The Need for Investing in Minority Inclusion Within the Workplace

Nowadays, a majority of businesses operating within the economy understand the need for a diverse workforce. Additionally, many companies pride themselves on their commitment to diversity. However, despite the fact that many companies have taken measures to increase workplace diversity, many assume that diversity and inclusion are two sides of the same coin – leaving their diverse workforce to be unheard and thus not included. Diversity and inclusion cannot thrive without one another.

Diversity in the workplace is the array of differences and similarities that make each employee unique. Some of these differences and similarities are visible, and some invisible. Korn Ferry, an international executive search and recruiting firm, assert that there are six categories that comprise an individual’s diverse being: relational, occupational, societal, cognitive, physical and values.

With diversity, but no inclusion, your minority employees remain unheard; their true business potential untapped; and your workplace remains an atmosphere of toxicity whereas employees cannot express their true selves. In a recent study published in the Harvard Business Review, researchers found that minority employees who had inclusive managers were “1.3 times more likely to feel that their innovative potential is unlocked.” When employees felt that they were able to be their true selves at work, results showed that they were 42 percent less likely to say they intend to leave their job within a year. Additionally, lower rates of employee turnover and higher rates of diversity and inclusion translate to a higher sales output, according to an article recently published in the academic journal, “Journal of Management.”

How can you make your business more diverse and inclusive? Below are some of the commonly utilized efforts taken by companies:

  • Learn about the cultural backgrounds, lives and interests of employees outside of the workplace. Building relationships through increased understanding and trust helps to foster inclusion.
  • Include opportunities for staff to interact in settings outside of work so that employees feel more comfortable. Be creative, flexible and look for new ways of doing things.
  • Ensure all employees have the opportunity to take part in decision-making and planning in the workplace.
  • Organize diversity and inclusion training orientations within the workplace.
  • Recognize and acknowledge special days and events such as International Day of Persons with Disabilities (Dec. 3), International Day to End Racism, Gay Pride celebrations (June), etc.
  • Do not assume the sex, gender, sexual identity, faith, age, ethnicity, etc. of others.
  • Pay close attention to the implicit biases that your language may convey.
  • Create multicultural calendars to avoid scheduling important meetings and events on major cultural holidays. Permit flexible schedules so that employees who observe religious practices can arrange their schedules around their beliefs. Consider offering a floating holiday for employees to use at their discretion to observe such events or days.
  • Acknowledge all faiths.

There is an essential need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Is your company or business diverse and inclusive? Are you unlocking the true potential of all of your employees?


Author: Hoss Brown, Graduate Consultant 

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