Inculcating Diversity and Inclusion Into the Organisation
Diversity and inclusion are two concepts that are garnering a lot of attention and importance in today’s times. The new generation of workforce is increasingly seeking organisations that prioritise a sound work-life balance and have a healthy mix of employees from diverse backgrounds, cultures, skills and experience. Diversity means not discriminating between employees based on gender, age, any disability, culture, nationality or sexual orientation. Inclusion means giving equal importance to the aspects of employees’ lives that fall outside the purview of work. Basically hobbies, interests, activities, personalities, etc.
An organisation that is diverse and inclusive is crucial for both effective recruitment and retention. It also enables the organisation to engage with a more diversified market and customer base. People from varied backgrounds can understand and interact with an equally diverse market. Although the importance of diversity and inclusion is evident, how can organisations go about inculcating it into their culture?
Diversity and Inclusion in the Organisational Culture
The most important thing to consider is that the creation of an organisational culture starts from the top. Is your senior management and board comprised of a diverse group of individuals? If not, then that is a good place to start. Also, being open to various ‘groups’ of people, such as seniors or those with special needs will give organisations access to a pool of talent and skills that would otherwise be unknown. Another important step towards creating a more diverse workforce is the identification and removal of any kind of bias, whether unconscious or confirmation bias. Lastly, create a balanced workforce. Prevent discrimination against any individuals.
As for inclusion, the most important thing for successful implementation is communication. Consider using 360-degree feedback as this will avoid the judgemental tendencies that appraisals have. Creating fun activities that involve the entire staff will also open up more free communication and foster bonding. Flexibility is an important aspect of inclusion. Offer smart working options to all employees equally. Flexibility not only improves productivity, but is also a strong retention strategy. Set an example from the top; ensure that everyone in senior positions is also going home on time, working flexibly and pursuing their hobbies and interests outside the workplace. This sets the precedent for other employees and sends out the message that the organisation is not only all about work.
Striking a balance between diversity and inclusion is important for organisations to attract and retain talented and skilled employees. It creates a positive organisational image in the market and helps companies stay truly global.