It can be overwhelming deciding the best course of action to take to take to nurture diversity and inclusion at your organization. It doesn’t have to be that way. To build more diverse and inclusive organizations, you need to understand the employee experience—how people from all backgrounds feel about their workplace.
Many companies working towards building a more diverse workforce focus narrowly on recruiting, but when a company fails at being inclusive, employees from particular backgrounds are unlikely to advance at the same rates and are more likely to leave. These patterns will ultimately make it much harder to hire employees from underrepresented groups in the future. So how do we change this?
Didier Elzinga—founder and CEO of Culture Amp—says, “Many people believe hiring a diverse staff is enough. But the truth is there’s another step: inclusion. Having diverse employees also means having a wide range of perspectives on your workplace. Unless you actively try to understand how each individual experiences work, it’s unlikely your organization will be diverse and inclusive.”
A new survey on inclusion provides insights to help companies better understand the differing experiences of employees across demographics. The Inclusion Survey was developed by data analysts from Culture Amp and social scientists at Paradigm, with input from industry leaders..
Key findings from the survey include:
- Concepts of diversity and inclusion are experienced differently amongst people of different backgrounds. Often these disparities in sentiment are large and in ways we might expect.
- A group’s low representation (at the workplace) can have a strong impact on how the group perceives the organization’s diversity—but not always in the way we’d expect.
- For groups with significant representation, inclusion becomes more of a prominent concern than diversity.
- The definition of a diverse and inclusive organization is elusive, as people value different things. Often people from the same minority group have similar ideas on diverse and inclusive organizations to one another, and different ideas from people from another minority group.
“When we assume that all employees feel like they belong at an organization, we forget a key aspect of diversity: each individual is different. If your culture doesn’t embrace employees’ uniqueness, they won’t feel like they can be their true selves,” says Elzinga.
It is undeniable that having workforces that are diverse and inclusive is crucial. Diverse and inclusive workforces make better decisions, are more productive, and make for more successful organizations. Yet our current understanding of the mechanisms of diversity and inclusion make it difficult to develop a single effective approach.
“Just as each employee is different, so must be every inclusion strategy. The key to creating an environment where everyone feels like they belong is to learn about your workforce. Find out what your employees need from you to feel comfortable and valuable to the organization,” adds Elzinga.
For more information on this survey, or to learn new approaches for inclusion, click here.