What is Diversity & Inclusion?

In honor of AAPI Heritage Month and all heritage celebrations, learn why diversity and inclusion is important and how an inclusive culture can attract diverse talent.
Marleigh at SmartGift
May 27th 2021May 27, 2021

One lesson that businesses and employers learned in 2020 was the need to have more diversity, equality, and inclusion efforts. By recognizing their unconscious bias, workplaces saw how outdated hiring practices and homogeneous teams appeared to the outside world. As industry leaders used their voice to express concerns, HR departments and hiring managers began to overturn and rewrite the old ways.

Through research conducted by A Great Place to Work, their report pointed to one big issue for talent retention, that also impacts how a workplace attracts new hires.

When employees don’t feel that their ideas, presence or contributions are truly valued or taken seriously by their organization, they will eventually leave.

When taking on a position at a new job, employees expect that everyone in the workplace will be treated fairly, regardless of their age, sex, gender expression, race, heritage, sexual orientation, religion, etc. When this expectation is met, workplaces see higher revenue growth, a willingness to innovate, and a larger recruiting pool.

But what does diversity and inclusion in the workplace actually mean? And what are the best practices and strategies behind creating a more inclusive culture?

Understanding Key Definitions

Our co-founder and CEO speaks to the importance and the main areas of focus for creating diversity and inclusion efforts.

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace leads to diverse modes of thinking and doing that contribute to more holistic and compelling innovation. It’s not only important to pursue D&I at the initial stage of hiring, but to create an E2E lifecycle of engagement throughout the work journey. Recognition of all is essential to foster culture, trust, and greater business outcomes, said Monika Kochhar.

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To begin, here are the definitions of diversity and inclusion, according to Global Diversity Practice.

Diversity is any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another. Diversity allows for the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It means understanding one another by surpassing simple tolerance to ensure people truly value their differences.

Inclusion is an organizational effort and practice, in which different groups or individuals having different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted and welcomed, and treated equally. Inclusion is a sense of belonging and people feel a level of supportive energy and commitment from others so that they can do their best at work.

Diversity & Inclusion Best Practices

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After understanding what these definitions truly mean to the employee experience, a work environment should introduce a proper employee communication strategy and focus on company culture. Some of the best practices for inclusion strategies to start with include:

  • Writing a company diversity and inclusion statement and sharing it with all stakeholders.

  • Scheduling diversity and inclusion training for the whole company and all employees.

  • Reworking job descriptions or job listings to use more equality focused language.

  • Restructuring recruitment strategies to build more diverse teams.

  • Promoting flexibility, collaboration, innovation, fairness, and belonging through company values.

    Need help getting started? Here is a diversity and inclusion statement example from Indeed.

"Indeed’s mission is to help people get jobs. To achieve this, we put jobseekers and companies who use Indeed at the heart of everything we do. In 2019, we declared the kind of culture we want to have and the values that are important to us."

"These values are: put jobseekers first, pay for performance, innovation, data-driven, and inclusion & belonging – which translates to creating an environment where everyone can bring their authentic selves to work and make it easy for others to do the same. We are committed to advancing, cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity, inclusion and belonging because it makes us a stronger, more successful company, and because it directly aligns with our mission to help all people get jobs."

How to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

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Once a company has taken the first steps to make D&I strategies a fixture of the work environment, it is also pivotal to bring fun and creative expression into the office. Especially for employees who are leading and shaping the efforts to make a company more welcoming and diverse, it can be taxing emotionally and mentally.

Make room for celebrations and learning opportunities for people to share and express themselves in a safe space by:

  • Have welcome calls or meetings for every new hire. This allows employees time to socialize and introduce themselves in a casual and low-pressure environment.

  • Encourage employees to plan time to share about their differences through education and recognition. For example, Nasa hosted a Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration that included videos and internal/external events for employees and ex-employees to share their stories.

  • Offer up to date resources and opportunities for employees to continue to grow and learn. Create a digital guidebook or organize a web portal that can be easily accessed and updated with new information.

  • Be mindful of employees' preferences and observances. An example of this is making sure there are vegan or gluten-free snack options in the breakroom or knowing the details of someone's religious observations.

    The Results

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From a comprehensive list of even more diversity and inclusion statistics, consider visiting smarp or reading The Forbes Insight Survey.

  • According to BuiltIn, diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee.
  • According to Boston Consulting Group, diverse management boosts revenue by 19%.
  • According to McKinsey & Company, gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same.
  • According to Deloitte, inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80% in team-based assessments.
  • According to Glassdoor, 67% of active and passive job seekers said that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.