In today’s rapidly shifting business world, it’s leaders’ responsibility to ensure every employee feels valued, heard, and respected. More than ever, it’s clear that commitment to cultivating a rich and diverse workforce is the key for driving resilient business growth. Companies, therefore, must promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace and prioritize their unique opportunities for underrepresented groups.
Through this, diverse groups will become more empowered to leave their imprint, and teams will foster success. In fact, companies with an inclusive workforce report having 35% higher financial returns than national averages. The desire to tap into rich talent by enforcing the protection, promotion, and advocacy of all types of people in business must permeate the whole organizational corporate culture.
What sets any organization apart as a great place to work is a people-first approach. In the workplace, do we feel empowered to voice our opinions? Do we feel supported in taking risks and sharing ideas? In a diverse workforce, the answer to all of these should be yes if businesses seek to reap the rewards of it. With various cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs working collaboratively and closely together, a unique opportunity for increased creativity and innovation exists because of the commingling of a range of perspectives. Diverse workforces are more likely to think differently and tackle complex challenges from different angles. This will support teams in anticipating alternative and unexpected viewpoints and being challenged on their opinions, enabling them to find more workable solutions to problems in the workplace.
By bringing their unique qualities to the table, employees help the business and the community grow stronger and more successful. Being exposed to different ways of thinking broadens our traditional cognitive patterns and fosters innovative thinking. Ultimately, this will support business growth, resilience, and expansion.
Inclusivity Increases Business Success
Businesses must commit to incorporating DE&I practices into the fabric of their operations to bring about substantial resilience. To establish sustainable leadership, the process should begin with an evaluation of the talent pipeline. Merely hiring diverse candidates isn’t a solution and won’t drive success; businesses and their leaders need to focus on making employees feel valued and equip them with the necessary support, training, and opportunities to realize their full potential. Focusing on hiring diverse candidates isn’t enough; businesses need to embed DE&I practices completely into their culture to ensure business success.
Equal opportunities and a work culture of supportive excellence nurture people to be assets for the company and advocate the brand values to strengthen relationships with other employees, clients, end customers, prospects, and all stakeholders.
Developing a Future Workforce
Alongside a focus on DE&I initiatives, businesses should emphasize learning and skill enhancement to grow with its people to provide opportunity. This should be incorporated into every action, from new employees’ being given the chance to upskill and develop their potential to reach the next level to leaders being equipped with the skills and competencies to manage the business and its diverse population.
Through initiatives such as training opportunities, mentorship programs, and access to cutting-edge resources, which allow flexibility, you’ll create a diverse workforce that’s agile, adaptable, and ready to thrive in an ever-changing business landscape, regardless of culture or background.
To encourage change and drive resilience, businesses must cultivate a systematic approach toward diversity and take bolder steps to strengthen inclusion, which, by the way, comes naturally to all of us.
The Power of Remote Work
The new hybrid work culture presents exciting opportunities for organizations, and it’s a means to provide equal opportunities. Not only does remote work provide a healthier work/life balance, which can boost retention, but it also provides more flexibility for those who have familial commitments, such as new parents, caregivers, or pregnant women. This additionally provides an easily accessible open door to those who have taken career breaks to delve back into work or who never got an opportunity to explore their talent and put their qualifications to use. Notably, a catalyst report found that women with childcare needs are 32% less likely to leave their job if they can work remotely.
Adopting a hybrid working model supports DE&I strategy because it promotes choice, autonomy, and flexibility. By providing an effective work-from-anywhere or flexible-work-hours model, employees can create a work schedule that meets their needs without jeopardizing their opportunities for growth and development. This also allows the workforce to spend more time with people they love, avoid unnecessary and time-consuming commutes, and reduce their carbon footprint.
Next-gen remote working platforms are also revolutionizing the way companies support dispersed workforces while keeping employees connected and engaged, as well as how they use technology to train them. Through this, they can provide support tools, coaching, and career advancement opportunities. Business leaders must prioritize this human-centred approach and harness remote working as a way to produce a highly engaged and diverse work environment. This will help boost employee satisfaction and retention and pave the way for resilient business growth.
Embracing Every Individual
It’s important for businesses to demonstrate how they empower their employees to attract top talent from these groups. Companies can show their commitment to empowering the LGBTQIA+ community by creating a culture in which every gender is welcomed and accepted—for example, by installing gender-neutral bathrooms or planning awareness campaigns during Pride month. By promoting authenticity, these employees will feel empowered and provide fresh perspectives on how to interact with LGBTQIA+ consumers, expanding your outreach and potential client base.
Furthermore, differently abled people often struggle to find workplaces that can facilitate their specific needs. However, businesses are now redefining recruitment by offering more inclusive initiatives and policies to make work life easier. Offering a hybrid working model also helps alleviate complications with mobility, as it enables differently abled people to work from their home. Businesses must be enthusiastic about embracing exceptional talents and committed to recruiting individuals with disabilities, whether visible or not, with the goal of integrating them into the mainstream workforce and amplifying their voices.
Through striving to be a force of good with these kinds of initiatives, workplaces can fuel business growth, as Forbes reveals that diverse workforces deliver 60% better results and make better decisions in 87% of cases.
Retaining and Engaging All Talent
Transformative DEI initiatives are now what sets businesses apart from others. By proudly championing equal opportunities and supporting minorities, business leaders can foster a diverse and inclusive workforce where everyone can thrive. Inclusivity and robust development programs instill a sense of purpose and growth in all employees. To further drive business growth and resilience, it’s essential to continuously raise the bar, providing a fulfilling work experience that ignites a fierce passion to succeed in every employee.
The business DNA must be rooted in the culture of DE&I to leverage the true power of diverse talents, skills, and abilities. People from all genders, LGBTQIA+ communities, individuals with disabilities, various ethnicities, new parents, and veterans can all be empowered to thrive through a business’s DE&I program.
It’s important to create a foundation for a work culture that harnesses the richness of our differences to drive innovation, strengthen customer and employee relationships, and elevate the company’s performance to new heights.
Puja Bhatia is the Executive Vice President, L&D and DEI, at Teleperformance India.