Over the years, studies have shown that among other factors, one of the core features of a highly capable team in any organization includes a mixture of different personality types within the group, which improves the overall performance of the team. From the human resources department perspective, diversity in the workplace leads to an increase in personnel morale, which results in increased levels of efficiency and effectiveness.
Within the leadership team, having different personalities in management leads to outstanding strategic suggestions and better performing teams. It is a fact that diverse groups with divergent ideologies are better at solving a problem, more innovative, better for building a stronger organization than organizations with similar ideologies. Some leading international organizations explore the use of personality tests to select, organize a team’s composition, and manage the team.
Inclusion In The Workplace
However, a diverse workplace that lacks inclusiveness leads to discrimination, shown as inequality. An organization that has policies that recruit people with disabilities, different sexual orientations, races, among others, but does not support free expression and individual differences is a breeding ground for abuse. Inclusion in the workplace is a deliberate and concentrated effort to foster cohesiveness within the workplace.
Multinationals invest a considerable amount of resources to promote diversity and inclusion within their workplace. It involves the deliberate attempt to create a culture of respect and appreciation among workers towards each other irrespective of their level of authority. Often, the culture of inclusiveness must be a natural act from the leaders within the organization, and that is because most managers regularly contribute immensely to the culture within the organization.
For instance, when a team lead is respectful and appreciative of the team’s effort, respects individuality and the diversity of skills each member of the team brings on board, the effect often transcends beyond the immediate team. Its influence permeates through and cascades down to other groups and personnel, which gradually forms the organizational culture. Irrespective of the size of any organization, diversity, and inclusion must be an integral component of the operation.
Inequality as a Product of a Lack of Diversity and Inclusion
Alternatively, when employees experience a lack of integration and feel like the odd one, it leads to feelings of isolation, disengagement from the team and the organization. Such a scenario is often the breeding ground for resentment, gossip and destructive office politics. Such persons within the group who feel isolated, separate themselves from the team building activities with devastating consequences. Experts and behavior scientists have established that there is a decline in a person’s cognitive performance, reduced motivation, and lack of willpower when an individual lacks a sense of inclusion.
Why Diversity and Inclusion In The Workplace?
Some of the benefits for an organization with a diverse and inclusive organizational culture include:
- Increased ability to reach the corporate goal
- Higher job satisfaction
- Lower personnel turnover
- Better customer satisfaction
- Increased market position
All these and more are achievable when an organization has a satisfied workforce.
Steps Towards Increasing Diversity And Inclusion In The Workplace
The deliberate pursuance of diversity and integration in any workplace is challenging. It is often resisted either subtlety or boldly by the workforce. It is not an indication that the personnel are ‘mean’ people but a pure reflection of being human. When people encounter the need to change, their initial reaction is resistance; they fight the move because they are not sure of the outcome, they try to sabotage the transition. That is what happens when an organization wants to introduce diversity and deliberately build inclusion.
- Thus, to create an inclusive organization that will prevent a culture of inequality, the process will need to commence from getting every member of staff to acknowledge individual differences within the team. Everyone needs to recognize and address unfairness and inequality.
- Therefore, it is necessary to create a ‘bias’ awareness through personal evaluation. Individual members of the team will need to undergo an assessment to enable them to identify the kind and level of bias each person has on issues and persons. This awareness must be addressed, but acknowledging its existence is the first step towards being open and deliberately making choices to reduce the impact of such a thinking pattern.
- Next, the organization through the human resources department needs to offer formal training on ‘Bias,’ which will help members of the team to know what bias means, the forms of prejudice, and ways of addressing bias.
- In addition to the training, mentors must be appointed to support team members through this journey who will help them towards making a deliberate effort to push limits and status quo which will allow the team to discover new ways and ideas to foster productivity
- Then, let the team members ask questions, encourage conversations that will promote inclusion while addressing any manifestation of inequality. Some of these conversations can be quite difficult to have. Still, an excellent place to start is the productive, inclusive conversations that already exist within the workforce, ensure that such discussions are also not penalized at the initial stage until an agreed timeframe elapses when all members of staff have adequate training and exposure. Ultimately, let the team learn by doing.
- Set up parameters and strategies to reward best practices of inclusion within the team and organization at large. Keep promoting a shared vision of equality that is a product of inclusiveness; it is crucial to keep reminding the crew of the reasons for the mission and the desired outcome.
- Endeavor to select the right plan, the format of presentation, appropriate facilitator, and the right participants to engage in the conversation at different intervals to keep the mission buzzing.
In conclusion, achieving diversity and inclusion isn’t an easy feat. When not adequately addressed, it leads to inequality in the workplace, which is always counterproductive to the growth of the organization. Thus, despite the inherent difficulties and challenges that come with this objective, it is essential and worthy of pursuance because a workplace that is inclusive and promotes equality increases in innovativeness, productivity, and growth. Its advantages also go beyond individuals, teams, and organizations. It reflects in the society or community at large and the world around us.
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Founded in 2019, D.I.E is a unique operating organization for professionals working in Equal Opportunity, Diversity, Affirmative Action, and related fields. Building on his experience of more than two decades, founder Brian Figeroux, Esq. who has excelled in Civil Rights, Employment Law, Business Law & Development and served as advisor of several Chambers of Commerce in New York City, is taking his work expertise and knowledge to help the public and private sector. Mr. Figeroux endeavors to develop and devise programs where inclusion is instinctive, as Inclusion without Diversity is Inequality, and Equality makes both businesses and government more productive.