Diversity and inclusion are two words you likely hear in today’s corporate world. Many organizations have started to focus on diversity and inclusion in relation to their mission, vision, and team composition. Why the shift of focus? It is becoming clear that teams that value diversity can experience great reward. For starters, team members begin to feel valued and more comfortable. Working relationships become stronger which leads to more cohesive teams. Each of these workplace improvements can result in the output of higher-level and more successful work. This article will discuss the basics of diversity and inclusion in the workplace as well as some key benefits diverse teams experience.
What exactly is diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
Diversity in the workplace refers to the understanding, respecting, and valuing of the differences each person brings to the team. These differences include a person’s age, gender, race, ethnicity, disabilities, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs. Diversity also refers to the differences in personalities, education, experiences, and skills.
Inclusion in the workplace refers to an environment that is supportive, respectful, and collaborative. An organization that harbors a culture of inclusion encourages collaboration, participation, and contribution from each and every team member.
Together diversity and inclusion in the workplace refer to the mission an organization creates, the actions it takes, and the strategies it turns to practice, to support a diverse workplace.
How does a culture of diversity and inclusion help create a great team?
- Increased Engagement and Cohesion
When individuals form working relationships with people who are different from themselves they are exposed to different beliefs and mindsets. This exposure leads to a broader worldview and can help people break free of bias’s they have formed throughout their lifetime. Such relationships broaden team members’ thoughts and allow for open and interesting conversation. Team members begin to value the unique perspective that each person brings to the table and this leads to increased engagement and cohesion among the team.
- Diverse Ideas
Brainstorming with diverse crowds can lead to extremely unique, creative, and innovative ideas. Ideas that likely would have not been brought to light if the team was composed of individuals with all the same beliefs, upbringing, education, and professional experiences. Valuing diversity within the composition of your team and your workplace will diversify the thoughts and ideas your team brings to life. What’s the true benefit of more creative thinking? More creative and higher-level work which leads to increased profits. Diverse teams are more likely to relate to your unique client base, understand their needs, and develop innovative solutions for them.
- Increased Morale and Retention
If team members know that their organization values diversity then they are more likely to be comfortable bringing their whole self to the workplace, regardless of their religion, sexuality, or race. Creating an environment of inclusion shows team members that they are valued, accepted and appreciated for their unique perspectives. This focus can lead team members to feel more fulfilled, accepted, and loyal to the organization. Such loyalty can increase retention and reduce the expenses associated with turnover.
How do I get started?
If you are Intrigued by the impactful rewards that teams experience when they focus on diversity, I encourage you to take a moment to analyze your current team dynamics. Is your team diverse? How so? Does your team value diversity? Is so, how do you demonstrate that you value diversity? What are some steps you can take to increase inclusion and collaboration? Once you understand your current situation you can create an action plan to move forward. Include your team in the process and move forward together!