- More and more, workplace inclusivity is considered to be one of the most crucial priorities for a thriving and productive business.
- Companies with racially and ethnically diverse leadership and executive teams have a 36% higher likelihood of financially outperforming companies with little or no diversity.
- According to McKinsey & Company, actions to attain workplace inclusivity include making it a priority, challenging biases, asking tough questions, and being deliberate about language.
Inclusivity at work requires a diverse workforce, but goes a step further to ensure equal opportunities for all employees—regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation or religion.
Inclusivity is beginning to become more of a priority for workers when choosing a company to work for, and companies may want to listen.
According to a Kantar study, 68% of U.S. consumers expect brands to be clear about their values, while Millennials and Gen Z workers have the highest expectations of all age groups. This is because most people want to work for a company that makes them feel supported, whether that support be related to their identity, views, or orientation.
A diverse economy is a strong economy. Businesses that embrace changing demographics reap the economic benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce, according to American Progress.
From a corporate standpoint, it’s smart to understand and cater to the desires of your workers. This is how top companies retain employees, as well as attract new, skilled talent. If an organization shows a lack of support for diversity and inclusion, it will likely eventually lose popularity in the eyes of society, and it may even lose some of its workers.
From a social standpoint, it’s morally right to be inclusive as it is beneficial for those who are marginalized. Society is becoming more diverse, and those who do not embrace it by evolving corporate practices risk failure.
The statistics don’t lie: Inclusivity is profitable
Statistics compiled by Zippia Research show that organizations cannot ignore the literal costs of failing to retain diverse talent.
Companies with racially and ethnically diverse leadership and executive teams have a 36% higher likelihood of financially outperforming companies with little or no diversity.
Companies with greater gender diversity perform 15% to 21% better than companies with little or no gender diversity among staff members.
Diverse companies also enjoy 2.3 times more cash flow per employee when compared with less inclusive work environments.
Creating an inclusive, diverse workforce and company culture doesn’t just greatly increase revenue—it creates higher job satisfaction, decreases turnover, and increases productivity and innovation.
Here’s what leaders can do to ensure inclusivity
Leaders should be asking both difficult and important questions for the future of work, including whether their organization is genuinely accepting of all types of people and if their company ensures equal access to opportunities throughout the talent lifecycle.
According to McKinsey & Company, these are four ways in which organizations can take action towards the goal of full workplace inclusivity:
- Make diversity a priority. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is good business, and it doesn’t have to come at the expense of financial outcomes. Companies that are in the top quartile for ethnic diversity on executive teams were 36% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. A similar trend can be seen for gender diversity, with companies in the top quartile being 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than those in the fourth quartile.
- Challenge biases to increase equity. The push toward an equitable workplace in an organization begins even before candidates join the team. Many leaders often screen talent based on their own unconscious preferences rather than what is predictive of success. Underlying assumptions about what people need to know, the degrees and background required, the skills they need, and the attributes that make them successful are subtle, pervasive, and worth challenging.
- Ensure language is appropriate. For example, conversations about a candidate’s “cultural fit” are not necessary. If the onboarding process isn’t solely about the candidate’s skills for the job, it really has no business being in the conversation.
- Ask tough questions. What is your company’s working environment like for women, people of color, LGBTQ+ employees, and other under-represented groups? Are the right communities and supporting mechanisms in place? Are managers having open conversations about what it takes to succeed, providing good feedback consistently, and being good sponsors? Addressing these questions is essential to not only building but also retaining a diverse, high-performing workforce.
As we move forward into the future of work, all aspects of inclusion will need to be woven into the “new normal.”
Now more than ever, the public expects companies to take a stance when it comes to social and political issues.
Successful culture change will most likely be achieved by acknowledging each employee’s unique life context and needs. This might be a new approach for many American companies, but is one that is critical to create truly inclusive workplaces.
If marginalized groups become more accepted by society, and even celebrated, new and exciting opportunities can emerge for the future of the workforce and the future of work in general.