Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Diverse woman working together in an office.

What employers can do to bake D&I into their company culture

A diverse and inclusive workforce is more than just policy, headcount, or programs. It is a company’s living culture that matches talent with corporate values and strategy. It is a workplace where employees can show up and thrive in their work because they’re authentic and relaxed in their unique identity. Research shows that Diversity and Inclusion have tangible benefits including better products, higher revenues, increased profitability, and enhanced employee retention. So what is D&I? Let’s break it down. Diversity and Inclusion are two separate and independent ideas, equally important, but deeply connected.

Diversity references the representation of different backgrounds be it gender, race, religion, nationality, education, military experience, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, and more. A diverse workforce means that there is a variety of different identities in the leadership and employee population. Diversity brings uniqueness in perspectives, ways of thinking, and ideas that ultimately expand a group’s ability to problem solve and accomplish goals.

Inclusion refers to the feeling that people have as a group participant. Do they feel included? Do they feel like they can show up as their authentic selves? Do they feel like they can contribute ideas without judgment? These are all questions that gauge inclusiveness. Inclusion means that all employees feel involved, valued, respected, and empowered. The perceived fair treatment of all individuals is critical to an inclusive company.

Baking Diversity & Inclusion into company culture starts with recruiting and staffing. Matching talent with corporate values and strategy is the formula for success, so it’s important to specify early that D&I is a value.

Five Ways to Jumpstart a Diversity & Inclusion Initiative

  1. Start with leadership. Ensure that the senior leaders of the company are a diverse panel. Diverse leadership groups tend to set the tone for the rest of the company. A diverse leadership group that acts inclusively with each other cultivates the culture and attitude for the rest of the company.
  2. Seek unique recruiting channels such as HBCUs and other diverse networks. International communities are a great resource for staffing and sourcing pipelines.
  3. Have recruiting candidates interviewed by a diverse group of interviewers. Getting feedback from a female interviewer or someone at a different level (manager, non-manager) can garner valuable and holistic insight.
  4. Track D&I by leveraging employee engagement software. Measure diversity in the company. Get employee feedback on a recurring basis.
  5. Create a Diversity & Inclusion task force or committee. This group should include members of the senior leadership to promote employee resource groups, activities, events, and cohesion.

Great company cultures are diverse and inclusive from the top down. People who are excited to show up each day perform at their best and produce great work. Employees are incentivized by their leadership, and a diverse leadership sets the tone and leads by example. We hope this was helpful in understanding the importance of Diversity and Inclusion. At SMART Staffing Group, Inc., we are a Minority and Woman-Owned business ourselves. We’ve served the Hudson Valley region since 2014 helping people of diverse backgrounds find rewarding positions and inclusive workplaces for holistic growth.