It’s 2018… Does your business celebrate diversity & inclusion?

We live in an interesting era where despite the advancement of globalisation and technology, we still come across or hear from bigots daily; including some of our politicians to the everyday people. We all know how dangerous this can be to our society as it divides the community. What about in the workplace? If our workplaces were operating with that sort mentality, no doubt there will be a lot of conflict amongst employees, let alone the discrimination cases going through the roof for employers. Research shows organisations that are more committed to increasing their diversity and inclusion reap the rewards with an increase in creative thinking, problem solving and having more collaborative teams.

What is workplace diversity & inclusion?

When the words ‘workplace diversity’ get thrown around, most people will automatically assume it’s ethnicity and gender. In fact, it’s a lot more than that! Workplace diversity refers to a variety of differences between employees in an organisation. This can be age, race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, disability, education and even up to personality. Inclusiveness on the other hand is when diversity is encouraged, and employers enable the participation of everyone regardless of the differences. This is when everyone feel empowered, involved and respected for who they are. 

Benefits of workplace diversity & inclusion

At CPM Australia, we are committed in providing a diverse and inclusive workplace where all our employees are valued and recognised for their unique qualities, ideas and perspectives. We recruit and retain a diverse pool of people as we know how it brings about different benefits to our business, as well as all our employees in Australia and New Zealand.

We understand how workplace diversity and inclusion brings about employee engagement, which then leads to several other benefits;

  • Employee Engagement – When employees can explore diversity and learn from each other’s experiences, lifestyle and culture, they automatically build a trusting relationship with one another which in return leads to an increase in employee engagement.
  • Increase in productivity – We all know with employee engagement comes increase in productivity as employees will work better as a team with the trust they build over time. Diversity can also bring different talents and skillset together to work towards a common goal. This does not only offer competitive advantage for the business, but it also allows its employees to learn from each other’s experiences and apply to their work.
  • Innovation – With an increase in productivity and employees learning from each other’s experiences, no doubt fresh ideas will be born! Fresh ideas coupled with unique way of thinking, problem solving, qualifications and work/life experiences creates innovation.  
  • Increase in candidate attraction and employee retention – Most people thrive being part of an innovative society. Let’s face it, we all know of that one person who wouldn’t mind camping outside a store for the night to be the first person to get their hands on a new smartphone. The same applies in today’s workplaces. Employees want to be part of innovative organisations; therefore, they will do everything in their power to set foot in those sorts of businesses. This allows businesses to have a wider pool of candidates to select from and holding onto their high performers a lot longer.
  • Increase in customer service, sales and profitability – No doubt selecting the most suitable candidates and keeping them in the business a lot longer has multiple benefits. Clients will receive better service, which will lead to increase in sales, revenue and profitability. With greater profitability, employees will be better rewarded which will help businesses remain competitive.
  • Greater company reputation – When clients receive better customer service experience and employees rave on about their employer, no doubt the news will spread (especially in an era where everything can be found at the tip of the finger). This will no doubt lead to greater company reputation.

Designing a diverse and inclusive workplace

If HR are intending to broaden the workplace diversity and inclusion activities, I suggest they start with the leaders within their business. It is crucial to have them onboard to support their initiatives. Next, workplace policies and practices must be designed to ensure that diversity and inclusiveness become part of the norm within the business. This will also need to be communicated to all staff through training and awareness programs. All staff members (and management in particular) need to be supported/guided as it’s not always easy shifting mindsets to how we have been taught. Remember, thoughts will turn into actions and actions will in time create workplace culture.

As Stephen Covey once said, “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities”. Therefore, for a better future, let’s embrace the differences and support a diverse and inclusive workforce!

 

This article is prepared to only provide general information about the topic. It is not intended to be used as advice in any way.

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