The time is now. Breaking down the barriers for minorities, women of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and other marginalized groups is a struggle, but it’s a fight that is increasingly being won. It’s a fight that has led to better representation in organizations. Workplaces have become increasingly inclusive by hiring people of colour, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community to lead in key positions, seeing an increased ROI as a result.
However, many businesses remain slow to adapt. The mentality of key decision-makers in the corporate world is a symptom of a wider issue: a lack of understanding of the power of diversity and inclusion. But, that should not blight the progress that is being shown in several organizations across the board. Culture and gender diversity bring fresh ideas to any business place, improving productivity and versatility when it comes to handling tasks.
What are the Characteristics of Workplace Diversity?
Workplace diversity refers to the different backgrounds and characteristics represented in the workplace, with differences in race, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, religion, and other variables.
When these differences are not valued in any walk of life, it’s undeniable that minorities have dealt with the brunt of those violations and so much gets exposed when people try to speak out about these issues. Take the #StopAsianHate movement, for example. It exposed how much Asian women have been assaulted, stereotyped, or killed just for being Asian by hateful white assaulters who saw no value in them. Then, while rallies were started to protest these injustices, oppressors were out there harming them.
Just like #StopAsianHate and the George Floyd case, are there people actively trying to stop your trajectory? Progression in the face of sheer hatred, racism, and a refusal to accept someone different in a position of power is the most satisfying type of progression. The drive and determination to not only be accepted but to be elevated in an organization have seen great shifts in workplace representation over the years.
The Stats Prove That Diversity Works
Diversity in the workplace leads to more profit. One report from McKinsey proves that having mixed race and gender leadership teams leads to profitability exceeding 30%. The demand has also been there, with millennial and Gen Z generations more diverse than ever before, with 44% of millennials in the U.S. being non-whites.
Nearly 80% of people who responded to a 2013 Harvard Business Review study said they work at organizations that lack diversity in leadership positions. This is in part due to a lack of diversity initiatives being promoted in the workplace as well as employers looking beyond the only thing that really matters—the qualifications.
Diversity in the workplace leads to higher revenue as a result of increased innovation and a merging of contrasting yet relatable ideas, with diverse companies producing 19% more revenue, according to studies. It also maximizes skill sets, boosts problem-solving capabilities, and, by implementing a strategy for culture and gender diversity, the recruitment process becomes more attractive to prospective employees.
How Can You Build Diversity in the Workplace?
Challenge any barriers and biases that exist, including gender profiling or anti-Black racism. It means getting uncomfortable with executives, conducting internal surveys and investigations into hiring practices.
It means using more inclusive language to welcome employees from all backgrounds, making small shifts like saying ‘Hey Everyone,’ instead of ‘Hey Guys’ when addressing your team, just so no one feels left out. Also, introduce some workshops to promote culture and gender diversity, allowing for an understanding of the differences between groups, encouraging camaraderie between workers.
Create workplace events to celebrate diverse cultures and backgrounds, help non-English speakers feel more comfortable speaking the language through training or trying to learn how to pronounce words in their language, and create core values that reflect inclusivity. Be progressive and the antithesis of leaders who continue to maintain the status quo, because they cannot see the barriers they create are not only compromising their company culture, but bad for business.
Having tough conversations like these educate leaders on what’s needed to improve culture and gender diversity in the workplace. Getting uncomfortable is essential to individual and company growth. Inquire about a custom Tough Convo for your team.