How employees can push for better Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace

Diversity & Inclusion benefits an entire business. It not only impacts how employees experience their day-to-day environment but performance too - ethnically diverse companies perform 33% better than the norm. Plus, according to McKinsey, companies with a gender diverse C-Suite are 21% more likely to have above average profitability and culturally diverse companies are 33% more likely to outperform on profitability. So, there is a sound business case for employees in any organization to push for policies and infrastructure that better support Diversity & Inclusion.

Workplaces are becoming more diverse

The ethnic mix of the broader population is being increasingly reflected in the workplace and this often requires a rethink when it comes to moving on from a history where that wasn’t necessarily the case. Gender mix, too, is changing although most companies are far from being an equitable space for women - although women make up around half the workforce, the median weekly earnings of full-time working women equate to just 83.1% of the same earnings paid to men. So, diversity is increasing and many workplaces need to adjust to reflect this - and to optimize the talent available to the business.

Pushing for better Diversity & Inclusion

The nature of privilege and the fact that C-suite representation of women and people of color is incredibly low means that most companies have work to do when it comes to Diversity & Inclusion. These are some of the ways in which employees can play a role in triggering that process. 

  • Ask the business to review where it is right now and set out steps that will be taken to improve Diversity & Inclusion in the present, rather than a vision for the future. Workforce representation should mirror that of the real world and most businesses need to start by reviewing how far off this they currently are.

  • Get clear on the benefits of Diversity & Inclusion. A workplace with more Diversity & Inclusion is somewhere that differences are recognized and appreciated and all employees made to feel like they belong. Does the organization see that this isn’t just a tick box exercise but a genuinely useful shift with tangible outcomes - or do perspectives need to shift?

  • Tell the company what the barriers are. If Diversity & Inclusion is poor, what are the obstacles that people feel when it comes to belonging and what changes would create an environment in which everyone feels like they belong?

  • How involved are leaders in the business? Pushing for more Diversity & Inclusion will require the support of leaders to help make change happen from the top down. More diverse leadership also has huge benefits, including 19% higher innovation revenues.

  • Dialogue is key. Diversity benefits everyone and the first step is always opening up a conversation about the challenges that people currently face so that everyone can work together to come up with a solution. 

Pushing for better Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace benefits employees and, ultimately, the entire business too. It’s something that is often easiest achieved when people at all levels start communicating more.

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