Why Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Matters
November 9, 2021 / Corporate Wellness
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) have become mainstays in the modern workplace.
Nearly every organization has some form of a diversity program today — but why do DEI programs matter? Are they more of a must-have, or a nice-to-have? Learn more about the importance of DEI initiatives in the work world today.
Why Does DEI Matter in the Workplace?
DEI efforts impact the culture of the entire workplace, allowing employees to do their best work without being afraid of showing their true, authentic selves. Initiatives to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace have become increasingly common in recent years — especially during COVID-19, after which McKinsey explains that DEI is critical for business recovery, resilience and reimagination.
Building a culture that celebrates diversity and inclusion helps to create a high-trust, diverse company culture and workplace experience where employees can share ideas, take risks and nurture creativity. Diverse and inclusive environments also help develop compassion and understanding, both in the workplace and in society as a whole, educating employees on meaningful DEI initiatives and why they matter.
And then there’s the recruitment factor: DEI programs help employers attract and retain top talent in a highly competitive job market. Three out of four job seekers and employees report that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating opportunities. Younger generations in particular — millennials and Gen Z — expect to see a wide range of diversity and inclusion across various positions and departments in the workplace.
Marie Unger, President of Emergenetics International, says “Research shows that 67% of today’s job seekers say a diverse workforce is imperative when considering offers of employment. And we know that as younger generations come on board and become the drivers of our workforce, diversity of all kinds will become increasingly important.”
In addition to benefiting individual employees and company culture, DEI programs also offer organization-wide benefits, such as higher engagement, productivity, innovation and retention. In fact, according to the U.S. Navy Office of Strategy and Innovation, “Cognitive diversity is the DNA of innovation.”
Improving Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Despite the obvious benefits of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, there’s still room for improvement. Seventy-five percent of employees in underrepresented groups don’t feel they’ve personally benefited from their companies’ DEI programs. Those employees believe diversity is needed in at least one of the following areas:
- Ways of thinking
- Educational background
- Socioeconomic status
- Mental health
- Sexual orientation
- Physical ability
- Family status
- Body shape or size
Prioritizing diversity and inclusion in the workplace starts with company leaders and requires education, goal-setting and accountability to implement. Some steps to take include the following:
1. Invest in Diversity and Inclusion Training
Implement DEI training initiatives to educate your employees on diversity and inclusion in the workplace: what it is, why it matters, and how your organization plans to address it.
2. Set Clear Goals and Objectives for DEI
Start your DEI program with clear goals and objectives in mind, so you can track your progress over time. Consider which DEI metrics to track, such as actual diversity, productivity, morale, turnover and more.
3. Highlight DEI in Your Recruitment Efforts
Make sure to highlight your DEI program when recruiting new employees. Strategic DEI initiatives help to strengthen your employer brand and attract and retain top talent.
4. Be Aware of Any Unconscious Biases
Assess whether any unconscious biases impact your current evaluation and promotion decisions. True inclusion means offering the same opportunities to every single employee.
5. Provide Employees With DEI Resources
Arm your employees with the right DEI resources to guide your efforts. For example, a digital wellbeing platform is a great way to bring all resources together in one convenient ecosystem that your employees can easily access.
Bringing Resources Together With Homebase for Health®
You can prioritize diversity and inclusion at work with the right digital wellbeing ecosystem to bring all your organization’s health, wellbeing and culture-boosting resources together in one place, such as Virgin Pulse’s Homebase for Health®. Artificial intelligence (AI) empowers employees to own their personalized wellbeing journey, helping to create a meaningful, highly relevant experience that supports DEI efforts.
Get your copy of The Benefits of a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Organizational Culture to learn more about the importance of DEI, and how you can use your digital health platform to engage your workforce.