Diversity and Inclusion is an area which many organizations are focusing on and has become a trending topic that is pertinent to maintain competitive advantage in this growing global economy. Diversity exists in many forms with race, gender, generation, sexual orientation and disability status being the majorly referenced forms. The lack of diversity in an organization may not have immediate negative impact but it hinders growth in the long run and prevents the organization from reaching its maximum potential. This is due to the lack of different perspectives and small range of innovative ideas in the limited employee pool.
Diversity Issues at the Workplace
Stagnation is one of the issues that organizations are facing today and the lack of diversity in their internal talent pool is one of the major reasons for this lack of growth. This has also extended into the industry since most organizations that share the same industry, have very similar recruitment practices. This leads to a mere exchange of talent that share similar perspectives and similar skills and competencies. Research shows that any organization that has recruited more than 30% of its employees through internal referrals faces a diversity issue and will face stagnation at some point, whether they acknowledge the issue or not.
The other issue with lack of diversity is that members of minorities that are already a part of the workforce do not feel adequately represented and included. Focusing on diversity hiring enables these existing members to feel more included and largely improves employee experience.
Diversity and inclusion have proven to go hand in hand and the maximum benefits of one cannot be reaped without implementing the other. In fact, working to create an effective diversity strategy without giving equal importance to inclusion may cause more issues at the workplace than those that existed previously.
Many corporate organizations work on diversity strategies just to avoid compliance issues and potential legal liability. Treating diversity expansion as a chore, leads to inclusion issues that have led to high attrition rates and a negative impact on the company branding. Another prevalent issue is the generational gap and how baby boomers are less accepting of millennial talent than they are of members from their own generation. This was a global issue that was discovered in the early 2000s and still exists although many organizations have taken steps to reduce the gap in practices and preferences of the generations.
Diversity also depends on the geographic location and the needs of the specific industry. Diversity, when forced, does not achieve result in growth. South Korea for example is a highly homogenous society, in terms of race, whereas the US is a highly diverse society. Pushing racial diversity in South Korea would lead to multiple issues in inclusion even though the organization invests highly in inclusion programs, whereas pushing racial diversity in the US is pertinent to social and economic growth. Pragmatically, the kind of diversity to be focused on should be proportional to their population statistics. This explains why gender diversity is an area that is still under progress and it will continue to be until the industry statistics reflect the social statistics.
Diversity is a complex area that leads to issues when it is scarce and leads to greater challenges if not implemented with care. The will to change and a follow-up inclusion strategy will lead to the success of a well drafted diversity plan.