Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are emerging as powerful workplace practices, so it’s important to understand how they work. Companies often use the terms interchangeably. The term diversity refers to things or people that are very different from one another. Diversity is a synonym for variety. Inclusion means including people or things. It means making something or someone a part of something else.
- What is 2SLGBTQIA+
- Diversity vs Inclusion vs Equity
- Three Layers of Diversity
- From The Lens of Culture
- Multiculturalism at the Workplace
- Importance of Cultural Diversity
- Benefits of Cultural Diversity
- A Disruptive Force
- Diversity and Inclusion Training
- Best Practices in D&I
- Training Leaders
- D&I Charter
- Developing Leaders for an Inclusive Culture
- Diversity and Inclusion Course
- Role of a D&I Champion
- D&I Good Practices in India
- Hire for Diversity
- Why D&I Initiatives Fail
- Foster a Culture of Inclusion
- Competitive Advantage through D&I
- Managing Diversity Disruptions
- Certification for HR
- Connection with EI
- Skills related to Diversity Management
- Managing Diversity
- Age Diversity
- Walk of Privilege
- Significance of Pride Month
- Overcoming Bias at Workplace
- Hiring without Unconscious Bias
- Overcoming Bias in Development
- Bias-free Employee Engagement
What is 2SLGBTQIA+
The name 2SLGBTQIA+ stands for Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and Other Sexual Orientations and Gender Identity. In this article, we’ll discuss sexual orientations, gender identities, and how to use common terminology so you can understand yourself and those around you.
There is no right way to combine sexual orientation and gender identity, and each person can have some unique characteristics. In addition to 2SLGBTQIA+, there are other acronyms used to describe the groups of people who do not identify as heterosexual or cisgendered. In any case, we encourage you to use the language that is most comfortable for you. No one else can decide how you identify, and we respect your choice of terminology.
First pride was reported to have been a riot. This was indeed the case. The Stonewall Riots marked a turning point in the history of the LGBTQ community. Following the Stonewall riots, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) issues were no longer taboo. Democratic countries began legalizing homosexuality.
On September 6, 2018, the Supreme Court of India struck down section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalized homosexual relationships following an extensive legal and political battle. The LGBT community continues to be stigmatized and suffers abuse and discrimination. Nevertheless, there is a feeling of optimism and hope since 377 has been struck down.
The following is an explanation of the abbreviation for those who are at the beginning of their journey towards understanding and appreciating what makes our world beautiful: Diversity!
2S – Two-Spirit: In certain Indigenous cultures, particularly in the United States, the term Two Spirit refers to a person with both a feminine and a masculine spirit living in one body. This is often used to describe sexual orientation, gender identity and / or spiritual identity.
L – Lesbian: An individual identifying as a woman and who is physically, sexually, romantically, or emotionally attracted to other women.
G – Gay: The term gay refers to someone who identifies as a man who is physically, sexually, romantically, and/or emotionally attracted to other men. Also known as homosexuality, gay can also refer to people who are attracted to people of the same gender.
B – Bi (Bisexual): The term bisexual or bi refers to an individual who is physically, sexually, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to people of their own gender as well as other genders and who identifies as bisexual. There is the possibility that some people prefer bi+ as an expression of their attraction to more than one gender.
T – transgender: Those whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned at birth. Individuals whose gender identity falls outside of the gender binary (the idea that there are only two genders, man and woman) may also identify as transgender. There is no right or wrong way to identify (in other words, no one can decide whether a person is trans or not). Some people use terms such as genderqueer, gender fluid, non-binary, and androgynous to describe their gender identity. While T has many meanings in LGBTQIA+, its most common use refers to gender identity. Certain words have altered in meaning over time or vary slightly by individual.
- The term ‘trans’ is used to describe individuals whose gender identity does not correspond to their birth sex
- A transsexual is one who transitions from one sex to another through surgery or medical treatments; a term not commonly used
- The term transgender refers to an individual who identifies as a different gender than the one listed on their birth certificate
Q – Queer: The term queer, or queer identity, refers to individuals who identify with all sexual orientations and gender identities within the larger LGBT+ community, including those who do not identify with any of the others. Queer can be used both in a positive and a negative sense. Several members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community have reclaimed the term queer, which was historically used as an insult, to describe themselves in a positive and empowering manner. Queer an inclusive term or as a unique celebration of not holding to social norms.
Q – Questioning: some people may feel unsure about their sexual orientation may be exploring their sexuality, gender identity and gender expression. Such people usually describe themselves as questioning. They may be questioning for a period or continue to be questioning throughout their lives.
I – Intersex: The intersex term refers to individuals who do not fit within the confines of a single gender norm; it can also relate to individuals with reproductive anatomy that isn’t typical for their gender
A – Asexual: It refers to individuals without feelings of sexual attraction to one sex or, conversely, those who do not feel romantic attraction to one sex but are emotionally drawn to another.
+ (Plus): the adoption of additional sexual orientations and gender identities under the 2SLGTQIA+ umbrella, including those described above. Some perceive the plus to represent acceptance and love.
Diversity vs Inclusion vs Equity
It’s the presence of differences in any given situation. Like the diversity of opinions, diversity of species, etc. Diversity in an organization can include ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, etc. Almost all of the organization misunderstands “diversity” and says they need someone with a diverse background. Organizations should realize that a team can be diverse or an organization can be, but an individual can’t be. Individuals bring diversity, but they’re not diverse. Diversity is about belonging to a group or being part of a group. Most people say they’re working on ensuring that their organization’s upper management has more women rather than saying we’re working on having a more diverse upper management. Providing specifics helps you reach your diversity goals. It helps you build effective strategies.
Inclusion means people from different backgrounds and identities feel welcome and included. If you were to explain diversity and inclusion in a practical sense, you would say that diversity is being invited to a party and inclusion is being invited to dance. There are diverse teams of talent within organizations, but that does not guarantee that each employee feels valued or welcomed. Some people may not be afforded the same opportunities to grow or demonstrate their talents due to their background. Additionally, organizations must understand that inclusion is not a by-product of diversity. It may be possible for an organization to have employees from different backgrounds, but that does not guarantee that everyone will feel welcome. In order for employees to feel safe and work efficiently, it is essential that the culture of the company be inclusive. Organizations should consider the experiences of minority employees. In the event that the minority is not experiencing a positive experience, it indicates that there is a lack of inclusivity. An organization should ensure that each employee is valued, regardless of their background, race, ethnicity, etc. This makes them truly inclusive.
Equity is a way to make sure everyone has equal opportunities to develop and showcase their skills. As a result, equity recognizes that barriers and advantages exist in everyone’s life, and not everyone starts from the same place. In order to create equity, we have to acknowledge the unequal starting places and correct the imbalance. It was found that female candidates with the same skills as male candidates were deemed less competent. They were considered less worthy of being hired and offered lower mentoring and starting salaries. Processes that are fair in an organization look for this type of imbalance so they can create a process that isn’t unfair.
Diversity and inclusion are the outcomes of the strategies implemented in the company. Conversely, equity is when an organization works to provide growth opportunities to marginalized groups.
Three Layers of Diversity
For about 6-7 decades now, diversity has been a thing in the corporate world. Diversity in the workplace is defined as the presence of people with a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. Gender, gender identity, age, generations, ability, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, and sexual orientation are all examples of diversity. Research has extensively proven the benefit of having a diverse workplace over a homogeneous one, and vanguard organizations and their leaders are embracing it. Diversity is a hugely constructive and valuable practice, but it has its challenges, especially the biases and stereotypes that are hard to get rid of. To maximize diversity and inclusion benefits, companies offer diversity training and sensitization skills to promote tolerance and develop inclusion and acceptance of differences. Diversity training usually includes cultural awareness and sensitivity training.
When creating a diversity agenda for an organization, it’s a good idea to look at the three-dimensional model, which includes primary, secondary and tertiary layers of diversity. Make the most of diversity by including these three layers.
The first layer includes things like gender, generation, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and ability.
The second layer is demographics. Geographic location, income, education, marital status, parental status, religion, languages learned, value systems, personalities, work experience, spiritual beliefs, political views, appearance, entertainment behavior, and media habits.
In the tertiary or third layer is the organizational dimension, which includes things like functional level, management status, seniority, work location, and industry affiliation.
Although differences can be leveraged for greater productivity and problem-solving, they can also create fissures within your team. One person’s competitive edge can be another’s weakness. Making sure everyone’s voice is heard is the leader’s job. If the same people keep talking in every meeting and get all the attention, it’s clear your inclusion strategy isn’t working.
Each person works differently and prefers to do things a certain way. By observing how our colleagues work, leaders can leverage their strengths. Getting to know each other’s work styles and knowing how to work together as a team can lead to a more productive and happier workplace. By making sure different work styles are represented in your projects, you’re setting up your team and your company for growth, innovation, and sustainability.
