Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Making sure all employees in your company feel supported and included.
Making sure all employees in your company feel supported and included.
In today’s workplace, diversity and inclusion have a significant impact: influencing workplace culture, the employee experience, recruitment and retention. They’re two complementary concepts, and it’s difficult to discuss the importance of one without acknowledging the other.
Creating an environment that champions diversity and inclusion can positively impact all aspects of an employee’s experience and create an atmosphere of acceptance, understanding and equity. That’s why many companies prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives with dedicated committees, funding and chief officers.
Diversitycovers the traits or characteristics that are used to differentiate individuals.The Society for Human Resource Management(SHRM) suggests that diversity can be categorized by certain demographics, and through capturing and analyzing data on these demographics, companies can better recognize inequities. Demographics include:
Inclusioncan be defined as how well the experiences, perspectives and contributions of individuals within those demographic categories and groups are valued and integrated into the workplace, and if (and how) they influence company culture.
A diverse workplace may not necessarily be inclusive. For example, a company may have employees from a diverse range of backgrounds including different races, gender identities and religions. But if the voices of all employees within those groups aren’t given equal weight, or if the voices and perspectives of some groups have more weight than others, the workplace wouldn’t be considered inclusive.
A workplace that is both diverse and inclusive gives equal weight to all perspectives and experiences from employees throughout the entire organization, from interns to company leadership.
Creating and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace has some serious benefits — from supporting a positive employee experience to growing your company’s performance.
Many research studies establish correlations between company diversity and improved financial performance. A 2019McKinseystudy found companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the 4th quartile — up from 21% in 2017 and 15% in 2014. In fact, the study found that companies with more than 30% women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10% to 30%.
And though financial benefits and the bottom line shouldn’t be the only reason a company focuses on integrated diversity and inclusion into their workplace culture, it may be one compelling reason why.
Catalyst researchfound companies that establish inclusive business culture and policies reported a 59.1% increase in creativity, innovation and openness.
And when it comes to innovation, diverse teams can offer companies more opportunities for growth. A2017 studyfound that the opportunities for innovation become much higher when women occupy a significant share of management positions — "innovation revenues start to kick in when more than 20% of managers at a company are female.” So, a company may have a gender-diverse workforce, but if their management team isn’t inclusive of gender, they may still miss out on significant opportunities for growth and innovation.
Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is also an important aspect of building and maintaining company culture.A SHRM studyfound that employee morale and employee retention were most affected by having a workplace that provided religious accommodation for its employees. By accommodating religious diversity, companies can build a workplace that improves the employee experience and creates an inclusive culture.
Hiring qualified, high-performing employees and retaining those employees should be a priority for all companies. One way to recruit and retain employees is with benefits, such as health care, perks, time off and more. But research suggests that a diverse and inclusive workplace is equally important to some job seekers — in fact,Catalystfound that companies with higher levels of gender diversity and with HR policies and practices that focus on gender diversity are linked to lower levels of employee turnover.
Once hired, employees still seek out diversity and inclusion and may even be prepared to leave if they don’t find it. AnotherCatalyst studyof more than 700 Canadian women and men of color found more than 50% of “on guard” participants had a high intention to quit their jobs. “On guard” is described as a key element of what the study calls Emotional Tax, or the heightened experience of being different from peers at work because of your gender, race and/or ethnicity and the associated detrimental effects on health, well-being, and the ability to thrive at work.
It can be a cycle — companies that promote diversity and inclusion and provide necessary support are more likely to recruit and retain diverse employees.
Part of the success of diversity and inclusion initiatives lies in their communication. Let’s review some strategies for communicating diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
When it comes to internal communication about any subject, employees appreciate honesty and transparency — it helps build trust.
If you fail to be transparent in your employee communication about diversity and inclusion, it may come across to employees as unauthentic or insincere. By sharing your diversity and inclusion initiatives, plans and strategies with employees as transparently as possible, you give employees (and stakeholders) opportunities to hold you accountable.
Being transparent also allows for opportunities for employees to offer their support and ideas. Maybe you’re looking for help brainstorming new initiatives or would like feedback on your current diversity and inclusion strategy — getting honest opinions from your employees can prove invaluable. If you keep communication lines open and encourage a two-way conversation, it can help employees feel that their voices are heard and their opinions matter.
Embracing transparency in your internal communications can improve your organization’s diversity and inclusion planning, cultivate a culture of honesty and accountability and ultimately help your company grow.
You may want to consider adding your diversity and inclusion communication strategy to your company’s overall diversity and inclusion strategy. Here’s an overview of how to create your strategy:
For a deeper dive and some other helpful tips, check out our PartnerComm blog on theBuilding Blocks of a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.
From the moment employees first interact with your company, they should know what initiatives or resources you provide to support diversity and inclusion, and how your company prioritizes supporting a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Communication and promotion of diversity and inclusion resources is as important as communicating your health care benefits, retirement plan or wellness resources. You might consider building communication plans and promoting:
Plus, research shows creating ongoing communication about your commitment to diversity and inclusion helps increase engagement. For example, aDeloitte studyfound that “83% of millennials are actively engaged when they believe their organization fosters an inclusive culture, compared to only 60% of millennials who are actively engaged when their organization does not foster an inclusive culture.”
Giving diversity and inclusion the same priority as your other employee benefits and resources will reinforce your commitment and promote a positive employee experience.
PartnerComm was engaged by a Fortune 500 American technology company to design and create supplemental materials for their annual Employee Resource Group Accelerator Summit. This summit aims to incorporate Employee Resource Group activities into professional development activities for the greater company good. PartnerComm created a new, fresh look and feel for the summit using the company’s brand standards as a foundation. The colorful, clean design incorporated interlocking geometric shapes to build a sense of inclusiveness and togetherness, which helped illustrate the company’s commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion.
We also worked with the client to produce deliverables that would support the summit’s goals and provide a supportive experience for employees, including several designed presentation decks, t-shirt design, a custom Zoom background and two videos. Additionally, we designed custom journals with thoughtful prompts to help employees record their thoughts and feelings throughout the summit and give them an opportunity to reflect on what diversity and inclusion at the company means to them. Overall, the client was extremely happy, sharing that PartnerComm helped make the event “amazing” and “successful.”