The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Diversity. Inclusiveness. These are more than simple words — they are linchpin values that businesses of all types are embracing, especially today. Doing so means more than paying lip service to the idea of an inclusive and diverse workforce — it means creating, implementing, and maintaining policies and procedures that support diversity and inclusiveness.
These values matter to current and potential employees. For example, 64% of job candidates state that inclusion and diversity were important factors they considered when deciding whether to accept a job offer. Yet just 55% of employees say their current employer has policies designed to promote inclusion and diversity.
These kinds of policies do not only benefit people but for-profit and nonprofit employers, as well. Studies show that diversity positively impacts the bottom line. For example, the companies with the most culturally and ethnically diverse executive teams are 36% more likely to have profitability that is higher than average compared to the companies with the least diverse executive teams. A similar effect is found in companies with greater gender diversity. Those with the highest gender diversity executives were 25% more likely to have higher-than-average profitability compared to those with the least diverse executives.
The diversity of boards of directors matters, too. Boards of directors with the most culturally and ethnically diverse members are 43% more likely to experience higher profits than those with less diverse boards. Further, those with the highest gender diversity are 28% more likely to have higher profits than those with the least diversity.
There are numerous ways companies can promote diversity: Encourage employees to enhance their cultural competency by learning about various cultures and traditions. That includes keeping up with events throughout the world and on a more local level — taking time to know co-workers who have backgrounds different than your own. Offering employees ways of broadening their horizons can help foster greater understanding of the importance of diversity in the workplace.
Another aspect is to make sure that you are asking for input from a variety of employees, not only in terms of their job responsibilities and qualifications, but also in their backgrounds and cultures. This kind of input shows that your company is open and accepting of all voices and viewpoints. Having upfront dialogue with employees about diversity is another way to help promote diversity. The accompanying resource expounds upon its significance and how to have these kinds of conversations.
About the Author
Dr. Towanna Burrous is President of CoachDiversity Institute and a best-selling author, trainer and ICF Professional Certified Coach based in Washington, D.C. As a highly sought-after executive coach, Burrous’ mission is to empower diverse communities through executive coaching.