Welcome to the first blog in our summer series “Be the Change: Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace!” Over the next eight weeks, we will be discussing diversity and inclusion (D&I) and how you can prioritize and practice it in the workplace. Before diving too deep, we wanted to kick-off with building a strong foundation on what exactly diversity and inclusion mean and why they are important to your small (but growing) business. Let’s start with clarifying a basic D&I meaning.
Diversity – Diversity refers to the makeup of your company. Diversity is looking at the differences between us. It means recognizing our different backgrounds and what makes us unique such as race, gender, age, or abilities. There is also an invisible side to diversity. Invisible diversity includes characteristics you can’t physically see or identify such as military status, neurodiversity, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status just to name a few.
Inclusion – Inclusion describes the extent to which each person on your team feels welcomed, respected, supported, and valued. Simply hiring a physically diverse team does not equal inclusion. A company could focus all its energy on hiring minorities and women but unless they also look at their current culture and practices, these new hires may feel unwelcomed and unsupported.
Diversity is looking at the differences between us.
Inclusion describes how you feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued.
Now that we have a solid D&I meaning…
Why does it matter to your company?
If a new hire does not feel comfortable, they will leave. Hence, leaving you with one less team member and a high turnover rate. According to a Glassdoor study, 67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering employment opportunities. Today’s workforce and candidate pool prioritizes D&I. If you want to find and retain top talent, you should too!
Ensuring you create and foster a diverse and inclusive workplace does more than just help you find and keep talent. Research shows that diversity increases productivity in the workplace and therefore increases profitability. When we have more diverse teams, there are more diverse perspectives to create new and innovative ideas.
D&I initiatives can often seem unattainable to small businesses because we often envision them as large events packed with big-name guest speakers. You likely understand that such grand initiatives are unrealistic for most start-ups as they often like the time and budget.
There are many steps we can take to become a more diverse and inclusive workplace without large-scale initiatives. It starts by putting D&I at the forefront of all of your workplace practices and policies. When you are intentional with how you frame your employee handbook and consistently hold employees accountable you are ensuring your organization is rooted in D&I. You are also establishing confidence within your team members that you share and are committed to recognizing their values.
Are you ready to grow your business’s D&I initiatives? Subscribe to our email list to get notified every time we post a new blog in our #BeTheChange summer series!
To learn more about our summer series, visit our campaign announcement here.