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Diversity And Inclusion: A Complete Guide For HR Professionals | Ideal


Diversity and inclusion in the workplace (D&I) is a term you’ve probably heard several times by now. The concept has continued to gain traction in the corporate world as its benefits have become increasingly clear.

Josh Bersin, leading industry analyst and researcher, calls diversity and inclusion one of the hottest topics of these few years. He has said that it is “not an HR program, but a business strategy. It is true that the “needle is driven by HR”; however, it is not enough for it to be solely an HR program.

Companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers.
– Josh Bersin

With Salesforce’s pledge to achieve workplace equality through its recent appointment of its first Chief Equality Officer, Tony Prophet, and its diversity initiatives in more than 75% of Fortune 1000 companies, his prediction is coming true. The issue stems from the fact that 70% of companies believe they are effective at attracting and retaining diverse employees, yet only 11% actually understand what it is.

To help you achieve this competitive advantage, I’ve created this beginner’s guide for HR on definitions, best practices, and strategies for workplace diversity and inclusion. Keep reading to find out more.

What is diversity in the workplace?

Workplace diversity is understanding, accepting, and valuing differences between people including those:

Interestingly, according to this report by Deloitte, it is revealed that diversity is perceived differently by generations. Millennials view workplace diversity as the combining of different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, and they believe taking advantage of these differences is what leads to innovation. 

Gen Xers and Boomers, on the other hand, view workplace diversity as equal and fair representation regardless of demographics without necessarily considering diversity’s relationship with business results. Diversity and inclusion are more than buzzwords, and need to be taken seriously and understood in the workplace.

What is inclusion?

Inclusion in the workplace is a collaborative, supportive, and respectful environment that increases the participation and contribution of all employees. As a matter of fact, true inclusion removes all barriers, discrimination, and intolerance. When applied properly in the workplace, it is natural for everyone to feel included and supported. 

What is diversity and inclusion?

Diversity and inclusion is a company’s mission, strategies, and practices to support a diverse workplace and leverage the effects of diversity to achieve a competitive business advantage. Companies that create diverse and inclusive work environments are more adaptable, creative, and become magnets that attract top talent.

Diversity and inclusion priorities

A survey by Forbes Insights of more than 300 senior executives – 32% who were in HR or talent management – found their companies’ diversity and inclusion priorities include:

65% of senior executives believe the responsibility for implementing diversity and inclusion programs falls on HR, while 45% say it’s the responsibility of senior leaders within a business unit or division.

56% of the companies surveyed strongly agree that diversity helps drive innovation. It’s clear that they believe this innovation advantage is achieved through their ability to attract and recruit diverse talent.

Diversity and inclusion best practices

A survey of 330 HR executives by Professor Roberson found that diversity and inclusion best practices include:

The interesting thing to note is that employees perceive their company as diverse and inclusive based on practices that aren’t even directly related to diversity such as a focus on innovation and creativity.

Instead, these best practices are ones that are desired by everyone in the workplace.

Diversity and inclusion strategies

Some of the key diversity and inclusion strategies of Bersin by Deloitte’s diversity and Inclusion framework and other research include the following:

Diversity and Inclusion is a top-to-bottom business strategy – not just an HR program.

Diversity and inclusion success metrics

The Forbes Insights survey found that 60% of companies have metrics in place to measure the success of their diversity and inclusion efforts.

If we couldn’t measure the impact of our diversity and inclusion efforts and programs, it would be a hard sell among company executives.
– Huey Wilson, SVP HR & Diversity Board Member, Mattel

The most popular success metrics are:

Senior executives are being held accountable for their diversity and inclusion programs performance through:

The takeaways

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is an essential business practice that high-performing companies prioritize — building environments that help their employees thrive.

In conclusion, If you’re able to implement at least a few of the strategies outlined above, you’ll be giving yourself one of today’s biggest competitive advantages. 

Somen is the Co-Founder & CEO of Ideal. Prior to Ideal, Somen served as Co-Founder & CEO of Field ID until it was successfully acquired by Master Lock LLC (a subsidiary of NYSE:FBHS) in December 2012. Somen’s leadership has helped earn Field ID a spot on the Profit Hot 50 and Deloitte Fast 50 Companies-to-Watch lists. In 2012, Somen was named winner of the Ontario Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the “Emerging Entrepreneur” category.
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