When dealing with diversity and inclusion, it’s easy for most organizations to measure their workplace composition to determine if their diversity efforts are on track. You can easily compare the number of men to women, how many visible minorities and people with disabilities represented, and if the age of your employees spans through several generations.
Looking at the definition of diversity, it is defined as: “The condition of having or being composed of differing elements; variety; the inclusion of different types of people such as people of different races or culture.” Which is why most people think of diversity as a fair representation of men and women, national origins, religious beliefs, education and sexual orientation. However regardless of your representation, within diverse groups you will also have diverse perspectives, beliefs, work experiences and lifestyle preferences.
Because of these diverse differences, getting everyone to feel included often has it’s challenges.
Inclusion is defined as: “The action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure.” In business this means, an environment where everyone is valued, respected and supported regardless of their diversity, perspectives, preferences, experiences and beliefs.
You see, to achieve success, diversity and inclusion in must work in harmony. To make every person in your organization feel “included” you have to get to know them. To understand their needs, motivations, goals and aspirations, inside and outside of the workplace. So think of diversity as a wide mix of individuals and inclusion as tools and philosophies that get these diverse individuals to work well together.
You want to create an environment that nurtures your employees’ talents, so they feel valued and in turn create value for your customers and your organization. To ensure that your employees feel respected at work, start by giving them sufficient flexibility to meet their personal and family needs. But offering a variety of programs, policies and resources that help employees manage work-life responsibilities, organizations are able to attract and retain top-quality employees.
Focusing on diversity and inclusion has many benefits. When you truly create a diverse and inclusive workplace, you will attract, develop, motivate and retain the very best talent possible. Better yet, your talent will use their diversity to better understand your customers and to help them to thrive and prosper.
But keep in mind, diversity and inclusion starts at the top. Managers that believe in, and implement “Diversity and Inclusion” programs are more likely to unlock a person’s true potential.
Make diversity and inclusion a big part of your mandate. We recommend that you attend the SHRM Diversity and Inclusion Conference from October 23 to October 25, 2017. It will provide you with a lot of information and knowledge. Come and see us at Booth 506. We’ll have a bunch of new tools to show you.
If you are unable to attend SHRM, stay tuned for future blog posts with recommended steps, or call and speak to our Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Bill Shackelford, shares his thoughts about how you can build high performing teams through diversity efforts.
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