Diversity from The Lens of Culture
Culture shapes who we are in a way that no other aspect of diversity can. Language, beliefs, norms, values, and aspects of regional and religious diversity make up culture. Multiculturalism and cultural diversity are often used interchangeably. Dr Caleb Rosado, a sociologist, defines multiculturalism as these seven actions:
- Appreciating the diversity of cultures
- Recognizing and respecting differences
- Recognizing different cultural expressions and contributions
- Taking all cultures into account and appreciating them for what they have to offer
- Getting diverse groups to contribute more
- Helping people get in touch with their inner potential by analyzing their biases
- Celebrate differences instead of tolerating them
- Culture diversity is valuing, recognizing, and respecting all the different groups in an organization. Because of millennials, organizations are rethinking and re-planning their business strategies. It explains the importance of cultural diversity today.
- Cultural diversity has more pros than cons. Organizations have faced issues in implementing a policy where people from different cultural backgrounds can work cohesively together as a team. Unintentionally, cliques and groups are formed where like-minded people attract and want to be together. Some of the major challenges faced are:
- Stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, and racism have given rise to conflicts at the workplace while making integration a big challenge. Team members and peers are often observed indulging in personal attacks rather than productive conflict around ideas.
- Often Harassment is quoted as a bigger issue in multicultural organization set ups. But harassment is not an issue resulting from cultural diversity but that of an individual’s social learning. Multicultural or no, harassment can still prevail in organizations if proper policies are not implemented to prevent the same.
- Organizations become too ambitious to create a culturally diverse workforce but fail to meet the needs and demands of the same. Diversity brings with it a set of different needs which needs to be recognized and catered to. Often employees that form the minority in the group, claim that their voices are less heard
- Communication sometimes may not be effective due to difference in understanding and misinterpretation across languages and cultures. Along with communication, the definition and nuances of professional etiquette also differs from one culture to another. A poor understanding of the same can further lead to more conflicts.
Multiculturalism at the Workplace
The culture we belong to shapes our identity in a way that no other aspect of diversity does. Culture includes the shared language, beliefs, norms, values, and aspects of regional and religion diversity that is passed down from one generation to another. The term cultural diversity is often used as a synonym to “multiculturalism”. Famous sociologist, Dr Caleb Rosado defines multiculturalism basis the following seven actions:
- Recognizing the variety of cultures
- Respecting the differences identified
- Acknowledging different cultural expressions and contributions
- Valuing the contributions of all the cultures and what they have to offer
- Encouraging more contribution from the diverse groups
- Empowering people to reach their inner potential by critically analyzing their biases
- Celebrating differences instead of tolerating them
Therefore, cultural diversity is a system of beliefs that recognizes, respects, values and celebrates all diverse groups in an organization. Organizations today are extensively promoting multiculturalism and one of the reasons is the millennial mindset taking over the organizations to rethink and re-plan their business efforts. This explains the cultural diversity importance that holds true today.
Cultural diversity has more pros than cons. Organizations have faced issues in implementing a policy where people from different cultural backgrounds can work cohesively together as a team. Unintentionally, cliques and groups are formed where like-minded people attract and want to be together. Some of the major challenges faced are:
- Stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination and racism have given rise to conflicts at the workplace while making integration a big challenge. Team members and peers are often observed indulging in personal attacks rather than productive conflict around ideas.
- Often Harassment is quoted as a bigger issue in multicultural organization set ups. But harassment is not an issue resulting from cultural diversity but that of an individual’s social learning. Multicultural or no, harassment can still prevail in organizations if proper policies are not implemented to prevent the same.
- Organizations become too ambitious to create a culturally diverse workforce but fail to meet the needs and demands of the same. Diversity brings with it a set of different needs which needs to be recognized and catered to. Often employees that form the minority in the group, claim that their voices are less heard
- Communication sometimes may not be effective due to difference in understanding and misinterpretation across languages and cultures. Along with communication, the definition and nuances of professional etiquette also differs from one culture to another. A poor understanding of the same can further lead to more conflicts.
Importance of Cultural Diversity
These issues although can be a potential threat to the organization, are not unavoidable. With proper policies and integration plan, these issues can be resolved, and more focus can be given to the importance of cultural diversity at the workplace, as listed below.
- Cultural diversity allows different minds to come together to brainstorm and plan hence, fostering creativity and innovation that helps organizations to quickly innovate, have a competitive advantage and meet the growing demands of the customers
- Cultural diversity helps to break the monotony and “groupthink” conformity in the organization because everyone thinking alike can pose a bigger issue. Studies have also shown that people tend to consider conflicting views and opinions if it is coming from someone they regard as different from themselves.
- Cultural diversity also includes regional diversity which means team members with knowledge of local market that can make business competitive and profitable
- Aiming for a culturally diverse workforce means no filtering in the recruitment process; organizations can focus on attracting and hiring the best talent and not just relying on referrals for their recruitment process
- Cultural diversity also gives a scope to create teams with diverse skill set that further helps in creativity and innovation for various products and services
- Diverse teams can play on each other’s strengths, outperform homogenous groups in problem solving abilities and increase the team’s overall productivity
- Cultural diversity also gives a scope to learn from one another, thus giving greater opportunity for personal and professional growth
- All of the above factors help to improve the financial performance of the organization
The number of cultural diversity importance definitely outperforms its challenges and issues. As mentioned earlier, issues can be resolved, and the benefits can be leveraged if the plan for multiculturalism is implemented well. Here are some tips on how one can manage cultural diversity at the workplace.
- Policies related to diversity must be written and documented and made a part of the employee handbook; it must include the expectations, code of conduct, rituals and benefits derived from the same
- Establish a zero-tolerance policy and document not just the policies but also how violation of those policies will be dealt with
- In order to sustain a diverse workplace culture, employee sensitivity and awareness is very important. Efforts should be made to help employees understand each other’s cultural differences in terms of gender roles, spirituality, emotional well-being, family and social learning. Appropriate employee sensitivity training must be provided.
- Create a common culture and list of professional etiquette that should be followed by all in the organization
- Advocating and promoting the use of local raw materials that signifies the importance and value of one’s culture also helps to dilute the issues of multiculturalism
- Creating team cultures of active listening, empathy and acceptance must be promoted through well-established rituals
Cultural diversity brings with its various benefits that must be considered and taken up as an initiative by all organizations and proper implementation efforts in terms of culture, policies and systems must be established to help sustain that initiative.
Benefits of Cultural Diversity
The world has become one due to immense development of technology. Gone are the days when people from similar backgrounds worked together. Today with global economies and multinational corporations people work in a culturally diverse environment. It has therefore become essential to adapt to changing conditions and comfortably work in a multi-cultural environment. To survive in the competitive forum and to stand out from others it is essential to gel to the changing practices and to collaborate with people from varied backgrounds. So, the organizations are taking efforts to take a lead in cultural diversity.
Before getting into the benefits of cultural diversity, let us understand what cultural diversity is? Cultural diversity is creating an environment of being open to hire people from various walks of life, regardless of religion, culture, nationality, etc. There are lot of benefits that an organization promoting a diverse culture by bringing in people from different walks of life.
We do understand that human race in general is very diverse and spread across with varied culture. So, in the era of globalization organizations are moving to focus that their workforce is also as diverse.
Let’s move on to exploring some of the benefits of cultural diversity in an organization.
- Greater productivity
- Enhanced creativity
- Increased profits
- Better employee engagement
- Lesser employee turnover
Greater productivity: Diverse environment brings together varied talents and skills, while everyone will be aiming towards a common goal with multiple approaches. There was a research conducted in US and the findings suggest “more multicultural urban environment makes US-born citizens more productive.” Organizations also have a benefit, as people from multicultural background offer different perspectives and everyone will have an opportunity to learn from each other. This way new and novel ideas are born.
Enhanced creativity: One very powerful benefit of a culturally diverse workforce in greater creativity. As highlighted prior people from different walks of life think differently and provide varied ideas, thus enhancing the capacity to come up with diverse set of results to the problem in hand.
Increased profits: There is a directly proportionate relationship between cultural diversity and heightened profits, and many studies shows evidences for this statement. A research in 2013 by Think Tank showed that companies with diverse population at the senior management level reported increase in the profits compared to the previous year. While only very few companies without a diverse workforce showed similar improvement.
Better employee engagement: When there is a diverse environment, and everyone feel valued and heard that increases the employee engagement. As this allows an opportunity for employees to discuss, share and learn from each other which would impact their personal and professional growth.
Lesser employee turnover: Organizations promoting cultural diversity naturally target a wider pool of candidates and this creates a better image for the company. Hiring from larger pool means not only reaching a wider group but getting the best from the industry. With everyday changes and improvement, it is essential to hire people with different sets of skills and talent to withstand.
These are some of the major benefits of cultural diversity which positively impacts both the organization and individual development. Another benefit of cultural diversity of it helps not just in withstanding but succeeding in the competitive market.
Diversity is a disruptive force
We live in a complex interconnected world as a result of technological advancements and globalization, causing a diverse population to interact more often. On the one hand, we have more interconnectedness, but on the other hand, we have increased polarization in the digital and physical worlds, caused by various stakeholders.
