We live in a generation of freedom and inclusion, with humankind reaching its peak of tolerance and acceptance of different communities, working as one, for mutual existence. The efforts are pouring in all strata of services, making sure of a diverse workplace with inclusivity to encourage equal participation from every team member.
Diversity today is not just a PR stunt as there are ample mediums to expose an employer or an organization if it is running without the desired inclusivity. Inclusivity and diversity in the workplace also mean a positive image for a company.
Traditionally, diversity in the workplace has always been about hiring diverse individuals to promote equality. Diversity also ensures that a "few" voices do not get trampled by the opinions of "many." In essence, diversity in the workplace is hiring people with various outward characteristics, namely – race, gender, color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and a wide range of individuals with varied backgrounds.
But today, it is not that simple anymore. Hiring diverse individuals have resulted in unexpected outcomes which the employer is not exactly looking for. Business owners today want maximized outputs and, they hire an ideal employee for the post to generate maximum productivity. Would you want a guy who is working for you just because you want to check a moral tick-mark on company policies and hurt your business operations in the process? Nobody does.
Diversity should not end at the hiring process, but rather, it should be the start. Diversity is a must in determining the other factors of business activities.
Inclusivity or inclusion in the workplace is all about making the employees feel like a valued member of the company. The feeling of oneness is a must and should be applicable for everyone so that nobody feels left out in the mission. Workshops and sessions promoting diversity and inclusivity (D&I) are foolproof methods to promote workplace inclusion. The setting of D&I goals for implementation can often be the X factor that motivates employees to contribute without fear and develop a feeling of trust.
The advantage of diversity and inclusion in the workplace is manifold. They can be identified as:
Reducing conflict: A diverse workforce has the ability to understand various differences from unique standpoints, which helps to evaluate the situation better. This often reduces conflict in the team and ensures a healthy team spirit.
Confidence booster: D&I boosts the confidence of the employees to be "themselves". If you are working in a company that welcomes any idea or suggestion irrespective of your position, will you or will you not feel confident about what you do? Of course, you will.
Encourage employee engagement: Ideal D&I in the workplace is aimed to boost employees' confidence in their abilities and encourage information exchange to enhance productivity. A positive work environment helps boost the team's morale, and in the process, employee engagement.
An understanding family is a happy family.
A wider range of ideas: Larger the number of standpoints, the larger the number of ideas. The more the variations, the more in-depth will be the information and trends available for utilization. Using it to the company's advantage is an ideal course of action. D&I is the catalyst to this effect.
Employee engagement: Motivated employees will always strive to achieve more. D&I, thus, not only enlarges the resource pool but also makes sure the company has ample support to fall back on if the need arises.
Company reputation: Every employer is on the hunt for better recognition and reputation for business expansion. After all, every business person is looking for impetuses of business growth, and there is none better than a supportive D&I culture. Positive employee feedback goes a long way to building a reputation.
Reduce employee turnover: A happy employee is always ready to go the distance. Managing to keep your employees satisfied ensures that they are in for the long haul and can be stalwarts for the company in the future.
Understanding trends: A diverse workforce can bring more trends to the table and contribute to ensuring better investments. Inclusive work culture also helps to relate to a broader customer base and help you decide on your next course of action to maximize business profit.
Before the interview process: As per a Deloitte survey, 83% of millennials are inclined to continue in a workplace with ideal D&I policies.
Make sure you take a good look at the job description. Browse through multiple descriptions to get the hang of how things work in the company in regards to diversity and inclusion.
Online research: Do thorough online research of the company you are applying to. Look for reviews and feedback of clients and ex-employees and see what they have to say about the company. Valuable insight can also be gained if you visit the company website and check the photos and videos posted in the gallery.
Talk to the company's employees: Search the company's employees and reach out to them to gather information about the company's policies. You do not want to join a firm and then regret it because it does not have a policy or scope of what you thought they had. Ask them why they left and if it was their fault or on the management's part or not. Be thorough with your research.
Research company's core values: A company's policies reverberate the core values it holds. D&I is a sensitive issue, and today, almost all employers are positively inclined to maintain a satisfied workforce. The absence of such steps or policies should ring the warning bells!
Reach out to connections: Reach out to people who have heard of the company or know the company's policies and get an overview of the company policies. Do not jump the ship blindfolded.
Check employee benefits: While you are at it, do not forget to check the employee benefits. A D&I integrated workplace will not treat you and someone from another country any differently. If you find out that the employee benefits are uniform, irrespective of race, gender, or religion, you have stumbled upon an inclusive workplace. Signs like parental leave for both parents, senior care, flexible work schedules, etc., are other indicators of equality in the organization.
