As an HR professional you may be challenged with the task of developing a diversity and inclusion initiative program. According to research by McKinsey, it is found that companies that lag in diversity and inclusion pay a performance penalty of 27% when it comes to profitability.
We have evaluated D&I programs and statistics from McKinsey, IMPACT, and others develop a path to creating a successful and lasting D&I program.
Why are D&I Initiatives Vital Now?
There is one true and constant fact, the world is always changing. World demographics have drastically changed with the Millennials and Gen Z. These two generations are larger than the baby boomers and more diverse.
According to the Glassdoor Diversity Hiring Survey, if organizations and recruiters want to attract Millennials and Generation Z, they will have to have a diverse workforce with inclusion initiatives. In addition, companies that embrace this requirement are likely to see better-than-average profits — about 33%.
What are Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives?
Diversity and inclusion initiatives are the policies, programs, and efforts made by an organization to build and maintain a workforce and environment wherein all are treated without bias and have equal opportunities for advancement.
Diversity refers to the differences of a population. These differences include race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs. Inclusion is the acceptance of a person into the populace. When looking at Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, HR professionals should look beyond the numbers and delve deep into their culture and policies.
Benefits and ROI of D&I
Your executive team may be wondering what the return on investment and benefits are for diversity and inclusion initiatives. Companies that invest in D&I programs see increases in the following:
- Innovation: Companies that have a diverse workforce see an increase in innovations. The collective of various ideas opens space for creativity. Team members of diverse backgrounds maximize brainstorming efforts because their life experiences, education, and perspectives differ.
- Profitability: In a report by McKinsey & Co., diverse companies were 25% more likely to see above-average profitability.
- Performance: In the same report, those companies that increased gender diversity were 25% more likely to outperform those who did not; and those that increased ethnic diversity were 36% more likely to outperform those who failed to do so.
- Client relationships: Consumers and clients are more likely to do business with companies that share their ideals and demographics. Who is better to understand your customers than someone who looks and believes like them?
- Employee engagement: Employees that work in organizations with robust and consistent D&I initiatives are happier, more engaged, and share a greater buy-in.
Diversity and Inclusion initiatives maximize recruiting and employee retention dollars by creating an environment that all employees feel a sense of value and opportunity. D&I efforts allow employees to have equal space to share their ideas, take on new challenges, have fair compensation and advancement. In return, they are more likely to stay with the company and increase in production. This reflects in revenue, innovations, and overall company culture.
Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Strategies
There is not a one size fits all answer to D&I. Human Resource professionals and executives have to implement those initiatives that fit their individual organization’s goals. Here are a some strategies that have shown success:
- Getting every level of the company involved: Successful D&I initiatives are those that are incorporated into every level of organization. It is one thing to have policies in place in theory, but for them to become part of the culture, executives, HR, and all employees have to do their part to actively practice and encourage compliance. One great way to accomplish this is to have each department collect a census of ideas from each member to bring to a retreat where they are discussed. A game plan can be developed, and simulations performed to test their practicality.
- Recognition of inherent bias: It is not the intention of an organization to be biased in its hiring, team selection, and promotion practices. Yet, there still exists inherent biases from avoiding certain names because they are stereotypically associated with an undesired trait. Another example is writing job descriptions or promotion requirements that are tailored more to one group than another. It is the duty of HR professionals to recognize and remove these inherent biases to open the door to a diverse workforce.
- Listening objectively to your workforce: Pay attention to the sentiments of your workforce in the availability of opportunities, freedom of creativity and taking on of more demanding projects, representation within the organization (especially on the executive level), salary satisfaction, etc. If the general sentiment among the various demographics is that there are barriers or inequalities in these areas, it may be time for a review of your organization’s practices. It would be even more beneficial for your less recognized or represented employees to recommend ideas on how they think these issues could be solved…