Before delving into the importance of inclusion and diversity in companies, these two terms should be defined exactly, based on the premise that managing diversity in an inclusive manner helps to ensure discrimination-free environments by making it possible to break down inequalities linked to labels.
Diversity refers to the variety of characteristics, ways of thinking, skills and abilities of each individual worker and takes into account what each employee, as a unique and unrepeatable human being, offers to his or her respective team.
Inclusion refers to the effective integration and active participation of staff members, considering the uniqueness of their characteristics, skills, abilities or experiences as a window of opportunity with which to make better decisions and thus help create value for the business.
Benefits of inclusion and diversity in companies
Inclusion fosters collaborative and productive environments that help reduce discrimination by promoting respectful and fair work environments.
Diversity allows for a greater degree of creativity and increases the possibilities for problem solving since the different backgrounds and experiences of heterogeneous groups of people can provide a greater variety of answers.
Business environments that value inclusion and diversity are often considered fairer and more equitable, as mentioned above, thus increasing the likelihood that employees will feel at ease, which can increase productivity.
This high level of employee satisfaction also serves to reduce potential conflicts through collaboration and loyalty.
It also improves corporate image and reputation. Indirectly related to this issue, the fact of having diverse teams can also serve as a preventive barrier against possible future reputational crises by providing a wide variety of views that minimize the chances of incurring in discriminatory messages that clash with any of the different realities present in society.
There may even be a component of differentiation as there are a large number of people who try to avoid developing their professional careers in places that do not promote inclusion and diversity.
How to promote inclusion and diversity in companies
When analyzing whether an organization is truly inclusive and diverse, managers can ask themselves some questions, such as whether the same profiles abound in the workforce (so there would be no diversity) or whether recruitment processes are truly inclusive.
Some issues that can be taken into account to promote this inclusion and diversity are:
- Adequately communicate inclusion policies with a double objective: to increase the degree of knowledge about them, but also to raise awareness about them.
- Related precisely to the above, training through workshops or talks on these issues to keep the workforce informed about the different initiatives of the company.
- Organize inclusion programs to offer job opportunities to people from vulnerable groups or with some type of functional diversity.
- Including change agents who may belong to different minorities in different areas can be useful to have different perspectives and avoid biases.
- Sharing employee testimonials as a strategy both to highlight the inclusion of the workforce and even to attract new employees by offering candidates different perspectives on how the company works.
- Positive discrimination, although it is true that it is a measure that can be controversial, some companies resort to this possibility as the only way to change certain inertias.
Thus, on the basis of respect and acceptance of differences, through inclusive practices, companies can offer their staff the possibility of enjoying different cultures and lifestyles, as well as encouraging dialogue on different issues.