Diversity & Inclusion? In the workplace?
Every year, companies invest thousands of dollars on implementing diversity/inclusion programs within their teams. The reason: diversity & inclusion builds stronger teams, with better problem-solving skills, resiliency, and empathy. According to Josh Bersin’s research, inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be leaders at their own market, able to solve problems faster, and enjoy a strong list of benefits of a more diverse workplace.
We believe that diversity and inclusion are key elements in the growth of organizations in the 21st century. And although some companies are diversifying for pinkwashing, LGBT+ washing and their own (greedy) good -womp womp- we must admit that it also has a direct impact on the workplace, the humans that form it and their mental health.
But anyways. For honest, ethical companies who want to fuck up the corporate system for the better and nasty, greedy companies who want to implement diversity for colour washing, the $1000 question remains the same: how do we start the implementation? Let’s kick off with the basics:
What is Diversity anyway?
It’s having different “types” of people on your team. A “Diverse” team includes individuals from different social-economic backgrounds, nationalities, ethnicity, races, sexual orientations, gender identity, educational backgrounds, etc. It gives organizations the power of different perspectives on the same subjects.
4 types of diversity can be identified:
- Internal: These belong to individuals, and cannot be changed. Examples could be: ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical/mental abilities, etc
- External: These don’t belong to us and we cannot (or it’s difficult) to change them. For example: education (quality), appearance, nationality, location, socioeconomic status, life experiences (the opportunity to have them), etc.
- Organizational: Also called “Functional Diversity”, and refers to the positions held inside a company by a diverse group of people. Examples are: Job title and payscale, management/employee status, seniority, etc.
- Worldview: This refers to how we see the world, our perspectives on certain matters and how we approach beliefs, etc: Examples: political beliefs, moral compass, outlook on life, epistemology, etc.
Now, what is Inclusion?
Inclusion is to give each member of the team the chance to play a role, express an opinion, participate actively and have access to company resources.
In a football team, diversity will mean having different “types” of people in your team, and inclusion will mean passing the ball to each team member so that everyone has the chance to play.
Why do companies commonly want to be more diverse and inclusive?
There are several reasons why diversity and inclusion are important for companies. Understanding this can help to easily embed diversity/inclusion into a clearer goal and better approach. Here are some common reasons why companies want to become more diverse/inclusive:
- Law: In some countries, it is a legal requirement to hire a certain percentage of staff from minority groups. The requirement differs between countries and others even forbid the so-called “diversity quota” and take a different approach to promoting diversity in companies.
- Morals: Sometimes business owners seek a more inclusive/diverse working environment due to their personal beliefs (kudos to them!). They want to contribute to a more accessible working environment for everyone and, ergo hire individuals from minority groups to contribute to a global impact/movement.
- Clients: This is when companies have a global customer service or want to have a presence worldwide and “connect” with different clients. Having a more diverse team will allow you to connect with a broader audience.
- Workforce: Having a diverse workforce will mean having different perspectives on the same issues within a company. This will impact your problem-solving skills as a company, and enhance your team’s initiatives and thought-provoking ideas. A team with the same defined characteristics (gender, socioeconomic status, etc) can blindside your company’s peripheral vision, and compromise the ability to see problems from different perspectives.
How to create diversity/inclusion in your company?
Each company has a different approach to implementing diversity/inclusion. Just like human DNA, it’s unique in every case, there are different approaches in every company, but here are some common practices:
- Identify the reason why you want to be more diverse/inclusive: This will give you a clear goal of what you want to accomplish. Do you want to reach out to a broader audience or improve your team’s problem-solving skills?
- What’s your current status?: If you’re looking to build for a more diverse team, look at your current team and take those numbers as your starting point. If your team is 80% men and 20% women, maybe you’re looking for a more gender-diverse team. Do you want to reach a broader audience? Then maybe check how many nationalities you have within your team, and start from there.
- You can use your team’s professional network to start your pool of candidates: If you’re looking to diversify the group in terms of nationalities, your team may already have connections, ask them for recommendations.
- Evaluate how many opportunities some team members have compared to others: their conditions at work, and their overall status in the company. Start creating open and safe spaces to increase participation. This will also mean re-structuring your company so everyone has the opportunity to grow, participate and learn.
When diversifying a team, there are two important aspects we should keep in mind: First, that when diversifying a team, you add other worldviews to the mix, these will inevitably change the team from what it is today, expect and be prepared for this transformation. Second, that when going through this process, we must acknowledge that every person is unique, and they don’t represent a whole nationality, sexual orientation, social status, etc. When diversifying the risk of labelling people arises, and this must be avoided.
Whatever approach you have, make sure you have a clear goal and process. Also, make sure you involve team members in open discussions around the subject of diversity and inclusion. Training and workshops can also help to lay the foundations of diversity/inclusion in your company.
Community and Operations Coordinator at Fuckup Nights
Norman oversees all operations & financials of the global movement. He’s also in charge of implementing powerful management tools to improve the experience of all fuckuppers globally. He loves photography, theater & movies. Also, learning something new, travelling, and tasting new and interesting food.