As per a report, only 0.08% of the Fortune 500's CEOs belong to minority community (and they're males). Since 2018, shockingly, just 10 of the 1,974 US Senate members are from the minority group. The Hispanic community makes up 18.3% of the United States' total population; however, they only make up 4% of corporate leaders.
These statistics illustrate the inability of certain businesses to cultivate and accept diversity and inclusion in the workplace. If you are one of the businesses who is doubting the importance of diversity and inclusiveness in your work environment, here’s something that’ll help:
A study reveals that businesses with pro-diversity policies fared better and were more resilient during the 2008 financial crisis and even if we talk about employees, 80% of workers cited inclusiveness as a crucial element in selecting an employer.
From encouraging diversity in a workplace, sharing its benefits to the challenges that you may come across, this blog will be the right guide for you:
- What is diversity?
- What is inclusivity?
- Importance of promoting diversity & inclusion in the workplace and its benefits
- How mentoring can play a pivotal role in establishing a strong diverse and inclusive environment in your workplace?
- Statistics on the advantages of having a diverse and inclusive workplace
What does it mean to have a diversified workforce?
A diversified organization means, there're people as employees from various backgrounds such as culture, age, gender, religion, ethnicity, linguistic variety and LGBTQIA+ members. There are undoubtedly more visible and unseen characteristics that distinguish employees, but these may be considered broad categories in identifying diversity gaps.
What does it mean to have inclusion in the workplace?
Although it's commonly used in conjunction with diversity, inclusion has its own definition. Many people get confused when it comes to the concept of inclusion since it covers such a wide range of topics. Interestingly, various individuals or companies have varied interpretations of what the term signifies.
The official meaning of inclusion in the Cambridge Dictionary is the process of including a person or something as an essential part or aspect of a group, list, etc. And in a diversified workplace, these individuals are treated with respect and dignity, which makes the environment inclusive.
Benefits of an inclusive and diverse workspace
The best way to understand inclusion in diversity is by taking an example of a party hosted by you. If you host a party, wouldn't you take care of different guests' food and drink preferences? Thus, you may provide a diverse range of foods and drinks in the party menu which people of different tastes may prefer and enjoy. Similarly, understanding and respecting other thoughts and views are the cornerstones of the inclusion process in a diverse work environment.
To sum up, you need to cultivate a culture of inclusion that distinguishes itself from any potential unconscious prejudice in the workplace. Employees should have a sense of belonging regardless of who they are or how they identify themselves.
With inclusion incorporated into your diversified culture, you will also enable a diverse range of people to work, feel at ease, and be themselves with confidence. They would operate in a manner that best fits them to meet your company or service requirements. All in all, by incorporating a culture of inclusiveness into your company, everyone feels welcome and, importantly, appreciated for what they bring to the table.
Challenges while integrating inclusion in a diverse environment
Inclusion in a diverse workplace may be difficult, as individuals have varying needs and values. The following are some problems you may come across while implementing inclusion into a diverse environment:
- Communication problems among employees of different races, religions, or people having different viewpoints
- Unconscious prejudice
- Lack of faith among employees
- A temptation to check all boxes when asked for feedback, without any interest in the feedback process
- Discrimination and alienation in the workplace
- Lack of senior support
Setting up a mentoring process to overcome the challenges
Blending diversity and inclusion in the workplace is not as simple as it may seem, given that difficulties emerging from either diversity or inclusion might be distinct and sensitive and, thus, must be handled carefully and wisely.
However, you always have a choice to handle the challenges through a mentorship program to support and empower minority employees (related to race, religion, and nationality). This would assist minority team members in honing their abilities and assuming leadership roles in the future. Given below are some essential strategies to overcome challenges related to promoting diversity & inclusion in the workplace.
Also Read: How do I start a mentoring program at work?
- Expanding the mentoring process to all departments and work locations
If you want to conduct a mentorship program to promote inclusion and diversity, consider pairing minority members with experienced mentors. The mentors would take up the role of guiding minority members whenever required or try to address their concerns related to workplace bias (if it exists).
One indispensable aspect of this process is that you will be responsible for ensuring that such a program is expanded to all groups in various work locations and is not limited to a single department or office. This would help you to diversify your talent pipelines, as mentors' guidance will equip the pool of candidates for future projects in your company.
- Setting goals beforehand
Mentoring relationships are transformational; therefore, it should begin with setting goals or objectives which will help drive further sessions. Since these mentoring sessions are for mentees, only they can set the goals and once those are set, their mentor will then find a way to help them accomplish those goals.
