutual respect. When mutual respect is the norm, employees will feel more and more comfortable with being their authentic selves and sharing their ideas and insights.
2. Value All Employees for their Strengths
Social psychologists discovered a fascinating human trait: stable relationships and a sense of belonging is predicated on balancing a distinctive sense of self with a feeling of inclusion. This is where recognizing every worker’s unique background and strengths is paramount to cementing team bonds.
This will allow you to get the most product out of employees while you deliver on your DEI initiative.
3. Ensure that Leaders Do the Right Thing
In order to successfully build an inclusive organization, leaders need to demonstrate and support DEI practices to set an example. Supervisors need to step up and assist employees in navigating uncertainties and misunderstandings that can possibly arise, doing so respectfully, justly, and straightforwardly. Employee’s trust must be earned by their managers and supervisors by authentically actualizing and practicing DEI principles on a daily basis.
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