Read the job posting language: Read the job posting language and tonality, and if it is asking for any specific roles related to sex, race, gender, or class. Retrace immediately if so. Nobody likes working around in a place where the recognition depends on the outward qualities of an employee.
Investigate leadership breakdown: Since 2017, an excess of 900 US CEOs have pledged to inculcate more diversity and inclusion in the workplaces. Some of these companies include Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Proctor & Gamble, and others. Surprisingly, only 7% of 500 Fortune CEOs are female, and less than 1% are colored.
Thus, before finalizing your decision, research the leadership breakdown and scope for future growth. Better to be safe than sorry.
Read the news: Be in the loop. Read the news and be aware of the happenings in and around you. Reading news on the company and its activities can also give an idea of how fairly things are run.
Identify who the company works with: Identifying who the company associates with is also an ideal process to identify company values and policies. A company like Google will surely not partner with a shoddy firm that has no credibility.
You can also check if the company associates itself with NGOs which fight for LGBQ+ communities, women empowerment, or child labor. It would imply that the management relates to society and aims to positively impact the globe, as a whole.
Check out the company website: Check the company website and go through its services and about us page. Notice any irregularities in the website's information and what could be found on other websites from the employees. If things do not add up, you should start reconsidering.
Go through their social media: check the company's social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., and go through their photos. Photos speak volumes of what truly exists. If it indeed is a place that supports D&I, the photos would more than suffice for you to conclude on its values. It's cardinal to sit for an interview without relevant social media research on the company.
Check their benefits: always check the benefits the company provides. An ideal company would provide benefits like religious holidays, comprehensive family care, adoption assistance, and even mental health support. These are the signs of a mutually inclusive and understanding employee-employer relationship.
Check online lists and employee review websites: Check job posting websites for reviews on the company and go through what ex and present employees have to speak about their company. It can give you a vivid description of how things work inside the organization.
Diversity – the art of thinking independently together. – Malcolm Forbes
Crucial stats reflecting workforce inclusivity
Ask questions during your interview: While an interview is about fathoming your skills relevant to the organization, it is also an opportunity for you to gauge your possible workplace environment. Do not shy away from inquiring about the policies and values of the company. Exposure to what you will get into can be the fine margin on the outcome in your career path.
You can also opt for interview prep courses to beef up your resume.
To ensure you do not end up on the wrong side of the tunnel, you can test the waters by asking these questions:
Observe during the interview: It can significantly help if you have keen eyes for observation. Be intent and purposeful in your mannerism. Paying close attention to what the interviewer is saying and if it is tallying with your research should be your intention.
See if their workplace is visibly diverse: Eyes never lie. A tell-tale sign of diversity and inclusion in the workplace is an inclusive and diverse workforce. A sneak peek will tell you much more than what your interviewer will.
You feel welcome at the interview: If a company welcomes you and makes you feel comfortable, it is your clue that employees are respected at the workplace. You can further understand what you can come across in the organization with how the interviewer and the company treat you.
They value your opinion and ideas: Just beating the drum about diversity in the workplace doesn't make the cut. Hiring is, of course, the first step. However, you also need to observe if your ideas and contributions receive recognition and are listened to. Repetitive rejection and dismissal of your ideas is a sign of an oppressive work environment. Open-mindedness is the key to the execution of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Employees are happy and engaged: One eminent give-away of ideal work diversity is employee behavior and tolerance. If you receive a warm welcome or friendly greetings, it indicates a high employee satisfaction rate. Employees thrive in a responsive and supportive environment and should be on your check-list when you are thinking of a switch or if you are fresher.
Vocal about inclusivity: Is the management vocal about inclusivity in the workplace inside the organization as much as outside? It is a red sign if there is a diplomatic tone whenever inclusivity and diversity are in question. To avoid such confusion or regrettable decisions, you can check the company website for yourself if the company associates with actions which it speaks of in its words.
Work diversity training sessions: An organization's dedication to inclusion and diversity is also streamlined if they include sessions on diversity and inclusion in the workplace in their training curriculum to give a clear picture of the company's stance in such matters.
Here are some companies which actively participate and make persistent efforts in promoting and ensuring an inclusive workplace.
If you, too, are looking for an inclusive work opportunity to take a step up in your life, remember that it begins with you – possibly the best piece of career advice you'll get today.