Unlock the full potential of your organization by embracing people's differences through diversity and inclusion practices. Discover how cultivating a culture of inclusivity can drive innovation, foster creativity, and empower your team to achieve remarkable results. Let's explore the incredible benefits that await your organization on the journey toward greater inclusiveness.
What is all this talk about diversity and inclusion?
Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.
At its heart, diversity and inclusion are about creating an environment that welcomes our differences. It is an environment where people feel comfortable expressing different views and where people have different views. It's about inspiring different voices to speak up so that you have a diversity of views and ideas on any topic. Diversity is not just about race and sexual orientation but also considers gender, age, ability, socio-economic background, etc. If everyone in your organization looks the same, comes from the same backgrounds and shares similar viewpoints, you are most likely in an echo chamber and not benefitting from diversity and inclusion practices.
Why should I practice more diversity and inclusion?
Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.
Obviously, there are now some legal measures and requirements in place, but your organization will benefit by adopting an environment of diversity and inclusion. As Stephen Covey says, your organization will become stronger by celebrating the differences and welcoming them. Having differences helps us work through ideas and make them even better. If you live in an echo chamber where everyone in your organization agrees, you miss the opportunity to refine your ideas. If everyone is like you and thinks the same as you, they will agree with you and support your ideas. They won't question them or challenge you to improve them. By inviting a difference of opinion, and people to question your status quo, you improve the quality and amount of your ideas so that you will find better solutions.
The key area you will see this improvement in your organization is that diversity practices will spark innovation because you will have more different viewpoints and ideas than you would have if you were surrounded by yes men in an echo chamber. Innovation is essential to stay competitive in the market. You need to constantly come with new ideas for the changing ever-changing environment and any problems you face. By creating an environment where you welcome ideas and people feel safe expressing your ideas even if they are different from yours, you will encourage people to come up with more ideas and spark innovation which will help your organization continue to grow and be competitive no matter what challenges you may face in the future.
Creating an environment of diversity and inclusion also makes employees feel like they belong, and a sense of belonging increases engagement. By showing people that their ideas are welcome and that all different types of people are welcome, your people will be engaged and dedicated to supporting your organization. Engaged employees also mean higher retention rates, saving your organization the cost of hiring and training replacements.
How to create an environment of diversity and inclusion
1 Look at who's in your organization
Your first step to make sure that you are creating an environment of diversity and inclusion is to look at who is already in your organization. Are you all from the same so she economic background? Are you all the same gender? Are you all the same race? Are you all around the same age? Do you all have similar religious beliefs? Do you all have similar abilities?
2 Consider ways you can diversify your organization
Start with all of your promotional materials to make sure you aren't being exclusive in who you represent publicly. In your imagery and language, make sure you are open to different genders, ages, abilities, races, etc.
If no one in your organization represents different groups, then try to find some colleagues outside of your organization to review your materials. You want to make sure that your language isn't making assumptions that exclude people or turn people off. You want to show that you are encouraging different ideas and all types of people.
3. Take time to listen to your people's ideas.
Even if you aren't diverse, you can create an environment where different ideas are welcome and encourage people to talk. You want them to feel safe, expressing their opinions even if their ideas are opposed to yours. One thing you can do is purposely go around and ask people questions. You can try a listening tour and setting up a routine of regular one-on-one check-ins with your people. Be careful to watch your language, tone, and body language when people open up. We often turn on our defenses when we feel we are being criticized, but we want to remain open and curious to encourage people to share differing views which will help our organizations in the long run.
Summarize what they will do and what benefits it will bring
List of Questions
Download my free list of questions that can encourage your people to open up and for you to learn to celebrate differences and help all your people feel included.