Companies across the country and around the globe are experiencing how inclusive practices and priorities can not only benefit their workforce but their bottom line. There are a number of ways your company can go about making your organization more inclusive. These can range from having a first conversation with your hiring manager to instituting a diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) committee.
Whatever strategy you implement, here are a few reasons why inclusivity can be so beneficial to your organization.
Inclusivity Makes New Talent Available
Taking a more inclusive approach to team-building and staffing your organization can help you unearth new talent. Entire communities and their networks can often be forgotten or overlooked when DE&I is not a company’s priority. This can often mean that you’re restricted to mining a relatively picked-over subset of the total talent available to you.
Take the time to explore other communities. Go to conferences. Talk to directors, hiring managers or company founders in other industries that are doing inclusion well and learn from them. You’ll be surprised at the number of recruitment methods and strategies you may never have thought of that can put your openings in front of new eyes and draw fantastic talent.
DE&I Within Your Organization Leads to Better Performance
From higher quarterly earnings to more resilience during market downturns, it has been well documented in research and studies that organizations with higher levels of diversity represented within their ranks experience superior performance over similar organizations that are less diverse.
When a company employs a wide variety of individuals, employees that make decisions and solve problems together draw from a wider collective base of lived experience, ways of thinking, value sets and community backgrounds. This increases the quality, creativity and innovation of the solutions and work they produce.
Diversity comes with its challenges, of course. Diverse teams may need to work harder to understand each other, respect each other and find common ground. They may need to spend more time working through a wider variety of proposed solutions. But the superior results are more than worth these complexities.
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Promoting DE&I Efforts Is an Important Form of Corporate Social Responsibility
For too long, discrimination and elitism have plagued many of our industries and societal landscapes. As society works to level the playing field for large numbers of demographics and minority groups, it needs all corners of the economy to get involved and make this a reality. Business is no exception.
Prioritizing inclusivity in your company is one way your organization can engage in corporate social responsibility and leverage its power and influence to help promote equality.
Inclusivity Efforts Can Strengthen the Use of Inclusive Language and Action Within Your Ranks
When inclusivity is not prioritized by an organization, the ethos of that organization often remains not just neutral but sometimes (usually unintentionally) un-inclusive. Many of our majority communities have learned patterns of communication, behavior, interaction and thought that can be ostracizing to members of other communities.
Inclusion takes intentionality and proactive work. From asking questions and learning about others to going out of one’s comfort zone, attending events or taking part in activities that are new or different — it takes time, encouragement and effort for individuals to learn how to be more naturally aware and inclusive. Prioritizing inclusivity from the leadership and policy level can propel this work.
A Diverse Workforce Attracts Diverse Applicants, Vendors, Partners and Clients
Diversity within a company’s ranks is a statement. It implies things about the company’s culture, values and quality. If you invest effort in inclusive hiring practices and DE&I work within your organization, you may begin to notice a subtle shift in who approaches you to do business or get involved. Diversity attracts more diversity.
By prioritizing inclusivity, you are indicating — not just to stakeholders within your circle of influence but to those outside it right now who may be watching — that you are a safe and welcoming entity. Over time, people will begin to notice and new faces might start appearing in the form of a variety of stakeholder types, expanding your company in multiple ways.