- Be cognizant of unconscious biases and address them immediately
Real change requires a comprehension of biases that employees think they are facing and awareness of employees' bias sensitivities. As per Mohammad Bilal who serves as the Associate Dean and Director of the Office of Inclusion, Belonging, and Intergroup Dialogue at Stanford University, there are a few distinct types of biases. The first kind of bias is unconscious bias, which might involve memories or sentiments of bias that may not be talked about openly in an organization.
It may be up to you as a leader of your company to take the initiative and pair employees with mentors who will teach them how unconscious prejudice or bias culture works and discuss possible ways to get rid of it. In light of this, mentors may frequently evaluate and analyze biases that mentees confront in a workplace, by questioning peers, managers, and leaders; following which, the mentors can address the challenges themselves.
When employees believe that their feelings of prejudice have been addressed, they are more likely to concentrate on their own growth, take chances, explore opportunities, and build relationships with senior leaders. They also begin to understand that they are respected, appreciated, and a vital part of the company.
- In-depth training on tolerance and acceptance
Your workforce would learn to recognize and appreciate diversity, as well as how to work together more efficiently if you provide them with diversity training such as cross-cultural or sensitivity programs.
Companies could involve mentors who would have in-depth conversations with your employees about their experiences with biases in the workplace. The mentors, then, would provide their inputs to their L & D team so that they can arrange training sessions for all employees.
With diversity training, it is possible to combat workplace harassment and discrimination. By ensuring that all team members will be aware of these problems and how to avoid them, your businesses can establish a safe and welcoming atmosphere for everyone.
- Joyously celebrate every holiday
Proving holidays is one of the best ways to promote inclusion in diversity. By offering holidays, you would show to your employees that you respect their traditions and would want them to enjoy them as per their comfortability. This would also demonstrate that you are ready to accommodate all cultures and traditions, and you value the contributions of all individuals. It also demonstrates your willingness to make structural changes so that everyone feels involved.
Employees have the opportunity to discuss pay concerns with mentors if they believe they are not paid fairly or not getting promotion. Consequently, mentors would suggest ways to help mentees to increase their productivity or ask the company to set up a training program for mentees. This will eventually play a part in up-skilling them, and preparing them for the promotions and better compensations in future.
Also Read: 5 Business Benefits of Thoughtful Mentoring Programs in the Workplace
Statistics on the advantages of having a diverse and inclusive workplace
Diversity and inclusion in a workplace is a moral and ethical responsibility; particularly, since it impacts how a workforce perceives a company's attitude toward them. A focus on diversity and inclusion may improve revenue, customer acquisition, and staff retention.
- There is a 33% increase in financial performance of businesses with ethnically diverse executive teams and a 25% increase for businesses with gender-diverse executive teams.
- A poll by Deloitte indicated that 78% of respondents agreed that diversity and inclusion made a firm more competitive.
- Diversified businesses are 70% more likely to attract a new market audience.
- A research study found that diversified organizations are 33% more likely to generate higher financial returns than less diverse competing companies.
- Glassdoor discovered that 76% of professionals and job seekers perceive workplace diversity as a significant factor while assessing job offers from a company.
- A BCG research study shows companies with greater degrees of diversity earn more from innovative products and services..
- Employees who report having great allies at work are 86% more likely to endorse their firm and 53% less likely to contemplate quitting. Additionally, they are more likely to be satisfied with their occupations and less likely to experience burnout.
Also Read: Mentoring In The Workplace: Importance & Benefits
By assigning mentors to employees, diversity and inclusion plans can be implemented quickly. The reason being, employees will be able to share their thoughts with the mentor honestly and without any reservations.
If you want your organization to be 100% aligned with diversity and inclusion, Mentoring Complete is here to help. The platform offers AI-based matching style between mentors and mentees so that each one of your employees can benefit with a suitable mentor by their side. This is one of the best tools which will help you reach out to your diverse group of employees in the best possible way. No more waiting for the right moment, this time you create one by yourself and be there as a star organization with a productive and inclusive workforce!
Want to make your executive mentoring program successful? We're happy to help you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What are the challenges for promoting workplace diversity and inclusion?
Solution. The challenges are communication; unconscious biasness; lack of faith in co-workers; discrimination and alienation in the workplace, and lack of support from managers and higher management.
Q2. What makes employees feel included and diverse at work?
Solution. If your employees feel like they belong in your workplace regardless of their ethnicity or gender, your organization has achieved the milestone of promoting inclusion and diversity.
Q3. How mentoring can help to promote diversity and inclusion?
Solution. Mentoring sessions give employees freedom to express & someone they can trust to discuss issues they are facing within a workplace. And since they will have someone to talk to, they’ll learn to build themselves.