In today's increasingly complex, globalised world, diversity and inclusion have become more important than ever. Simply talking about diversity and inclusion is not enough - organisations must actively embrace and embed it into their core values.
In this article, we will discuss diversity and inclusion, what it really is, why it is important, and how to embrace diversity and inclusion.
What is Diversity and Inclusion?
Before we explain what diversity and inclusion is, let's be clear about what it is not. Diversity and inclusion is not a collection of buzzwords or slogans you paste on office walls and promote through advertisements. It is not a quota to ensure you have a balanced representation of genders.
Diversity and inclusion occurs when people are treated equitably and feel included, respected and valued, regardless of their age, cognition, ethnicity, gender, personality or sexual orientation.
Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important?
There can be no doubt... Organisations that embrace diversity and inclusion perform better in so many areas, including:
Increased Creativity & Innovation: Diverse backgrounds, experiences and personalities can lead to more creative and innovative ideas.
Better Decision Making: Diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives can help to provide a more holistic approach to decision making.
Better Problem Solving: Diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives can help spark new ideas and approaches to problem-solving.
Increased Morale & Retention: People are more likely to feel engaged and committed when they feel heard, respected and valued.
Attracting Top Talent: Organisations that embrace diversity and inclusion are more likely to attract talent because of their reputation.
Investment Reputation: Organisations that embrace diversity and inclusion are seen more favourably by investors.
It's the right thing to do!
How to be a diverse and inclusive leader
Diverse and inclusive leaders treat people equitably and create an environment where they feel included, respected and valued, regardless of their age, cognition, ethnicity, gender, personality or sexual orientation.
Be Self-Aware: Reflect on your biases and how they influence your thoughts and decisions and take steps to mitigate them.
Educate Yourself: Take the time to better understand diversity and inclusion issues and the challenges faced by unrepresented groups.
Lead by Example: It starts with you role modelling what inclusive behaviour looks like and being clear about what it doesn't look like.
Give Everyone a Voice: Create opportunities for people to share their thoughts and ideas in a safe space.
Encourage Collaboration: Create opportunities for people to work together on projects and cross-functional teams.
Encourage Sharing & Debating: Foster a culture of open dialogue where ideas and perspectives can be shared and debated.
Foster a Culture of Diversity & Inclusion: Create opportunities for people to better understand and appreciate one another.
Build Diverse Teams: Make an effort to build diverse teams by recruiting candidates from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
Diversity and inclusion is no longer a nice to have. It's a must have. Leaders that genuinely embrace the power of diversity and inclusion, will unlock the full potential of their people and organisation.