A hand carefully stacks blocks reading: acceptance, tolerance, identity, equity, belonging, inclusion and diversity on top of one another.

Why Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace is important

Nowadays businesses understand that a diverse and inclusive workforce is not only the right thing to do, it's also good for business.

NWOW Staff
May 12, 2022
Date Published
9 minutes
Time to read
Diversity, equity and inclusion
Category

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are often viewed as new concepts in the workplace. However, the idea of valuing diversity is nothing new. It dates to ancient Greece and Rome when philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle spoke about the importance of diversity in society. Fast forward to more recent times, and businesses are beginning to understand that having a diverse and inclusive workforce is not only the right thing to do but is also good for business.

It’s important for the success of any business that they have a diverse staff in terms of gender, race, religion, age, political perspective, and sexual orientation. But it’s also necessary for the success of your business as an employer because diverse organizations innovate faster and use resources more effectively than homogeneous ones. As such, being inclusive is not only good for employees but also for employers.

This article will define diversity, equity, and inclusion, highlighting the key differences between them. It would also state some of the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workplace, as well as discuss some best practices for changing your business culture to be more inclusive. And finally, outline some diversity in the workplace statistics.

Table of contents

What are the definitions of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are terms used collectively to represent policies that protect the participation and the rights of a group of people differentiated by age, race, class, gender, region, cultural background, and diverse histories. Individually they can be defined as:

Diversity

Diversity can be defined as the inclusion of individuals who are different from the majority in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and physical abilities. In other words, diversity is about including people who are different from one another to create a more inclusive workplace.

Equity

Equity has been defined in many ways, but one of the most widely accepted definitions is - the fair and just treatment of all individuals, regardless of their differences. This means that equity focuses on ensuring that everyone in the workplace is treated fairly, regardless of their differences.

Inclusion

Inclusion can be defined as the act of including or bringing together individuals or groups who have been excluded or isolated. In other words, inclusion is about creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and can participate fully.

Business benefits of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the workplace

There is no doubt that having a diverse and inclusive workplace is beneficial for both employers and employees. Embracing diversity in the workplace will result in increased productivity, creativity, and innovation for companies that do so. This is because an employee who feels respected and included is more likely to contribute their best ideas and to be engaged in their work. Other business benefits worthy of mention include:

Increased creativity and innovation

A study by the University of Maryland found that diverse groups are more likely to come up with new ideas than homogeneous groups. This is because when people from different backgrounds come together, they share different perspectives, which can lead to new and innovative ideas.

Greater profitability and financial stability

A study by McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have above-average profits than those in the bottom quartile. Furthermore, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have above-average profits than those in the bottom quartile. This is likely because diversity leads to new ideas and perspectives, which can help businesses be more successful.

Increased customer base

A study by Nielsen found that ethnically diverse customers are more likely to do business with companies that reflect their own cultural values. In other words, if your company promotes diversity and inclusion, you are likely to attract a wider customer base.

Reduced employee turnover

A study by Deloitte found that employees who feel their organization is inclusive are more likely to stay with their company for longer periods. This is likely because employees who feel included and respected will be less likely to leave their job.

Greater creativity and productivity

A study by the University of Michigan found that employees who feel included in their workplace are more likely to be productive and creative. This is because when employees feel like they belong, they feel comfortable taking risks and exploring new ideas.

Increased employee engagement and morale

A study by the Center for Talent Innovation found that employees who feel their company is inclusive are more likely to be engaged and motivated at work. This is likely because when employees feel included, they feel like they are a part of something larger than themselves, which can lead to a sense of satisfaction.

Reduced discrimination and harassment

A study by the American Association of University Women found that when organizations have a diversity and inclusion policy in place, employees are less likely to experience discrimination and harassment. This is because these policies create a clear expectation for how everyone should behave in the workplace.

Improved decision making: A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that diverse groups are better at making decisions than homogeneous groups. This is because diverse groups are more likely to consider a wider range of options, which can lead to better decisions.

Best practices for changing business culture

So, how can you go about changing your business culture to be more inclusive? Here are some best practices for changing business culture and promoting diversity and inclusion you could apply:

Start at the top

The leaders of an organization must set the tone for diversity and inclusion. If the leaders promote a culture of inclusion, it will trickle down throughout the organization.

Creating an organizational values statement

An organizational values statement is a declaration of the organization’s core values. This statement should specifically mention diversity and inclusion and outline how the organization plans to promote these values.

Create an inclusive environment

This means creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and can participate fully. This includes making sure that all voices are heard and that everyone is respected.

Train employees on diversity and inclusion

Employees need to be educated on the importance of diversity and inclusion to create a more inclusive workplace. They need to understand why it is important, and they need to know how to identify and address discrimination and bias.

Participation in online and in-person training sessions for employees on diversity, equity, and inclusion can help to reduce the chances of microaggressions and discriminatory behavior in the workplace.

Encourage open dialogue

One way to create an inclusive environment is by encouraging open dialogue. This means having conversations about diversity and inclusion in a safe and respectful space.

Make sure everyone feels valued

Everyone in the workplace should feel valued, regardless of their differences. This means creating an environment where everyone is treated equally and with respect.

Unconscious Bias Training

We all have biases, but it is important to be aware of them and how they might impact our decisions. If we are aware of our biases, we can work to overcome them and make better decisions. Many times, people are not aware of the biases they hold against others. Unconscious bias training can help employees learn about the biases they may have and how to avoid letting them impact their decisions.

