The difference between diversity and inclusion?
It’s a lot like the difference between merely throwing a party for a wide range of people – and getting them to really mingle with one another once they’ve arrived.
A truly inclusive workplace culture requires more than a commitment to diversity (although that’s certainly essential). It goes beyond basic representation (i.e., hiring people who are diverse in terms of gender, socioeconomic status, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, abilities and more) by creating a climate in which equity, mutual respect and celebration of differences are the norm.
And if achieving this type of environment in your Middle Tennessee business sounds like a tall order, that’s because it is. But it’s absolutely achievable with a sound plan! Use these ideas to make sure your diverse employees aren’t “wallflowers” – by nurturing an inclusive culture that strengthens your entire organization:
Lead by example.
Employees will take cues from your behavior. Make sure that you and all the managers in your business set the bar high when it comes to inclusiveness:
- Show a genuine interest in, and respect for, others’ beliefs, backgrounds, cultures, interests and more.
- Send the message (both in writing and in deed) that your organization does more than just tolerate diversity – but truly appreciates it!
Extoll the benefits.
Explain to your employees all of the benefits inclusiveness creates, including those from this Deloitte University Press article:
- Accessing exceptional talent. High performers of all kinds seek out inclusive companies, where they’re confident they will “fit” into the work environment.
- Driving performance and innovation. Inclusive organizations reap the benefits of fresh ideas, healthy debate and smarter decision-making – all of which enhance performance and innovation.
- Retaining key employees. Employers that don’t make inclusion a priority risk alienating or excluding employees. Not surprisingly, these individuals are more likely to leave for another employer where they feel they will fit in better.
- Understanding customers. Most industries stand to benefit from the breadth of experience, perspective and ideas only diverse employees can offer.
Prioritize the right actions.
Your organization can accelerate the pursuit of inclusiveness by focusing on actions such as these:
- Cultivate champions at all levels in your business – from the front lines to the corner office – to ensure that your initiatives are consistently executed.
- Strategically manage talent acquisition and development from the top, to achieve a more diverse leadership balance. Over time, the benefits of diverse leadership will trickle down and through the organization.
- Recognize and reward employees for modeling inclusive behavior and fostering an environment of acceptance, respect and flexibility.
Wood Personnel understands and promotes the value of diversity in the workplace. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer in Middle Tennessee, helping all job seekers achieve their personal and professional goals.