If a company is going to flourish in today’s business environment, it needs to foster an inclusive and diverse workplace. You can’t just have one or the other. You need both. Companies have shown that having one without the other can cause turmoil, such as was the case with Google’s mass employee walkouts earlier this year. In that instance, there was diversity without inclusiveness.
Aside from staving off negativity and unrest, a number of benefits can come from having a culture that promotes both diversity and inclusion:
1. Recruit More Top Talent
A company that both promotes and follows through on diversity and inclusion is more appealing to more job seekers from many different backgrounds. For example, in a recent survey of LGBTQ+ individuals, 60 percent of respondents said a company’s reputation with respect to LGBTQ+ issues was “a significant factor when deciding whether or not to work there.” Other research suggests policies around diversity, equality, and inclusion at work are significant factors in employment decisions for millennials overall.
Not having policies in place could cause your company to fall behind in the realm of talent acquisition. On the other hand, if you are courting a top candidate who has received offers from multiple companies, your organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion could be the selling point that pushes your offer to the top of the candidate’s list.
2. Retain More Top Talent
Once you’ve spent time and money to hire and onboard top talent, you naturally want them to stick around for as long as possible. In one survey, 84 percent of respondents said a company’s lack of diversity and inclusion can drive higher turnover rates. The relationship between diversity/inclusion and turnover makes sense. Most employees want to work in environments where all people, regardless of background, are treated with respect. Additionally, workers want a workplace where everyone’s ideas are welcome and everyone’s voice is heard. Happy employees usually aren’t on the job hunt, so give your workers what they want: a diverse, inclusive office.
3. Reap the Rewards of Innovation
One of the biggest benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workplace is innovation. If a company hires only people who share the same background or personality type, then it runs the risk of slipping into groupthink and/or cultivating knowledge gaps. Dissenting voices are rare in such environments, leading to less productive conversations and fewer genuinely new insights.
On the flip side, creating teams of employees from various backgrounds and a culture where new ideas are welcome fosters innovation. Everyone brings something to the table, great ideas can come from even the most unlikely sources. A culture that promotes diversity and inclusion is one that can harness new ideas, resulting in more innovation.
4. Promote Employee Engagement
Happy employees who can work creatively and have their voices heard are more likely to be engaged at work. Research backs this up: Employees who feel more included are more willing to go “above and beyond the ‘call of duty’ to help other team members and meet workgroup objectives,” according to Catalyst.
Being inclusive allows a company to maximize the strengths of its employees, which in turn helps employees feel like they truly contribute to and doing meaningful work for the company. A properly utilized employee who feels respected and valued is one who will go the extra mile to ensure the highest quality of their work.
As more companies embrace policies that promote diversity and inclusion, it will become more apparent that these policies produce great returns for employees and employers alike. Companies stand to gain a lot by prioritizing diversity and inclusion. When employees feel valued and empowered, they spread positivity, work harder, and stay at the company longer. Solid diversity and inclusion policies may just be the strongest competitive advantages a company can have.
David Cusick is a content marketing manager for Go Fish Digital.