In popular culture, workplaces are miniature versions of our society, and everyone reflects the sociocultural aspects that play a role in the outside world. Over the past two decades, many large company CEOs and stakeholders have realized that diversity isn’t just a plus for employees, but impacts the business’ growth, performance, and outlook. Additionally, Diversity can influence aspects like innovation, connectedness, and engagement, unlike a traditional homogenous work environment. Diversity or better yet inclusion isn’t easy, it takes a lot of careful planning and cautious efforts to bring out the best in it.
Race, ethnicity, and gender are no longer the only dimensions of diversity. As the world has evolved, workplace diversity has expanded to incorporate political preferences, age, identity, educational backgrounds, sexual preferences, religious practices, cultural differences, and disabilities. In general, organizations are benefiting from a lot of aspects they aren’t used to by engaging in diversity and inclusive practices.
Disruption and Innovation
An innovative workplace benefits from people with different ideas, experiences, and opinions. Most innovative centres around the world have one thing in common: a lot of immigrants. Bringing cultures together leads to something new.
Diversity and Business Performance
As I said before, a diverse workforce tends to be more innovative, solve problems better, and bring in better governance. It’s mainly because they bring different experiences, thoughts, and ideas to the table. According to BCG, companies with better diversity management practices generate 19% more revenue. That goes for every line of business. That goes for any profit-making organization. In contrast to earlier, flexibility and versatility are increasingly seen as factors giving organizations that edge. Which comes from a diverse environment, of course.
By 2025, millennials will make up most of the workforce. About 75% of the population will be millennials. Millennials like engagement and environments that support different perspectives.
With the power of transformation, businesses can create workplaces that are increasingly accepting, diverse, and inclusive. They need to start at the top. As more and more companies realize the benefits of diversity, the need for a highly diverse workforce becomes increasingly compelling every year. Establishing diverse teams at all levels is also important. With respect to financial gains from a diverse workforce, there has been many studies proving this and making diversity a no-brainer option.
Diversity and Inclusion Training for Employees
Training on diversity & inclusion has become increasingly important for companies. Efforts are being made to make everyone more sensitive about others and make it easier to work closely with everyone. Companies also look at Diversity and Inclusion Training for Employees as an opportunity to reap the benefits of an inclusive culture.
Diversity and inclusion training is all about letting people know how people from different backgrounds work. Diversity and Inclusion Training can be further broken down into two sections. The first is awareness training – helping employees understand how different people see, think, act, etc. Second part is skills training – teaching people how to interact with different people, create a bond, etc.
Diversity and inclusion training for employees can be done in the classroom as well. You can also use eLearning videos as part of diversity and inclusion training.
Diversity and inclusion training for employees has a lot of benefits. The research shows that a diverse and inclusive organization gets better financial returns, has more innovation, makes better decisions, etc. To be clear, just a one-off training or series of sessions on diversity & inclusion doesn’t make for an inclusive workplace. It’s a long process, where policies and HR cycles need to change.
Diversity and inclusion training is crucial for creating an inclusive culture. Employees gain awareness and perspective through training, which reflects in their performance.
Diversity & inclusion training has a lot of benefits, but articles show there are some that fail miserably. To provide effective diversity and inclusion training for employees, there are some crucial aspects to keep in mind.
Let’s start with the why. For any training to be successful, employees have to understand why the program is being run, why they are the target audience, what is expected of them, etc. In diversity & inclusion training, it’s about explaining why it’s important for the business. Then everyone will get on board.
Second, don’t just focus on one way of training. Combine skills and awareness. Most benefits can only be gained when people are aware of the differences, unconscious biases, and at the same time can apply them to practices like communicating better, improving cohesiveness, etc.
A third factor is to keep the diversity & inclusion training voluntary. After giving the purpose like in step one, it’s best to keep nominations voluntary. People who need diversity and inclusion training may not nominate, but research shows forcing them to attend also doesn’t work.
Finally, integrate diversity & inclusion training into other trainings so you get the most from it. You could make communicating with different cultures a part of the communication skills training, or managing different teams as part of the managerial effectiveness training, etc.
Best Practices in Diversity and Inclusion
Innovative companies are diverse and inclusive. Companies with a diverse workforce do better than those with a homogenous workforce. Research from McKinsey says a diverse workforce leads to greater profitability and value creation. Diverse leadership leads to better financial results. Diverse companies are 33% more likely to be profitable. Companies with gender diversity are 21% more likely to have above-average profits.
- Create a sense of belonging in the company
Employees need to feel valued in the organization to put their best foot forward. Leaders need to encourage new ideas from everyone. Making them feel valued will make them feel like they belong. This helps foster social bonds and generate creative ideas.
- The leader has to be empathic in nature
Each leader has to understand or put themselves in to other’s shoes. This will help in understanding the experiences of others. For driving a successful change, leaders have to believe in the sense of belonging- both logically and emotionally. When leaders are empathetic, the diversity and inclusion practices of the company will be in place and will be accepted.
- Treat everyone with fairness
Employees feel more valued and accepted if they’re treated fairly. They’re happier and more productive. Employees treated unfairly and paid based on their backgrounds will lead to a lack of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
- Everyone should have a chance to grow
Growth opportunities are one of the factors that attract talent and keep them at the company. All employees should have equal opportunities. There shouldn’t be any discrimination based on gender, community, background, region, etc.
- Educate employees about diversity and inclusion
Diversity and inclusion should be taught to employees. How it benefits the company, and why it’s important. When people get a sense of what diversity and inclusion is about, they’ll support management.
- Promote teamwork and collaboration
A diverse workforce expects collaboration and support from both employers and employees. Employers who encourage teamwork and collaboration will encourage workers to be open and honest about their opinions without fear. Employees should also feel valued by their employers, which will enhance teamwork. Employees are more likely to accept other people if their employers do not discriminate.
- Revise the recruitment process
In order to be inclusive, recruitment policies should provide people from all regions, communities, etc, with equal opportunity to apply. Recruiters should focus their attention on the candidate’s personality traits, skills, motivation, etc. This will make the selection process fair for all candidates and those who truly deserve will be selected. An equitable recruitment process will attract talent from different locations and backgrounds.
- Promoting diversity and inclusion
A leader should clearly communicate the company’s diversity and inclusion strategy to the employees so that everyone understands that the company supports everyone and believes in equality.
Diverse and Inclusive Leadership Training
Diversity is everything about you that makes you unique. You’re your race, your generation, the cuisine you like, the education you had or are having, where you grew up, and who you support in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The person sitting next to you at work and in whose hands the success of your project lies might not even know what IPL is.
Inclusion is that beautiful state where you can see the common thread of universalism that connects all this diversity. The goal is to create an environment of collaboration and synergy. Diversity is a real-time thing, and inclusion is a must.
In a world where your next customer is unimaginably different from what you’re used to, inclusion is what saves you. In an increasingly diverse world where it is increasingly acceptable to be different, inclusiveness is the best strategy for working effectively. Every kind of talent is needed to solve interestingly different problems that come up with new technology. Accepting diversity and assimilating inclusion is an antidote to a volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous world.
An executive, or to be precise, the leader of the organization, is the best role model for inclusion. So, the CEO is the Chief Inclusion Officer (CIO). An inclusive leader pays attention to all his/her employees and includes input from everyone he/she serves. Consequently, it’s important for the leader to be involved at all levels within their organization. Inclusive leadership creates an organizational culture that not merely looks at number-based results, but also focuses on the well-being of all stakeholders, with the deep realization that both are interminably interlinked.
Inclusive executives are fully responsible for the productivity and contribution of every team member. By being committed to assessing and developing the organization while showing a visible commitment to bringing everyone to their full potential, that’s what makes a good leader.
Reach out to Strengthscape if you want your executives to learn about diversity and inclusion. It comes with a series of training on Diversity and Inclusion – called WEQUITY. It deals with unconscious biases, stereotyping, and prejudices that affect the bottom line of an organization. WeQuiTY Leader, which I personally think would be great for diversity training executives, is a workshop that emphasizes how important it is for an executive to help create an organization culture of celebrating and accommodating differences.
Inclusion & Diversity Charter
Have you established an Inclusion and Diversity Charter?
It may appear that diversity and inclusion are just buzzwords used around the world. However, for organizations that are committed to hiring the best talent, it is an important factor that cannot be overlooked.
A company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives is an essential element of employer branding, which should begin early in the hiring process. As we work to develop our employer brand, drafting a diversity and inclusion charter will demonstrate that we take diversity and inclusion seriously and have given it the consideration and commitment it deserves.
The diversity and inclusion charter for an organization is a document that explains the commitment of the organization to diversity and inclusion for its employees, stakeholders, and clients. It demonstrates to the world how diversity fits well within the mission and values of your organization.
Diversity and inclusion charters should reflect the feelings of a diverse group of people, including internal and external stakeholders of an organization. Poor diversity and inclusion policies may be inimical to an organization’s mission and even contradict the values and beliefs of the organization.
The diversity and inclusion charter must consider the mission, vision, and values of the organization, as well as the perception that various stakeholders will have of the document. It should not be written in silos instead should consider the recruitment and marketing goals to enrich that employer and organization brand.
