The Two Sides of a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace

posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 in Grow Cedar Valley

Will Frost
Authored by Will Frost, Grow Cedar Valley Director of Talent Development

There has been a lot of discussions surrounding the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce. These thoughts are often followed by a business case, of some sort, revealing these efforts aren't just the right thing to do, but they are also good for business. The intention behind this logic is healthy and its justification well-accepted; then why do we still have workplaces that are culturally homologous?

What are separating companies that are doing it well from those that struggle to even find a diverse pool of applicants? What are they doing differently and, how can you do it?

If you are asking yourself this question, you're in luck! I'm going to give you the answer to this million-dollar question for the low, low cost of 3-5 minutes of your time!

It starts with a paradigm shift and adjusting the very premise of the question above.

Is it that diverse companies are more productive, or that more productive companies tend to be more diverse?

These are the two sides of the same coin and the side you identify with will determine your actions. Those actions will ultimately determine your results.

If creating a culture of inclusion, supported with adequate resources, is not the crux of your efforts, you will fail before you start. But, be careful not to confuse being inclusive with being exclusive.

For example, if you poll your workforce and everyone reports feeling welcomed, valued, and included, however, everyone has the same backgrounds. You didn't create an inclusive environment; you created a clique.

What does success look like?

Our globally connected world, even with COVID-19, teaches us that highly productive organizations are diverse and inclusive.

This is because a great amount of value is placed on collective intelligence which requires the input of a multitude of ideas, experiences, and perspectives. To obtain this a diversity of people is needed. Companies that are doing it right are constantly assessing who's missing and then adjusting accordingly.

You must value collective intelligence, is imperative and it is life. Imagine if your body only used the nutrients it has today with nothing new coming in. How long will it take before you are no more? You cannot value collective intelligence without valuing diversity. And, you cannot maintain diversity without a culture of inclusion.

Every company should have a heart-to-heart with itself and ask the question, "Do we value diversity?". For this to work, everyone needs to be completely honest and transparent. The answer just might be no. Companies should not be ashamed of this reality either because the system was designed to be homologous.

To pull all of this together, being diverse and inclusive is an outcome driven by action.

To learn more, explore resources and organizations that support businesses looking to focus on diversity & inclusion.