Diversity, equity, and inclusion (often referred to in shorthand as DE&I or DEI) are major buzzwords in the business world these days, and for good reason. Study after study shows that valuing employees for their differences and including different perspectives in your workforce drives progress both in your organization and beyond.
Team building, productivity, profitability — it’s all tied to employee engagement and satisfaction, and DEI plays a major role in determining whether your workforce works for you, or not at all.
Diversity and inclusion are first and foremost beneficial to your workforce. A study from Michigan State University found companies that embraced their employees’ differences made those employees feel more psychologically safe. Knowing that diversity is welcomed rather than feared allows team members to feel free to be themselves, and that freedom can mean more openness in expressing ideas, taking professional risks, collaborating without hesitation, and an overall more positive performance.
But there are also enormous benefits for your organization. Companies that are more inclusive are 1.7 times more likely to be leaders in innovation. Researchers say that’s due to the varying perspectives, mindsets, and experiences that come with a diverse workforce. When gender diversity extends to the executive team, organizations are 25% more likely to have higher-than-average profitability, too.
Finally, inclusive teams make decisions twice as fast and those decisions tend to be better for business about 87% of the time. The ability to drive progress at a faster rate without sacrificing quality decision-making is practically priceless.
One of the major hurdles that prevent organizations from fully embracing or acting on diversity and inclusion training and initiatives is that DEI requires a certain level of vulnerability, and that vulnerability starts at the top. Leaders must be willing and able to come forward and admit their own knowledge gaps and past mistakes.
It takes patience to tackle the complexities of diversity and inclusion and to examine personal and professional failings on an intimate level. Many DEI-related topics such as racism, religion, slavery, privilege, and unconscious bias are emotionally charged and difficult to discuss without risking dissension and hurt feelings. That’s when an objective third party can come in handy to act as a moderator and facilitate open, less judgmental discussions.
Many people, supervisors especially, conflate vulnerability and weakness. To be open or to admit you’ve erred is to appear weak, and weak leaders are rarely successful — at least that’s the narrative commonly seen. But a leader who is able to recognize their strengths and turn potential weaknesses into opportunities to model change and embrace a better, more progressive perspective could be just what an organization and workforce need to reach the next level of success.
Sometimes inclusivity and diversity are difficult to achieve or even fully understand without a helping hand. Boost morale and increase productivity with KeepWOL’s team-building solution. Book a demo and find out how we can help you maximize cultural intelligence while encouraging team bonding.