A diversity and inclusion charter must take into consideration the optics of the content since it may have major implications on the organization. Listed below are some tips that one should consider while drafting a diversity and inclusion policy charter:
- A strong headline is an effective way to present a charter of diversity and inclusion. Throughout the organization, and even for external stakeholders, it is suggested to use a simple phrase that can be remembered easily. It is important to design headlines in such a way that they introduce readers to the charter and motivate them to continue reading.
- The use of positive language might seem obvious, but it is important to bear in mind that it can be somewhat subjective. It is necessary to use words that evoke positive feelings, such as inclusive, celebrate, learn, grow, etc., rather than negative ones.
- In your charter, it is easier to discuss the overall theme and ideas; however, we recommend you also discuss how the organization is actively pursuing D&I initiatives.
- The diversity and inclusion charter should also adhere to a certain length, so it should serve as a charter instead of a thesis. It is recommended to keep it below 100 words.
- The best diversity and inclusion charters contain facts and figures. Depending on the demographics of the employees, this information can be self-reported and anonymous. Demography includes factors such as employee age, ethnicity, gender, etc. Include data in your diversity and inclusion charter to measure the level of commitment towards the charter.
In summary, it is necessary to create a diversity and inclusion charter that is clear, robust, and impactful, which can be measured and can be committed to on an instinctive level by all employees to create a great employer brand.
Developing Leaders for an Inclusive Culture
“Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.” – Jesse Jackson
Today’s organizations understand that diversity and inclusion is not just a buzzword in the market, but it holds importance and helps organizations to drive company’s performance, overall development and keep employees engaged.
At the point when honestly and transparency is organization’s mission, it’s significant that you’re not simply sharing organization’s positive factors but also talking about harder realities. By being straightforward and sharing the hard realities, teams become more inclusive by inviting contribution from all.
Inclusive leaders are seen as inspirational leaders. Leaders are expert in adapting to different styles and situations. They are comfortable with different style of groups. This enables them to convey effectively across societies and cultures.
There should be a proper training for leaders so that they can get more involved in Diversity and Inclusion. Here are some of the important components which needs to be covered in the training-
- Discuss how an inclusive culture looks and what we can do to foster it?
- Leaders should listen to what others have to say. It is the employees who strive to keep their points and want to lead change that allow an organization to stand out from its competitors. Leaders should solicit input from others and be willing to implement it.
- Workforce Diversity is expanding – Leaders should be aware that as workforce diversity/generational diversity expands, they must engage and empower their team members.
- It is through diversity and inclusion that an organization can flourish and innovate. It has been observed that non-diverse organizations approach all problems using the same old methods. Diverse organizations or teams are more likely to take a different approach to each problem.
- Companies should train their hiring managers to be inclusive in their promotion, hiring, training, and development practices to surpass the competition. By being inclusive in the hiring and development process, the organization will be able to achieve a higher level of profitability than its competitors.
- Leaders need to know the importance of actively participating in diversity and inclusion initiatives.
When it comes to inclusion training for leaders, we have witnessed powerful business benefits. Some of these are:
- Culture that fosters innovation
- Improved decision-making within the organization
- Retention of employees increased
- Increased employee engagement and motivation
- Diversity among employees is higher
- Establishing an organization’s position in the industry
- It is essential to remember that D&I is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather an ongoing process. Employees are not seeking a well-equipped leader who has all the answers, but rather someone who has a clear vision and plan that is inclusive of all employees.
- Diversity and inclusion training is crucial to creating an environment that focuses on innovation, creativity, inclusiveness for everyone, and fostering a productive working environment. Inclusion and diversity training should be flexible to meet the needs of today’s dynamic workplaces. The diversity and inclusion training are an excellent way for leaders to determine where they stand in terms of inclusion and to ensure their organization is one of the best places to work.
Diversity and Inclusion Course
Diversity is characterized by the presence of difference. It is something that can be observed, measured, recorded, and tracked with ease. It can encompass a broad spectrum of people and things. It is often used to refer to the many differences among employees, such as religion, age, ability, gender, ethnicity, and culture. Specifically, diversity refers to differences among employees who are working together.
While designing or looking for a diversity and inclusion course for your employee, it is important to note that the course contains the following:
Inclusion and Diversity: This is an introductory module, so the main objective is to familiarize participants (or employees) with the concepts of inclusion and diversity and their relevance in the workplace today. It can be started by identifying why diversity and inclusion are important to organizations today. It can further be enhanced by adding facts and figures for diversity categories as well as the challenges firms face in being inclusive of all diversity elements.
Neuroscience of Diversity: The next step should focus on cognitive processes such as social categorization, which is focused on how we see and react to our social environment. It helps you better understand your own and others’ perceptions and reactions to difference and variety. If we can incorporate some conceptual tools and data to analyse the reactions in social interactions in the workplace, that would be the cherry on top of this module
The application of diversity and inclusion to organizations: Once we have understood the neuroscience of diversity and inclusion, the next step is to explore the processes we encounter in organizations. The focus of this module should be on mobilizing the disruptive forces of diversity by building on the self-understanding gained from the earlier concepts. In this module, participants are expected to gain an understanding of the challenges of implementing inclusion in workplaces, as well as ways to apply cognitive methods to build a diversity and inclusion case.
Diversity and inclusion practices throughout the world: It is also possible to add the diversity and inclusion practices that exist throughout the world. Not only does it provide inspiration to follow some of these practices or initiatives, but it also provides a chance for the participants to think outside the box. The purpose of this seminar is to inform participants of the best practices around the world and to encourage them to be more mindful while implementing some of those initiatives within their respective organizations.
Role of a Diversity and Inclusion Champion
In his words Sundar Pichai – “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussion, decisions, and outcomes for all.” It is critical for every organization to have a diverse and inclusive workforce as it contributes to making better decisions by as much as 87% (Source: Cloverpop Survey Report).
Diverse workplaces contribute to better decision making by allowing employees to keep their biases under control while also questioning their assumptions. The result is a more productive and happier workplace (source: Harvard Business Review writer).
But establishing and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce is difficult, and a person who can ensure a diverse and inclusive workplace is necessary. In order to make this possible, every organization needs a Diversity and Inclusion Champion.
Who Is a Diversity & Inclusion Champion?
Diverse and Inclusion Champions are responsible for reducing or eliminating racial and cultural bias and discrimination in the workplace that is experienced by employees due to their skin colour, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, religion, etc. The Diversity and Inclusion Champions must spread awareness of issues related to diversity and inclusion within a team to ensure equality.
Key Responsibilities of D&I Champion
- Encourages employees to feel equal and important by promoting best practices within the organization.
- Monitors the behavior of employees and acts against any discriminatory behavior.
- Assists in creating a good relationship among employees by emphasizing the importance of diversity.
- Contributes to the development of anti-discrimination policies for the organization.
- Engages employees in activities that promote equality to increase awareness of it among them.
- Assists the individual who suffers from discriminatory behavior.
- Encourages collaboration among colleagues to create a more cohesive workplace.
What is the significance of this role in your organization?
To have a successful organization, there should be no unconscious bias and discrimination. As a result, employees will feel valued and secure. To ensure a diverse and bias-free workplace, it is necessary to have a D&I Champion.
Business outcomes of having a D&I champion onboard
- Employees will become knowledgeable about diverse cultures, which will reduce unconscious bias or stereotypes towards cultures of diverse origin.
- As a result, employees will feel valued and psychologically secure.
- Employees who have been discriminated against can reach out for assistance and are guaranteed to receive justice as well.
- There will be a greater sense of cohesion within the organization as everyone will understand their roles.
- Since racial discrimination is one of the leading reasons why employees leave organizations, having a D&I Champion will reduce the likelihood of such a situation occurring.
- A happy workforce performs better, which ultimately contributes to the organisation’s growth.
- Having an organization that is culturally diverse and inclusive will attract the best talent from all parts of the country and world.
How Can Someone Become a D&I Champion?
A person who is motivated to promote equality at work, is knowledgeable about different cultures, is free of racial stereotypes, and is not affected by unconscious bias may be a good candidate for the role of Diversity and Inclusion champion. To enhance these abilities, he/she must be trained in cultural sensitivity.
The D&I Champion contributes to the growth and development of both the organization and its employees. The role fosters a culture of acceptance and respect that contributes to the success of the organization. Therefore, to create an organization where everyone respects one another and builds upon one another’s ideas, there should be a Diversity & Inclusion Champion.
Diversity and Inclusion Good Practices in India
Diversity and Inclusion practices have evolved to become the focal point for many organizations in India. Organizations today recognize the business case for diversity and inclusion and proactively taking steps to become more diverse and inclusive to attain a competitive advantage. However, since diversity and inclusion have a strong cultural and sometimes even legal context, D&I practices vary widely between countries to meet the local needs. Let us first understand how the Indian context is unique and impacts D&I practices:
- Diversity and inclusion in India are influenced by regional and linguistic differences. With stark regional differences and multiple languages being spoken this is an aspect of diversity that must be considered in India.
- The legal system in India has various provisions regarding employment of women, persons with disabilities and with the removal of Article 377, the LGBTQ community as well. Organizations must at a minimum adhere to these legal provisions.
