What Is Diversity & Inclusion? (And How To Increase It in the Workplace)
According to Engage for Good, two kinds of diversity are valued in corporate culture: 1) identity diversity (race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) and 2) cognitive diversity (knowledge, experience, etc.). And while it might be easy to say that both of these types of diversity are equal to one another, it turns out that identity diversity has a greater impact on company culture and engagement.
In this article, we will discuss the many benefits of diversity & inclusion, as well as how to boost diversity & inclusion through a robust corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.
What is Diversity & Inclusion?
Diversity & inclusion is an institutional approach of promoting a range of human differences (diversity) as well as an acceptance and/or celebration of those differences (inclusion).
Many corporations, schools, and government bodies have diversity & inclusion programs, not only to significantly represent and show support for minorities and marginalized groups, but also because these programs have been statistically proven to be beneficial to team dynamics and productivity — especially in the business world.
Benefits of Diversity & Inclusion in Corporate Culture
A diverse, inclusive corporate culture provides more than just a superficial boost to a company’s public image. There is an overwhelming amount of data that shows how diversity & inclusion improves a company’s revenue, innovation, engagement, and employee happiness.
Here are a few diversity & inclusion statistics:
- Revenue increases by 19% in companies that have more diverse management teams.
- US corporations that are most ethnically and racially diverse are 35% more likely to have financial returns compared to the national median.
- Companies with more gender diversity outperform their competitors by 15%.
- Employees who feel included, and who believe their company “is committed to and supportive of diversity,” increase their ability to innovate by 83%.
- Diverse and inclusive businesses are nearly twice as likely to be innovation leaders in their market.
- Inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80% in team-based assessments.
- Inclusive companies are nearly 4 times more likely to be able to solve personnel problems and coach people for improved performance, and nearly 3 times more likely to identify and build leaders.
- 67% of job seekers prioritize more diverse companies when considering job offers.
- A Fortune 500 company’s philanthropy increases by $2.3 million annually each time a woman is added to its board of directors.
How to Improve Diversity & Inclusion at Work
Step 1: Before making any changes, it is important for company leaders to assess the culture of their workplace. Some questions leaders should ask themselves and their team are:
- Is our team diverse?
- Do employees feel safe and supported to voice their thoughts?
- Are biased employment practices present?
- Are there biases among the leaders?
Step 2: Be aware of (and employ!) the many opportunities to promote diversity & inclusion in day-to-day culture, such as:
- recommending team members from marginalized backgrounds for stretch assignments that will allow their skill set to grow
- ensuring that, during recruitment, the interview panel is diverse
- using gender-neutral language in the office
Step 3: Combine diversity & inclusion efforts with the existing corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. This creates an employee-driven social impact culture that allows team members to:
- bring their whole selves to work
- support causes they identify with
- see that their employer knows and cares about their identity and values
- learn about communities/identities that are different from their own
Full-Potential: Combining Diversity & Inclusion with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
With Visit.org, a company that helps businesses improve diversity & inclusion through CSR, employees are not limited to generic, company-mandated volunteer experiences. Instead, on Visit.org‘s one-stop-shop platform, employees have the opportunity to choose and engage in meaningful activities that support communities they care about, including LGBTQ+, immigrants, women, and more.
Some highlights of the Visit.org platform:
- Employees can browse through a global inventory of thousands of team-building and volunteer activities — all of which reinvested 100% of host revenue into a nonprofit’s social impact mission.
- Users are empowered to voice their opinions through reviews of the activities they join, as well as through suggestions of organizations/causes they want to add to the platform.
- HR and CSR leaders have access to their team’s analytics, helping them acquire a data-based understanding of what communities employees care about and want to engage with.
Companies who want to prioritize diversity & inclusion can get the most out of their efforts by folding them into their CSR program. Not only will employees feel seen, valued, and more engaged, but the company will reap benefits, and the community will be impacted in a lasting, positive way as well.