Workplace Diversity and Inclusion for Evolving Businesses

Many of the businesses across the globe have incorporated workplace inclusion and diversity however, according to PWC's 2021 Global Diversity & Inclusion Survey, only 4% of firms are actually excelling in achieving key characteristics of successful D&I programming. The significance, relevance, and necessity of this has grown notably in the last decade. Gender, race have been studied extensively in this context. Is that it, though? Or is there more to it?

In the current period, what exactly is workplace inclusion and diversity? Workplace Diversity and Inclusion: a passing fad or a source of competitive advantage? Here are some of the notions of D&I in the workplace and what they represent for the businesses.

Interconnected yet not interchangeable: Diversity and inclusion are concepts that are interdependent and interconnected, but not interchangeable. Diversity addresses ‘what’ whereas, inclusion speaks about ‘how’. Diversity is concerned with the composition of the workforce and the how of Inclusion, on the other hand, is the building of a culture that allows all employees to engage and thrive.

Role of leadership in fostering workplace inclusion: Firms can encourage and facilitate full employee engagement, by looking at employee views of inclusion and related characteristics and in return employees' work-related self-esteem and willingness to achieve the extra mile are boosted in such environments. Inclusive leadership is emerging as a distinct and critical capability that assists organizations in adapting to a diverse set of customers, markets, ideas, and talent. A Harvard Business Review article “The Key to Inclusive Leadership” (Bourke & Titus, March 06, 2020) states that what leaders say and do can make up to a 70% difference in whether or not an individual reports feeling included.

Measuring Diversity and Inclusion: Can we quantify workplace Diversity and Inclusion? Absolutely! Achieving a balance in cognitive diversity through inclusion is a critical, yet complicated goal. Creating a comprehensive framework that identifies skills, perspectives, and capabilities can help an organization measure cognitive diversity through inclusion at multiple levels. All said, achieving this balance is meaningless if the environment is not inclusive.

Keys to a healthy business: Inclusion seeks to leverage the numerous benefits that diversity provides in order to improve team performance and problem-solving. Some of the lesser-known benefits of nurturing diversity and inclusion include increasing an organization’s productivity in any business model, leading to greater innovation, improving brand image, and boosting employee engagement. Individuals can broaden their perspectives, grow intellectually, and gain a more comprehensive understanding of their working environment by being exposed to different cultures, mindsets etc.

D&I encompasses more than just policies, programs, and headcounts. Valuing people and nourishing a culture of high trust in the workplace is imperative for all business leaders. As a result of technological and sociological changes, the landscape of every industry is altering and organizations will need the human touch, judgement, empathy, passion, and creativity of all their people to fully utilize the era's new technologies, enhance agility and innovation, and address the issues of a more demanding, loud marketplace.

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