- Ties 1 and Tier 2 cities in India vary significantly in terms of infrastructure, opportunities and even the education system. This adds an element to the diversity make-up particularly among the new hires. This is an important aspect that organizations must consider while defining their D&I policies and practices.
Generational Diversity is another critical component particularly considering the population and the pool of younger talent available in the country. Considering this unique Indian context here are some emerging best practices in the space of Diversity and Inclusion in India:
- Leadership Commitment – Companies such as Infosys that have successful and robust Diversity and Inclusion programs have leadership commitments aligned with their D&I goals. As part of this commitment, Infosys measures diversity and inclusion as an important factor in its corporate scorecard. Inclusion surveys are conducted annually to solicit feedback from the various diverse groups on the D&I initiatives. In addition, all business units are evaluated on how well they perform in terms of diversity and inclusion. By adopting these practices, Diversity & Inclusion will be at the top of the agenda for all business units and leaders. (Ref: How Companies in India are Leveraging the Business Benefits of Diversity & Inclusion Report on Seminar held in Mumbai – March 2010)
- Creating an Inclusive Environment – Organizations in India have also put in significant effort in creating an Inclusive environment. Some best practices in this are:
- Employee Resource Groups – Creating ERGs are a great way to enable employees to connect with others, share their expectations and concerns and drive engagement. Most Indian organizations focus on female employees such resource groups since driving gender inclusion is a top priority for them.
- Second Career Drives – Many organizations like Thought Works and HP have career return programs for women returning to their second careers after a break. Since in India taking career breaks for women due to marriage, maternity or other family commitments is a norm, such programs are a key to drive diversity and inclusion.
- Mentoring & Learning Programs – Another initiative for building an Inclusive environment is through career development opportunities for all diverse groups. Mentoring programs and training interventions are available to all employees to provide equal opportunity for development. Some organizations also conduct special mentoring programs for diverse groups to address their unique needs.
- D&I Related Learning Interventions – Learning interventions are another best practice that most Indian organizations use to build a diverse and inclusive culture. Culture requires the development of the right mindset, and to create the right mindset requires time and effort. Learning and development play an essential role in enabling a culture of diversity and inclusion. It is common for Indian organizations to conduct diversity and inclusion training programs that focus on overcoming unconscious biases, identifying micro exclusions, understanding the business case for diversity and inclusion as well as training champions and allies for diversity and inclusion.
These best practices have led to significant improvements in the D&I Index for many Indian organizations. Nonetheless, diversity and inclusion are constantly evolving and require evolving practices to ensure continued commitment.
What’s the best way to hire for diversity?
The diversity hiring process allows us to make hiring decisions without bias based on race, religion, age, sexual orientation, etc. It’s important to identify and eliminate potential biases that can arise in sourcing, screening, and shortlisting candidates. Diversity hiring allows you to hire qualified candidates while also bringing diversity to the team. You can hire candidates who can make a team diverse in several ways.
- Post the job on diverse job boards: There are diverse job boards for autism, military spouses, people with disabilities, veterans, etc. You should post jobs on these too, besides the general ones.
- Give under-represented people internships: It’s a great way to hire more people who bring diversity. People can learn about the industry and then join it. It’s a great way to build pipelines. Organizations can reach out to schools and community groups to find students. In most cases, communities have their own programs, and organizations can collaborate and help students.
- Encourage diverse employees to refer their friends to the organization: Get people hired by creating a candidate referral program. Let diverse employees refer their friends. In this way, employees will feel that organization values different backgrounds. The organization should reach out to employees with that background if it wants to hire them. Encourage them to share the job ads. Both the employees and potential candidates should feel that the organization value their presence and they are important for organization’s growth.
- Employer branding that promotes diversity and inclusion: Employees should feel and realize that the organization values people and opinions from all walks of life. Managers should encourage diversity and educate employees about it. Organization should create an employer brand that values diversity. This will work as a buy-in for the employees and they will spread the word with their connections. Moreover, diverse candidates will seek out to the organizations who truly believe in diversity and inclusion and truly value the ideals.
- Policies should be inclusive: Organizations should offer flexible working hours. They should include religious holidays and community events. More flexible work hours will make it easier for people to get involved in their communities. Management should also encourage people to speak up if a policy is hurting diversity. Having an honest and open conversation will encourage people to open up and help organizations become more diverse.
- Use blind resumes: It’s an increasingly popular way to remove bias from the interview process. A resume shouldn’t include any personal info like your date of birth, religion, school, or location. These things unconsciously lead to bias.
- Use AI for resume reviews: To make sure there’s no bias in the hiring process, use AI for the first level of selection. It should have filters for skills and experience. Let AI choose who to shortlist for the second round. This will lead to complete impartial shortlisting of candidates.
Why Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Fail?
Diversity and inclusion strategies are often incorporated into an organization to add a variety of perspectives and improve productivity, innovation, and revenue. Strategies must be well thought out, have solid foundations, and employ a critical approach to weigh the pros and cons of each step. Diversity and inclusion strategies are often hampered by superficial strategic thinking.
Inadequate funding is one of the factors that contributes to the failure of diversity and inclusion efforts. The internal teams may therefore be forced to develop strategies that, in some instances, will require the assistance of external consultants or subject matter experts. Programs developed by internal teams often fit into the existing organizational culture and cater to the status quo. An effective diversity and inclusion strategy will result in changes in organizational culture where they are required, and these changes will have indirect benefits for the organization in other areas over the long term. Therefore, the absence of this fundamental change marks the beginning of a diversity and inclusion program that will have little impact or may even have adverse effects on the organization.
In addition, a diagnosis should be conducted before developing diversity and inclusion programs and practices. Because diversity and inclusion programs have a limited budget and time allocated to them, internal teams usually do well at solving problems within a given budget. However, because of a limited budget and limited time, they are not able to spend enough time diagnosing the actual problem. It is this lack of understanding of problems that results in a solution that does not adequately address the issues in the organization.
One of the most sinister factors contributing to the failure of diversity and inclusion programs may be unconscious bias. Even when recruitment strategies are aligned with diversity objectives, unconscious bias creeps into processes such as sourcing, filtering, and interviewing. In organizations, affinity bias is one type of unconscious bias that tends to creep in, in which people tend to hire others who are like minded. As an example of a concept that promotes affinity bias during the recruitment process, the term “culture fit” is used.
Foster a Culture of Inclusion
Inclusion and diversity are crucial elements of organizational success. Most of us associate diversity with gender and race. Additionally, it refers to differences in human demographics, such as gender, race, religion, age, physical disability, and sexual orientation. By inclusion we mean bringing together and utilizing various resources for mutual benefit. Diversity and inclusion training is offered to employees at any workplace for the benefit of the organization.
We value diversity in the workplace, which includes employees from various cultures, religions, and ethnicities. Therefore, every employee should be aware of the importance of diversity and value it. It is also imperative that leaders and employers acknowledge every individual on the team. Companies with diverse staff are more likely to increase profits. In addition to being more innovative, organizations with inclusive cultures are more likely to be able to respond to situations more efficiently.
Developing a culture of diversity and inclusion
Inclusion issues need to be identified early
The primary barrier to fostering a culture of inclusion lies in discrimination. It is imperative that, even though you may have discovered a discrimination problem at your workplace, it is resolved immediately or as soon as possible. You may choose to communicate directly with those employees engaged in these prejudiced activities. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to take disciplinary action against the concerned employees.
Do review and make adjustment
To be effective, your diversity and inclusion initiatives must be dynamic. There is a need for continuous analysis of your workforce and instant response to your needs. Further, it is essential to identify the outcomes of your diversity and inclusion efforts. You may wish to consider establishing a process for checking the effectiveness of the D&I culture implementation on an occasional basis.
Organise meetings that achieve better results
You may establish the rules of the corporate meeting so that you can freely participate. Additionally, you may create guidelines for attendees. Each participant must be given the opportunity to express his or her opinions without being overheard by others in the discussion. At your meeting, it is essential that all attendees are aware of their privileges and rights. There may also be a need for the host or organizer to take measures to ensure that minority groups are considered and that effective communication is built with minorities and women that are involved in these meetings.
Maintain a positive relationship with your employees
Employees should feel comfortable opening up to their leaders, which is built through a trusting relationship. The leader has a responsibility to create an environment where people are able to get to know each other. The organization of corporate events and team building opportunities at a location that is inclusive of people with disabilities, for example, a place where physically disabled persons can also feel at home.
Invest in training programs on Diversity & Inclusion
We are all biased in different ways, and we respond to people and situations in accordance with those biases that are deeply embedded in our minds. This affects how we treat others, whether consciously or unconsciously. Diversity and Inclusion training programs allow individuals to gain a greater sense of self-awareness and provide an opportunity to discuss topics such as cultural barriers, gender biases, and equality and equity in the workplace. The training programs have a significant impact in enabling employees to speak with a common voice, to become allies and champions for diversity and inclusion, and to overall create an inclusive work environment.