Implement diversity and inclusion policies

There are many different policies you can promote to help foster a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Having policies in place that support diversity, equity, and inclusion can help create a more inclusive environment. These policies could include things like equal pay for equal work, zero tolerance for discrimination or harassment, flexible work arrangements, etc.

Create an Employee Resource Group (ERG)

Employee resource groups are voluntary, employee-led groups that foster a supportive environment for members of a certain group. For example, there could be an ERG for women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, etc. These groups can provide support and networking opportunities, and act as a sounding board for management on issues related to their group.

Promote from Within

When possible, promote employees from within your organization. This shows that you are invested in developing your employees and that you value the experience and perspective they bring to the organization.

Conduct Regular Climate Surveys

Climate surveys help gauge how employees are feeling about the climate of the organization. This can help identify areas where the company is falling short of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and help measure progress over time.

Hire a D&I Consultant

A diversity and inclusion consultant can help assess your organization’s needs and develop strategies for improving DEI. They can also provide training and support to employees and management.

Support Employee Networks

Employee networks are voluntary groups that allow employees to connect with others who share similar interests or backgrounds. These groups can provide support and networking opportunities, and act as a sounding board for management on issues related to their group.

Use Inclusive Language

Be mindful of the language you use in the workplace. Avoid using terms that could be exclusionary or offensive to certain groups of people. For example, instead of “guys” say “folks” or “team.”

Assess Your Hiring Practices

Make sure your hiring practices are fair and inclusive. Assess your job descriptions, advertising, interview questions, and candidate pools to ensure you are not inadvertently excluding qualified candidates from underrepresented groups.

Be patient

Changing a business culture is not going to happen overnight. It takes time and effort, but it is worth it in the end.

Statistics supporting the importance of diversity in the workplace

Diversity in the workplace is an important practice every company desiring growth and productivity should observe.  

Statistics by the EW Group, a high-profile diversity consultancy group, show that the more diversified a company is, the higher its ability to build an environment suitable for teamwork and increased innovative capabilities. These statistics support the importance of diversity in the workplace by showing that:  

  1. Statistics by the EW Group, a high-profile diversity consultancy group, show that the more diversified a company is, the higher its ability to build an environment suitable for teamwork and increased innovative capabilities. These statistics support the importance of diversity in the workplace by showing that:  
  2. In a survey of men and women, 45% and 54% researched prospective employers to find out if they had diversity and inclusion policies, whereas 48% and 61% of men and women judged a company leadership team's diversity from which they had received a job offer during the interview process.
  3. Over 66% of companies believe diversity boosts innovation. In fact, 83% of employees reported in a Deloitte survey that they exhibited greater innovation when they felt their ideas were listened to, and when they felt that their company was committed to and supportive of diversity.
  4. The best-performing companies with gender diversity had a 15% higher financial performance, and the best-performing companies with ethnic and racial diversity had a 35% higher performance.
  5. Employees who feel included in their workplace are more likely to stay with their company, be productive, and have a positive attitude – This shows that when employees feel included in their workplace, they are more likely to be productive and happy. Creating an inclusive environment is key to retaining employees and having a positive work environment.

So, what does all this data mean?

It shows that having a diverse and inclusive workplace has many benefits for businesses. Employees who feel included and comfortable discussing diversity are more likely to be productive and have a positive attitude. Diverse companies are more likely to be successful, and diverse executive teams tend to perform better financially than those without diversity.

Here are more statistics that reiterate the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion:

  1. A study by PwC found that women held just 26% of senior management roles in 2016.
  2. In the United States, Hispanic, and Latino employees make up 18% of the workforce, but only 5% of senior leadership roles are held by Hispanics and Latinos.
  3. Black employees account for 12% of the workforce, but only 2% of senior leadership roles are held by Blacks.
  4. Only 5% of CEOs in the S&P 500 are women.
  5. LGBTQ employees make up about 4-8% of the workforce, but they hold less than 1% of senior leadership roles.
  6. 54% of employees believe their company should do more to promote diversity and inclusion.
  7. In a study by Deloitte, it was found that companies with a more diverse executive team are 33% more likely to outperform those without a diverse team.
  8. A study by McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry median.

Summary

Changing a business culture is not going to happen overnight, but it is worth the effort in the end. Management should be encouraging conversations about diversity, and employees should feel comfortable discussing it with their colleagues. There is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to diversity and inclusion, but these statistics show that it is important for businesses to make the effort.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Nowadays businesses understand that a diverse and inclusive workforce is not only the right thing to do, it's also good for business.

What’s a Rich Text element?What’s a Rich Text element?What’s a Rich Text element?What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Heading
  1. dsadasdasdas
  2. asdasdasd
  3. dasdasdasd
  • slkfajfklasfkjas
  • sadasdasdsa
  • asdasdadas

Stay connected

Get NWOW insight, news, and events delivered weekly to your inbox.

Thank you!
Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Explore more content

The woman works in front of her laptop in the room near the window.
Remote and hybrid work

Want to change channels? Here's a helpful little guide to remote work

Digital nomads are the way of the future, so what is remote work and hybrid work exactly and how can you adapt to it? Read the article to find our tips and tricks for remote work.

Woman sitting opposit the interlocutor.
Professional development and learning

Employee Performance Review Tips

While performance reviews have received a lot of criticism in recent years, they are still integral to the success of an organization. Performance reviews can increase productivity, strengthen relationships, identify skills gaps, and identify promotion opportunities if done appropriately.

Group of people talk to each other while work together and smiling.
Sense of community

How to Network: Easy Networking Tips You Can Use Today

How do you encourage networking within your company? In this article, you can find our networking tips and recommendations for improving networking opportunities within your business.