Inclusion matters. Whether it’s the faces in the board room or in the team building your website, statistics show that a variety of a backgrounds on your team can make it more creative, more effective, and in turn, more profitable. And who doesn’t love profit?
A study from McKinsey and Company* shows that when there is diversity included in a board, in either sex or race, profitability of the organization goes up anywhere from 15% to 36%. In fact, the more diversity that is included in said boards and decision-making teams, the MORE profitable and overachieving these companies are.
However, inclusion is still slow on the uptick in many countries and industries, while some have even fallen behind – and the gap continues to grow between the adopters and those lagging. What these studies asked through social listening was how people felt about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and the results were interesting.
While people felt relatively positive about more people of different backgrounds being hired, inclusion was another story. It wasn’t because of racism, ageism or any other discriminatory practice by the lateral-level employees, however. It was because the culture was not in place for these diverse people to thrive. This was gauged in three areas: equality, openness, and belonging. Equality was defined by fairness in opportunity. Openness was to transparently discuss and mold the right environment and be heard. Belonging was where people felt they could bring their entire selves to work and be respected, though their clothes, cultures and colors may be different.
The answer to ensuring a diverse workforce can feel welcomed and heard was resoundingly through innovation and accountability of those in charge. If leadership massaged their approach to maternity leave being more compassionate to mothers, employees could feel more understood. Floating holidays could be offered to accommodate different lifestyles. Translation services or training in various languages could be offered to those for whom English is not their first language. Even offering a vegetarian option at business functions can make someone feel more welcome and part of the team.
The road to a culture of inclusion can be difficult and with various obstacles, especially within a very large company. But when it comes to employees’ productivity, creativity, satisfaction and loyalty, it is a road that must be actively and thoughtfully paved by us all.