Why does equity, diversity, and inclusion matter in the workplace?

As global, social, and economic forces continue to evolve, equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) has become a crucial element to successful management practice. Research continuously shows diversity and inclusion work in tandem with performance. Diverse and inclusive teams contribute to a better work environment for everyone as teams are more innovative, engaged, and creative.

Developing inclusive leaders is a cornerstone to modern day management that propels the EDI agenda while simultaneously strengthening their ability to attract and retain customers and talent. Inclusive leaders recognize the fundamental that what is effective to one person, may not be effective on everyone for a variety of reasons. What do the terms equity, diversity, and inclusion mean and why do they matter? Let’s start by defining the terms to develop a better understanding before diving into tips on how to implement and support equity, diversity, and inclusion in your company.

Equity is the fair and respectful treatment of all people. This involves the recognition of differences, and creation of opportunities that strive to reduce these disparities. A strong understanding of the systemic barriers faced by individuals from underrepresented groups allows managers to put in place meaningful, and impactful measures to address them. Diversity is the demographic mix of the community and the variety of unique dimensions, qualities and characteristics we all possess. Although a team may be diverse, that does not mean that it is inclusive.

Inclusion is an environment where everyone feels welcome, is treated with respect, and is able to fully participate. Ensuring that employees are valued and respected for their contributions is fundamental to achieving workplace excellence.

As an employer, how can you support a diverse workforce to foster an inclusive environment?
Equity, diversity, and inclusion considerations have quickly become integral parts of the business and management world. The business case for EDI is compelling as research recognizes diverse teams as a strength to the workforce. Diverse teams drive innovation with broader thinking and are more likely to perform better financially. Cultivating diverse talent to produce better results requires employers to focus both quantitatively and qualitatively on establishing a culture that supports their multivariate diversity where employees feel included.

Evidence and Metrics
It is challenging to identify equity, diversity, and inclusion concerns in order to bridge the gap without a full understanding of how your employees feel at the workplace. Capturing quantitative data on employee demographics allows management to better understand the internal practices to identify concerns or trends. This will ultimately help in developing or updating strategic EDI initiatives for your company. Learn more about evidence and metrics.

Unconscious Bias
Unconscious bias is defined as stereotypes, assumptions, attitudes, and beliefs about certain groups of individuals formed outside of our conscious awareness. Everyone has biases, and they lead to unintentional exclusion that is harmful for the harmony of the workplace. Unconscious bias creates barriers that can disrupt the hiring, evaluation, or promotion process of employees. Offering management tools to overcome unconscious bias such as training can work to interrupt these barriers, cultivate inclusive leaders, and improve workplace culture. Learn more about unconscious bias here and through this link.

Employee Resource Groups
Employee resource groups are a powerful tool for providing opportunities to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion through harnessing voices to support the range of perspectives and experiences of employees while fostering a sense of belonging. ERGs can provide a space for employees to safely discuss their experiences and challenges while building workplace relationships. Employers can also provide developmental opportunities to gain skills through mentorship. Learn more about establishing a successful employee resource group.

Social Listening
Social listening can be used as an approach to improve your businesses’ inclusive culture. It is the task of tracking social media platforms for mentions and conversations related to a brand or topic, then analyzing them for insights to discover opportunities to act. Through monitoring social interactions on sites such as Indeed that represent your company, you are able to better understand how your customers, or current and previous employees feel about your company to identify potential gaps and opportunities. Learn more about social listening.

In conclusion, addressing equity, diversity, and inclusion can be a daunting, but necessary task in the modern workplace. If implemented correctly, strategies not only provide strong performance and financial results, but contribute to an inclusive workplace culture that enables equity, promotes openness, and fosters belonging.

Looking for more assistance? The Job Shoppe can help organizations develop their own EDI program and assist with training their workforce. Email hr@thejobshoppe.com to lean more about how we can help.