Diversity in the Workplace: Using Current Events to Fuel Organizational Change and Improvement

Written by Michael Riall

August 24, 2020

Inclusivity and diversity is a topic no longer shied away from in the news. Similarly, it should no longer be shied away from in business. In addition to recent studies showing that profitability is directly linked to an organization’s level of diversity, specifically, when it comes to leadership—the longevity and versatility of a business is also related to how diverse it is.

  • Is diversity something you’ve addressed with both your executive team and your employees?
  • Does your organization’s corporate culture and policies address and support diversity and inclusivity?
  • Have you readdressed these issues if your organization has gone through changes, such as relying more on automation or working remotely?

With attention being called to these topics, it allows organizations to not only check their performance when it comes to diversity and inclusivity but also supplies momentum for positive change and improvements to be made.

Why Addressing These Issues is Important

One of the basics of change, and something a lot of us have heard over and over again in our lives is “be the change you want to see,” or “change starts from the top down.”

These sayings are based on a psychological phenomenon called mirroring, or unconsciously imitating the behavior or attitude of others. From being more likely to laugh when we see others laugh, to being helped over the finish line by encouragement, our own behavior is heavily influenced by that of those around us.

Therefore, when and how an organization addresses diversity and inclusivity can have a major impact on both its employees and organizational health.

When looking at addressing these issues alongside the current accelerated need for humanity in the workplace, a topic covered in WCI’s Future of Work eBook:

“From a business perspective, investing in more humanity in the workplace will resonate with customers, employees, and partners. It will help with retaining and attracting perspective talent and building a positive and productive work environment.

More importantly, when companies care about their people, manages the impact change has on them and offers the support those people need, it builds a better, more sustainable organization. It allows the organization to have a positive impact outside of their business as well.”

Here we get to the crux of why addressing diversity and inclusivity at work is important from a business perspective.

In a workplace environment that has employees seeking more humanity, having leadership that not only acknowledges these issues and their impact on an organization, but takes up the mantle of advocating diversity and inclusion—you create a space where employees feel supported, safe, and can be more productive.

You add to the health and happiness of your business.

Turning Headlines into Improvements

Diversity and inclusivity are issues that are not going to go away and deserve to be addressed. Dealing with them appropriately now will help future-proof your business.

Use that momentum. Educate yourself and your leadership team or teams about this topic. Open up clear and positive communication around diversity and inclusivity. Be respectful. As a starting point, along with the questions from the first section of this blog:

  • How diverse and inclusive is your business?
    • Is policy and procedure coming from diverse and inclusive leadership teams, professionals, thought leadership, etc.?
  • What does your hiring process look like?
  • What does your network of partners, vendors, etc. look like?
  • Is the responsibility for improving diversity and inclusivity spread evenly throughout your organization?
  • Do you have programs and practical measures to support diversity and inclusion?
    • Policy and corporate culture needs to be more than just words.
  • Do your employees actually feel seen, heard, and supported, particularly through change?
  • Are you addressing gaps and following up on negative and positive behavior and attitudes in a way that will achieve the change you want to see in your organization?

It’s not an easy topic to tackle, but it’s important. For those looking to turn headlines on diversity and inclusion into improvement, start with the basics, and get help when it’s needed.

If your business needs help navigating the future of work, please contact us.