Thus, we may focus on these techniques to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Competitive advantage through Diversity and Inclusion
Today, successful organizations take advantage of diversity and inclusion as a means of competitive advantage in the global marketplace. Organizations’ target markets are not homogeneous. Similarly, the workforce is comprised of a variety of skills, behaviors, and abilities. While diversity is far from being a challenge, far from being a test, diversity can have a competitive advantage by increasing acceptance, innovation, and critical thinking skills.
Whether large or small, all organizations operate internationally. Across the world, organizations are experiencing demographic changes because of shifting nationality, language, race, and religion. Therefore, customer expectations of how a company operates and their needs are changing, and the best way to achieve customer acceptance is to acknowledge the diversity of the customer base. As an example, providing multilingual support and service will improve customer satisfaction and provide a variety of opportunities on the market.
Diversity does not simply refer to a diverse workforce. Businesses should apply this concept to the development of new products, services, and business concepts. Increasingly, managers and leaders are realizing that differences in opinion, experience, and background contribute to new ideas. To gain a competitive advantage, innovative products and services must be created and commercialized.
Groupthink is the act of team members in a small, cohesive group of members adhering too firmly to the mentality and values of the group that they ignore the realistic views of members from outside the group. While groupthink may bring all team members on the same page, it may not be the best decision to make. Therefore, it is something very disastrous in the current competitive marketplace that is faced with a variety of problems and challenges. Inclusion and diversity can prevent this from occurring by providing new ideas and opinions.
Developing a competitive advantage based on diversity demands that the concept permeates all aspects of the organization’s processes and operations. Diversity is not only relevant in recruitment processes, but also in decision-making, advancement, product development, and other company processes. Managers can also develop diversity goals in the organization and conduct a gap analysis to determine where a company stands today relative to the desired progress and state.
Diversity and inclusion are important today since they have become more important for businesses otherwise, they may lag and not be able to meet their customers’ needs. To implement diversity and inclusion in your organization, it is more than just a tick box exercise. Diversity and Inclusion must be practiced every day in the workplace, rather than just passing policies and strategies. Diverse and inclusive work environments have many benefits. Today, it is vital to include Diversity from the beginning, for the future of the organization, and all employees must be equally involved in implementing the policies.
Managing Diversity Disruptions
When diversity practices are implemented without corresponding inclusion practices, this leads to negative diversity disruptions in the workplace. In an organization, the introduction of diversity can have three outcomes based on whether inclusion is simultaneously established. If there is no inclusion plan in conjunction with the diversity strategy, then the diversity plans may either fall short or result in negative diversity disruptions. When a corresponding inclusion strategy is implemented, the introduction of diversity into the organization leads to progress, and this is known as positive diversity disruption. The purpose of this article is to discuss the details of negative diversity disruptions and how to deal with them.
Below are some causes of negative diversity disruptions, along with suggestions on how to respond to them.
1) Engaging in the diversity movement
If diversity is pushed into an organization at a faster rate than the culture can cope with, disruptions like discrimination will result, which, in turn, will affect employee satisfaction and the brand value of the organization. Diversity integration requires time and effort since it involves changes to existing practices, policies and practices and needs to be aligned with a well-developed inclusion strategy.
2) Establishing discussion forums to increase diversity
It may be chaotic to open discussion forums to get opinions on how to improve diversity as they may bring out opinions that are not inclusive and may impact existing employees. If this method of diversity is used, it will create more inclusion issues than it will create diversity ideas. For organizations that assess diversity levels and decide that their diversity needs to be improved, they should take feedback in a discreet manner and not allow public forums for discussion.
3) Introducing diversity to increase brand value
Diversity initiatives intended to improve the brand value of an organization are often quickly identified by employees as unrealistic and ineffective since they are not complemented by good inclusion strategies and have a high attrition rate of diverse employees. The use of this approach increases hiring and retention costs for the organization and damages its brand image. Thus, this disruption can be handled by taking a step back, investing in good diversity and inclusion strategies, even ones that are simple.
4) Establishing special interest groups
Creating unobserved special interest groups to promote diversity and inclusion will result in cliques forming within the organization. This may result in stronger disagreements between groups that are being formed and may lead to workplace conflicts and disturbances. Ideally, special interest groups should be formed with caution with the goal of incorporating other employees into their culture, a form of knowledge and experience sharing.
Bringing in diversity requires a structured approach to reduce chaos, since bringing in diversity causes enough change and may result in discomfort for some members. Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand, diversity efforts without inclusion are either an unnecessary cost to the organization or cause additional costs due to the negative disruptions they cause. Hence to avoid negative disruptions, an effective inclusion strategy needs to be implemented alongside the diversity plans or even better before the diversity plans. This can be done through awareness programs, workshops, etc., which prepares the existing employees for the surge in diversity.
Diversity and Inclusion certification for HR
D&I Certification is designed to develop the competencies required to manage and lead diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Certification courses help individuals understand the importance of diversity and inclusion and help them develop strategies to implement at their organizations. This course will help the novice to develop a solid understanding of diversity and its impact on the organization. It includes training and implementation skills as well as a strategic framework.
Diversity and Inclusion certification programs teach participants how to frame an impactful inclusive initiative, analyse the current state of the organization, provide solutions based on their analysis, and develop strategies that will foster diversity and inclusion within the organization. In addition, assists in building a business perspective on how diversity and inclusion can contribute to the success of the company. As part of the course, participants will learn how to use technology to implement diversity and inclusion strategies and enhance organizational learning. Furthermore, the course enables learners to understand the difference between an impactful strategy and a basic one. The impactful strategy will have specific goals, whereas the basic strategy will simply have resources available to showcase what has been done by the organization in the field of diversity and inclusion.
In general, the certificate course presents information and assists students in understanding the concept of diversity and inclusion.
- The process begins with making participants aware of the concept and its importance to the organization. This will broaden participants’ horizons.
- Step two is to change the attitude towards diversity and inclusion. People do have misconceptions about diversity and inclusion. Psychological barriers must be removed to foster an open mindset.
- The third stage entails learning about different cultures, backgrounds, races, and ethnicities. This will allow HR professionals to recruit people with diverse backgrounds.
- The final step is to develop skills. Human resource professionals should learn to be empathic and to understand different perspectives.
The individuals who hold this certification can build D&I strategies to increase organizational alignment and performance improvement capabilities. Typically, there are two levels of proficiency.
- HR professionals can train employees on diversity and inclusion. Employees will be made aware of the diversity and inclusion policies of the organization. Knowledge will be transferred through presentations and open discussions. These professionals can implement and maintain diversity and inclusion policies across the organization.
- Having a higher level of expertise in diversity and inclusion enables professionals to develop strategies that will assist organizations in growing and achieving success. By implementing these strategies, organizations can achieve positive change. HR professionals should align the objectives of diversity and inclusion with those of the organization. Include those strategies in the recruitment process and anti-discrimination policies of the organization.
Moreover, certification courses enable HR professionals to manage the emotional reactions that employees may experience because of diversity and inclusion policies. They will understand their perspective and strike a balance between the management and the employees.
Connection with Emotional Intelligence
The benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workplace have been widely discussed. The benefits are many, ranging from innovation to customer satisfaction to engaged teams and enhanced revenue. However, we are aware that establishing a culture of inclusion and diversity is difficult. Research conducted in recent years has shown a correlation between Emotional Intelligence and Inclusion and Diversity. Research has shown that teams with higher levels of emotional intelligence are also more inclusive.
Let us attempt to understand how Emotional Intelligence leads to Inclusion and Diversity.
We should begin by understanding what Emotional Intelligence is. Emotional Intelligence is defined by Daniel Goldman as “the ability to recognize, assess, and control one’s own emotions, the emotions of others, and the emotions of groups”. A person with emotional intelligence is more likely to understand other people and to build a sense of trust and psychological safety. When we are able to understand others, we tend to be more inclusive. Here are a few key drivers of Emotional Intelligence that make us more inclusive and open to diversity:
- Empathy – In its simplest form, empathy is defined as the ability to understand the feelings of others. It involves putting yourself in another person’s position. A higher level of empathy is associated with higher levels of emotional intelligence. Being able to empathize with others also makes us aware of where people who are different from us come from – what shapes their perspective, outlook, and what they require from their surroundings. Understanding is the first step towards inclusion, as only through understanding can we accept.
- Overcoming Bias – Biases are the biggest roadblock to diversity and inclusion. To overcome biases, one must become acutely aware of their own biases. Emotional intelligence is directly related to the ability to be self-aware. Self-awareness is one of the pillars of emotional intelligence. A person with higher emotional intelligence is also more self-aware; they spend time reflecting on their emotions, biases, and reactions and put effort into overcoming such biases. As a result of our natural tendency to generalize and be suspicious of unfamiliar or different people, we are subject to many biases. It is possible to identify and overcome one’s own biases through self-awareness in order to think more logically rather than relying on biases.
- Self-regulation – Higher levels of emotional intelligence are associated with better self-regulation. It is the ability to regulate one’s emotions and reactions to better manage interpersonal interactions. The ability to self-regulate also results in people being more careful about the language they use and how they interact with others, including avoiding derogatory or excluding language for diverse groups and regulating their behavior in order to meet the needs of diverse team members. diverse team members. In their interactions, people with high emotional intelligence are more open to diverse groups and more inclusive.
