Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) has been surpassing as a trending corporate strategy in the past few years. Knowing what it is and how it affects every aspect of a business is crucial, as D&I has become one of the deciding factors that employees consider when applying for a job.
What is Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace?
Diversity means to acknowledge differences. It’s about recognizing that people come from different races, religions, sexual orientations, genders, with different education, personalities, and skillset, and understanding that all these differences are what make up an organization.
Inclusion is to accept, value, and embrace the diversity of ideas and thoughts that people from different backgrounds bring to an organization. It’s when people’s differences are well recognized to enable them to thrive at work. Inclusion in the workplace is a respectful and supportive environment which encourages the contribution of everyone.
Why is D&I important?
An organization embracing D&I best practices creates a comfortable, creative, and adaptable working environment, in which all employees feel equally involved and supported in doing their work.
In terms of business benefits, D&I are becoming a vital factor in recruiting and retaining talents, as well as in establishing corporate reputation. Employees seek a healthy environment to work, where their ideas are trusted and valued regardless of their backgrounds, so that they have the opportunity to develop at their full potential. Companies that support a diverse and inclusive workplace also gain a reputation as a good company to work for, which in turn positively affects their employer branding.
“D&I is a top-to-bottom business strategy, not just an HR program.” (2019, Josh Bersin). It’s important to get it entrenched in business minds first, before going to any other things. You need to know that D&I should be included in all aspects of business activities, and that it should be maintained, examined, and revised every once in a while throughout the business lifecycle.
Having a D&I practice in hand is not enough, it has to be coherent also. The D&I strategy must be well supported by all levels of management, and must be aligned with the organization’s core values.
Also, consider having a legal written policy about D&I in the workplace. Employees are more obliged and encouraged to treat each other in a way where they don’t violate the rules, and thus this initiative can promote fair and equal treatment.
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