Without knowing anything about you or your business, we can pretty confidently say that you’re always looking for that slight edge that will catapult you ahead of your competitors. Then again, aren’t we all?
What if I told you the differentiator you’re seeking—that secret sauce that serves up success—is less about what your workforce is doing and more about how diverse your workforce is? That’s an oversimplification, but diversity and inclusion in the workplace have never been more important than now—and that’s a claim supported by research. Diverse and inclusive companies are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors, and diverse management teams result in 19% higher revenue.
We’re big believers in diversity and inclusion in the workplace and feel strongly that an approach around what some call D&I boils down to three specific action items.
Create an Inclusion Council
As a business owner or leader, it’s essential for you to be involved in diversity and inclusion efforts, but it can’t be just you. That’s why we recommend forming an Inclusion Council comprising a handful of employees at various levels and from an assortment of functional areas. This group should be the pulse on your organizational initiatives geared toward diversity and inclusion. That means strategizing on how to attract, retain, and grow diverse groups of people while striving toward the eradication of homogenous clusters of employees.
But keep in mind that inclusion isn’t just about how someone looks. It also encompasses how they feel. Inclusive workplaces provide employees with a sense of belonging and a point of view that they are valued.
Give everyone a seat at the table
Diversity of thought is a powerful asset that only companies fully invested in diversity and inclusion can harness. The concept of diversity of thought involves giving everyone a chance to speak their mind or, figuratively speaking, offering up a seat at the table. All of us have ideas, beliefs and values that have been shaped by our upbringing. By dimming one person’s light and not giving them the chance to contribute, you risk missing out on an entirely different perspective than everyone else’s—one that could potentially deliver your company’s next great idea.
If your organization isn’t proactively giving everyone a seat (and a voice!) at the table, you aren’t alone. In fact, one survey found that nearly three-quarters of respondents said they could identify a time when they or others failed to speak up when a peer wasn’t performing as expected. Worse, 40% of respondents said they thought about a problem they went silent on for over two weeks. There’s value in access—don’t hesitate to supply your people with it.
Practice active listening as part of allyship
Allyship is another emerging aspect of diversity and inclusion that should be integrated into any organizational plan. There are many different qualities of an ally—which, by the way, is defined as someone who is not part of a marginalized group but works to support those who are—but one of our favorites is the active listener. When most people listen, they do so to respond. When active listeners hear, they do so to understand.
Active listening can instill trust, strengthen relationships, empower subordinates and make people feel valued or heard. It also leads to better collaboration and fewer mistakes since you are fully present in the conversation.
Clarke Executive Services Group helps companies incorporate diversity and inclusion tactics
One of our core competencies is providing businesses with team solutions and support, from hiring employees and contractors to building a team and managing projects. If diversity and inclusion initiatives aren’t part of your daily operational focus, the three tips listed here are a great place to start.
But if you’re ready to take your efforts to the next level, Clarke Executive Services Group can help. Contact us today to learn what we can do for your business.