- Emotional Intelligence is associated with improved interpersonal skills, which enables an individual to work effectively with diverse individuals by understanding and respecting their perspectives. In the context of diversity, interpersonal skills also refer to the ability to recognize, acknowledge, and accept the differences of others. Those who can deal effectively with diversity value differences and recognize the benefits that can result from variety in their work environment. Due to this, they are comfortable and efficient working with individuals who come from different backgrounds.
An inclusive and diverse culture is a result of having a high level of emotional intelligence. To become more inclusive, organizations should aim to enhance the emotional intelligence of their staff. This is achieved through regular training interventions on emotional intelligence.
Skills related to diversity management
The purpose of managing diversity is to provide employees with the environment, needs, and skills that may differ widely with the opportunity to engage with the organization and their colleagues in a constructive manner that produces a positive work environment and the best possible outcomes for the organization. For organizations that wish to expand or improve their operations in national and international markets, having a diverse workforce with employees from different ethnicities can be helpful.
Those who are unskilled:
The following characteristics characterize those who have difficulty managing diversity within an organization:
- Having difficulties working with people who are different from themselves.
- Acting inappropriately towards them.
- Refrains from conflicting views and agendas.
- Does not recognize the importance of diversity from a business perspective.
- Treats all employees equally without recognizing their differences.
- Very narrow and intolerant; believes his group is superior and best.
- Carrying negative and degrading stereotypes that are difficult to avoid
Those with skill:
- Manage all types of individuals equally.
- Deals effectively with individuals of all ages, races, cultures, and disabilities.
- Applies diversity and variety without discrimination based on class.
- Provides equal and fair treatment to all.
- Supports members of a particular class.
- Standards and norms may not be applied equally to all classes.
- Shows an incorrect preference for a certain class of people.
- Standards may be accommodated to achieve diversity.
- Feels uncomfortable when dealing with different groups.
- Believe in diversity but are unsure of how to proceed.
- The benefits of diversity are not well understood.
- An approach that is both narrow and stern.
- Believe diversity means double standards.
- Uneasy with the new and different.
Markets have become more diverse in today’s globalized society and economy. In fact, most global companies’ greatest opportunities lie in diverse cultures. Successful organizations will be those that successfully manage large levels of diversity. Diversity management involves determining which differences lead to change and enrichment, and which do not. However, until the benefits of both large and small diversity are realized, there is little chance of change. If you wish to do this, you should treat people more as individuals and less as members of a group, and you may need to treat some people differently due to their lack of fortune in the past.
Here are some remedies
- Making the Business Case – Little will happen until you have the business case in mind for increased diversity in the organization. Studies show that diverse groups are more innovative than other groups. They have a different perspective towards opportunities. Companies known for managing diversity well, will choose the best and the brightest. More effective managers have a more diverse group of people around them.
- Dealing with People Equitably – See people more as individuals rather than putting them in groups. Many of us categorize people as can or can’t do this. Those whom you think are like you are good and get more attention, more feedback, progress the most and performs the best, unfortunately proving your stereotyping. You need to avoid judging individuals of a group you don’t like or are not comfortable with.
- Balancing People Processes – Women and people of color usually do not get developmental feedback. Senior women do not get the tough tasks men have done. They do not participate equally in company’s meetings, where important business information is exchanged. Special programs should be held to make them more equal. Equal opportunity means equal access to findings, challenging jobs, skill enhancement and networking.
- Diversity that Matters – Diversity of culture, perspectives, education, culture, help produce a good product in a global and diverse marketplace. Manage the most diverse team who have the skills to do the job but otherwise are different. Try to spend more time with people around you who are different and seek their viewpoints.
- Prioritize Communication – For managing diversity in a workplace, organizations need to ensure that they productively communicate with employees. Policies, methods, safety rules and other important information should be constructed to perturb language and cultural barriers by translating data and using pictures and symbols whenever possible.
- Inspire Employees to Work in Diverse Groups – Diverse work teams let employees get aquatinted with and value one another on an individual basis and can help break down biased notions and cultural misjudgments.
- Be Open Minded – Encourage employees to recognize that their own experience, culture and background are not the only things of value to the organization. Look for ways to indulge a diverse range of outlooks and talents into efforts to achieve organizational goals.
- Hiring – To build a diverse workplace, it is important to hire talent from a variety of backgrounds. This requires leaders to overcome bias in interviewing and assessing talent. For a diverse workplace, they need to hire the most qualified people, those with the right education, experience and set of skills.
- Policies and Practices – Organizations managing diversity, need to ensure that there are policies and practices in the company to safeguard employees’ rights and stay agreeable with government regulations. Since the company’s policies and practices have a great impact on a diverse group of employees, they should create a way for employees to give feedback. They need to change policies that are not helpful for employees.
- Sensitivity Training – Employees need to be aware of how to work and achieve harmony with a diverse group of people. Sensitivity training can help an organization manage diversity in the workplace by helping employees become more self-aware and understand their own cultural biases and prejudices.
In the coming years, organizations that can manage diversity in the workplace effectively will hold an advantage when it comes to recruiting talent. Managing diversity in the workplace can be very challenging. These challenges can be reduced if an organization tries to encourage a more varied environment by encouraging a culture of tolerance, open conversation and creating conflict management strategies to manage issues that may arise. Encouraging diversity is progression for organizations.
Workplace diversity: How to include people of different ages
In today’s workforce, professionals are typically working longer than their predecessors, resulting in an average of four generations working together in one organization. This age diversity may be a positive trend, but for business leaders, it might be a challenge to keep every employee satisfied.
A major concern that employers have is managing a team composed of individuals ranging from 16 to 60 years of age. There are different stages in one’s career and life, therefore everyone has a different need and desire when it comes to work.
A successful business requires a diverse workforce. Research suggests that 85% of professionals globally believe an age-diverse team increases their ability to come up with innovative ideas and solutions, as well as benefiting all members of the team. As an employer, it is imperative that you promote age diversity in the workplace and ensure that all generations are included.
Identifying your employees’ career goals
It is important to understand what workers of all ages want from their careers and the workplace to engage them. On the one hand, it is possible that some employees may be looking for a higher salary, while on the other hand, others may be looking for workplace friendships, career advancement, and a positive company culture.
Discrimination based on age in the workplace
You may want to hire candidates who meet specific criteria according to the position you are hiring for. To make a business successful, it must include age diversity at all levels. Here are some reasons why this is necessary:
- It promotes innovation and creativity.
- This may assist you in better understanding clients and customers.
- Your employees can act as mentors.
- Ensure digital skills are integrated.
- Boost your employer branding.
- Foster a positive work environment.
However, experts believe that age discrimination is still a major obstacle. Employers need to be cautious of this kind of discrimination. Because it is crucial to provide a healthy and positive work environment for your employees to thrive in.
Employer branding and age diversity
Maximizing age diversity can contribute to the creation of a positive working environment. Your future workforce would be stronger with greater age diversity. In recruiting, it is important to appeal to all generations, so be aware of any unconscious bias in the hiring process. By including age diversity and emphasizing your inclusive workplace, you can improve your employer brand. So, it is a win-win situation as it will attract workers of all ages, who will fit into the organization’s culture and achieve the organization’s goals.
The importance of age diversity in the workplace cannot be overstated. It is crucial to understand employees’ career goals to keep them satisfied. By offering workplace perks, a competitive salary package, and exciting training and development opportunities, you will be able to create an appealing company culture and position yourself as an employer of choice for all age groups.
As a result, the organization will be able to produce productive and happy employees who are proud to be part of it.
Walk of privilege
Privilege walks are designed to help participants better understand privilege, diversity, and inclusion. As a result of engaging in an exercise such as this, we can recognize the hidden and varying levels of privilege beneath our public persona. Creating a more inclusive and equitable work environment requires us to learn about ourselves and about each other.
The Privilege Walk is generally conducted in person in a large open area. To respond to 16 statements read aloud, each participant lines up in a straight line and takes one step forward or backward. These statements are related to a variety of factors, including socioeconomic status, race, and upbringing. Everyone kept track of his or her own score, adding or subtracting points based on how the statement applied to the individual.
- Take a step back if you have ever been bullied or made fun of for reasons you cannot change.
- You should take a step back if you have ever been the only person of your race/gender/socioeconomic/sexual orientation in a classroom or workplace setting.
- Take one step forward if you have ever travelled outside of India.
- Take one step back if you felt uncomfortable about a joke or a statement that you overheard that may have impacted your race, ethnicity, gender, appearance, or sexual orientation but felt unsafe to confront it.
- Consider taking one step forward if you were ever offered a job because of your association with a friend or family member.
- Take one step backward if you have ever skipped a meal because there was no food available in the house.
- Take one step forward if you attended (grade) school with people that you felt were like yourself.
- Take one step backward if you have been discriminated against based on gender, ethnicity, age or sexual orientation.
- Take one step back if you have ever been passed over for a job position because of your gender, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation.
- Take one step forward if you are satisfied with how your culture is depicted in the media.
- One step forward if you have parents or guardians who attended college.
- Consider taking a step forward if you grew up in a supportive family environment.
