Why Diversity and Inclusion are Critical to Your Organization’s Success

Organizations that actively promote and attain diversity and inclusion in the workplace are simultaneously creating brand value that reflects the values of the community, employees, potential hires, and customers. And let’s not forget about shareholders who are quite aware of the copious research that shows the financial value that diversity and inclusion creates.

Diversity and Inclusion Creates Engaged Employees

Having diverse talent is essential to building a good company. When employees feel valued and have a sense of belonging, they are much more likely to be engaged at work and with the organization’s goals and visions. Engaged employees are the ones who are willing to go the extra mile for the team, the project, and the company. At companies where there is a high level of employee engagement, there is typically improved team collaboration, enhanced innovation, higher employee satisfaction, and lower turnover. Conversely, at companies when employee engagement is low, there tends to be higher turnover, poor team collaboration and low scores for customer service.

How Do Small Businesses Stand to Gain from Diversity and Inclusion 

Businesses, large or small, that have a diverse base of employees are better equipped to serve a diverse customers base. A diverse base of employees provides a broader knowledge of demographics to draw upon during decision making, which results in enhanced creative thinking and decision making.

Most importantly, don’t get left behind. Your competitors are likely advancing with diversity and inclusion initiatives, and they are reaping the benefits. Glassdoor (opens in a new window)  reported in July of 2021 that “more than 3 out of 4 job seekers and employees (76%) report that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.” The report further states, “Nearly a third of employees and job seekers (32%) would not apply to a job at a company where there is a lack of diversity among its workforce. This figure is significantly higher for Black (41%) job seekers and employees when compared to white (30%) job seekers and employees and is also higher among LGBTQ (41%) job seekers and employees when compared to non-LGBTQ (32%) job seekers and employees.” The bottom line is that if your business is lacking in diversity, it will likely face more obstacles to achieving its greatest potential success.

How Can a Small Business Get Started? 

  1. Review and reassess your mission and vision statements. How do these statements reflect what your business is doing now and where you want your business to be in terms of DEI-related values? This will help to define what diversity and inclusion means for your company. Remember: Demonstrating a commitment to DEI helps attract diverse job candidates and expands the pool from which you can hire.
  2. Evaluate your team’s demographics, identify where the gaps are. Be transparent — let your employees know what you are planning to do to improve things.
  3. Consider contracting with an external DEI expert to help set goals and objectives.
  4. When hiring, redefine what the “best candidate” looks like. The notion of who is best is often influenced by unconscious bias.
  5. Remove biased language from job descriptions.
  6. Communicate to employees that DEI is part of everyone’s job description. Define how all employees can play a role in developing a culture of inclusion and tell them why it is important to the business.
  7. Track how employees with diverse backgrounds are being offered promotions, training opportunities, and pathways for career advancement.
  8. Consider skills-based hiring rather than traditional degree and education requirements, which often exclude candidates from lower economic brackets. Instead, focus on the hard and soft skills needed to perform the job. Skills-based hiring opens up the candidate pool to a more diverse set of candidates who are capable of meeting your job requirements. Having employees from diverse backgrounds gives your organization the advantage of being able to leverage broader and more unique points of view that will allow you to better mee the needs of your customers.

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