- You should take one step forward if you are reasonably certain that you will be hired because of your skills and qualifications.
- Take a step back if you have ever attempted to gain credibility by changing your speech or mannerisms.
- Take one step forward if you attended a private school.
- Take one step backward if you have ever felt unsafe walking alone at night.
Significance of Pride Month
Rewind to 2018, the Indian Supreme Court has decriminalized homosexuality. A modest repair for the collective damage and exclusion suffered by the LGBTQIA+ community. Throughout the world, similar legislation and social changes have been implemented because of the activism and pressure presented by the LGBTQIA+ community.
As of today, many cis heterosexuals refer to themselves as “Allies” but do not understand the significance of pride month. Pride month commemorates the Stonewall riots of 1969. Among members of various gender identities and sexual orientations, a local bar which served as a place of refuge for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. In the early morning hours of June 28th, 1969, nine policemen entered the Stonewall Inn, arrested its employees for selling alcohol without a license, roughed up several of its patrons, and took several people into custody in accordance with a New York criminal statute that authorized the arrest of anyone not wearing at least three articles of gender-appropriate clothing. This was the third such raid in a short period of time on gay bars in Greenwich Village.
Instead of being mere bystanders, the customers began throwing glass, bottles, and debris, marking the beginning of the riot. It is a pivotal moment in the history of the LGBTQIA+ community and pride month.
In 1972, London celebrated the first pride month. The month of pride has always been a symbol of resistance to social and political discrimination, creating a sense of solidarity among members of the community. This year’s Pride month, which celebrated its 50th anniversary, has always provided a safe space for people to share their vulnerabilities. During this month, people are encouraged to come together and accept their identities. There is an open forum for members to discuss issues, rights, and connect with each other without having to continuously worry about prejudice and discrimination from conservative members of society.
A month-long celebration of colour, vibrancy, enthusiasm and high energy, Pride Month is celebrated every year in June, with a month-long celebration throughout the month. A variety of activities, such as music concerts and the notorious pride march, represents the acknowledgement and acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community. An alternative to the acknowledgement of the community could be to spread awareness among the cis-hetero or straight members of society with the assistance of various programs and open discussions. It is important to acknowledge the existence of the members of another community, as well as to accept the differences between the two groups in question.
The LGBTQIA+ community has achieved many milestones, however there is still a great deal of stigmatization worldwide. Poland, for example, has seen an increase in anti-LGBT legislation. The fact that multiple states in the United States have passed legislation prohibiting teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with children, as well as the upcoming generation who could potentially act as an example of acceptance and inclusion, are kept away from information with significant meaning and history.
Due to these bumps in the road, there have also been increased representations of the LGBTQIA+ community in mass media and cinema. There are television shows like Drag Race and films like Badhai Do, in which the protagonist is part of the LGBTQIA+ community within an Indian society. As an example of such representation, the journey of a police officer who identifies as gay has kept his sexual orientation hidden from his family and society due to the fear of discrimination. This community represents diversity and inclusivity at its most extreme; the continued shunning will only contribute to a potential resurgence of prejudice and discrimination facing this community.
Overcoming unconscious bias
Approximately 64% of the 3000 individuals surveyed in Deloitte’s 2019 State of Inclusion survey said that they had encountered bias at work in the past year. Most respondents believed that despite progress being made towards making organizations more inclusive, bias continues to exist. This statistic is particularly concerning since bias represents the greatest barrier to building a diverse and inclusive organization.
Therefore, it is even more critical to develop strategies to overcome unconscious bias. Understanding one’s own biases is typically the first step in overcoming biases. However, sometimes biases are so deeply ingrained that mere awareness and training may not be sufficient. Despite this, training remains the most effective way of combating biases. It is imperative that people from all levels of organizations and hierarchy undergo training to overcome their personal biases. Training events must be repeated regularly to ensure effectiveness. Through leadership action and continuous reinforcement, biases must be overcome through a change in mindset.
Despite this, since unconscious biases are deeply engrained, it is essential to examine each stage of the employee life cycle and put into place processes and procedures that will help overcome these biases. To understand how to overcome biases, let us examine each stage of the employee life cycle:
This is the first encounter with the organization that a potential employee has. Biases are a common phenomenon in the hiring process. There are many biases at play, including affinity bias, halo/horn effect, and conformity bias. Recruiting and hiring can be adversely affected by unconscious bias. A biased viewpoint can still result in unequal favoritism, regardless of how it is framed. Interviews are largely determined by first impressions and gut feelings. Unconscious bias, however, should be prevented to prevent unfair or inaccurate judgments, missed opportunities, or even discrimination.
During the development stage, everyday inclusion plays a significant role in helping a candidate to become part of the organization. The development and growth of each employee must be equally accessible. Nevertheless, equality can only be achieved with equity. Equity in everyday practices ensures that each employee can enjoy equal opportunities based on their individual needs. The provision of a work from home facility to a parent of a young child can be viewed as equity but ensuring that they are given equal opportunities for development and project implementation can also be viewed as equality. Equality and equity go hand in hand.
This step in the employee life cycle is crucial. Employees need to feel engaged on an everyday basis to be retained in the organization. Bias can take a variety of forms, including a preference for certain names and the association of certain positions with certain genders. It may seem insignificant, but unconscious bias has a negative impact on employee engagement. As a result, employees may withdraw from the discussion, not feeling safe enough to voice their opinion. Companies may experience higher turnover rates. Consequently, morale declines, company culture suffers, and recruitment and retention become more difficult.
Hiring without Unconscious Bias
When hiring, unseen bias emerges when you form an opinion about possible candidates based solely on initial impressions. This occurs when you choose one candidate over another only because the first candidate seems like someone with whom you would feel comfortable working. During the early stages of the hiring process, you could be influenced unwittingly by a candidate’s picture, their name, or their hometown more than you realize. You may make decisions based on criteria that are irrelevant to your current position due to unconscious bias.
- The following are some suggestions for making the recruitment process bias-free:
- By eliminating specific requirements based on gender, age, or ability, Job Descriptions will be bias-free.
- The organization should seek candidates from diverse institutions so that it has a wide range of talent at its disposal.
- Conduct an initial screening of resumes using blind resumes to eliminate the possibility of bias due to age, gender, ability, region, race, etc.
- Eliminate biases by using technology, such as artificial intelligence, for initial screening. Nevertheless, technology should be used prudently since data that is the primary source of AI decision-making can itself be biased from the start.
- Develop strategies for managing recruiters and hiring managers’ biases and helping them become aware of them.
- Standardize the interview process, ensure that the questions asked, or the language of the questions are neutral, for example do not inquire about the marital status of candidates
- Having a diverse panel of interviewers, rather than a single individual or a group of similar individuals, will contribute to the diversity of the hiring process.
- Another technique to eliminate biases is to use valid and reliable psychometric assessments. A psychological assessment considers only an individual’s abilities in addition to his/her gender, sexual orientation, age, etc. However, since understanding human behavior is a complex science, it is important to have these assessments interpreted by trained professionals.
Overcoming Bias in Development
To eliminate bias during development, certain factors should be considered:
- Implement a competency-based approach to development, as competency-based approaches eliminate the need for managers to make subjective decisions.
- Assessing diversity data related to learning and development to ensure that all diverse groups take advantage of learning initiatives.
- Ensure that all people have equal access to education. It is imperative to keep in mind the needs of the differently abled when designing learning interventions.
- Managers should offer mentorship and coaching opportunities to all employees. Managers are required to receive training on practicing inclusive behaviors during their day-to-day interactions with team members, which can be a slightly more challenging issue to address.
Bias-free Employee Engagement
The key to engaging employees is to ensure that all processes within the organization are inclusive. Several methods can be employed to accomplish this objective:
- To create an inclusive workplace, managers need to be extensively trained. Avoid subtle biases such as managers spending more time with team members who are the same gender.
- Employers should encourage their employees to use inclusive language and maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward bullying and harassment. It is imperative to address linguistic bias as it is the most prevalent form of bias.
- There are also employee resource groups that can be used to eliminate bias in the workplace. The groups provide a safe environment for diverse groups to discuss and share their challenges and experiences. Nevertheless, a best practice is to keep these groups open to all while maintaining a focus on a particular group of diverse individuals.
- Allyship can also be used to eliminate biases at work and ensure an inclusive environment. Having a strong network of allies makes informal interactions less biased and more inclusive. These allies are responsible for ensuring that simple exchanges at the water cooler do not exclude or degrade individuals.
- Establish a solid psychological contract. A psychological contract implies that all people will be treated equally. The contributions of individuals will be recognized without biases based on likeability or affinity.
- Make sure that policies and processes are free of bias. In the context of leave and travel policies, benefits, work from home policies, and flexibility, it is important to ensure that the diverse groups in the organization are not left out. To ensure that policies and practices are aligned with the organization’s D&I goals, D&I Champions should work closely with the business and senior leadership.
- An ongoing and continuous process is required to ensure that bias does not negatively affect employee experience. To achieve a truly biased-free workplace, it is imperative to train employees about biases and ensure that work processes and policies are bias-free.