Conversations surrounding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) have taken center stage in recent years, with many employees holding business leaders accountable for implementing initiatives that promote DEI in the workplace. In fact, 57% of employees wish to see their company increase diversity, while 80% of the current workforce note that they value diverse employee populations.
Diversity in the workplace refers to a workplace environment comprised of employees with varying characteristics, such as sex, gender, race, age, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Equity in the workplace means everyone receives fair treatment, from equal access to growth opportunities to standards for consequences. Inclusion puts it all into motion, going beyond simply hiring employees of differing characteristics and holding all employees to the same standards, but placing an emphasis on the involvement of all employees, ensuring everyone feels a sense of belonging in the workplace and how to communicate and work together to achieve the company’s goals.
Now that the terms have been defined, Work Shield is rounding out three questions that employees should consider when reflecting on their organization’s DEI efforts.
- Is my workplace made up of diverse people?
Workplaces comprised of diverse employees statistically yield more engaged and productive workers. For example, 83% of millennials are more likely to be actively engaged if they believe their company values a diverse and inclusive culture. Furthermore, a recent study concluded that around 70% of diverse companies are better positioned to capture new markets. Additionally, diverse and inclusive teams that include a wide variety of ages and geographical locations were found to make better decisions 87% of the time.
- Does my company culture foster an environment where employees are heard?
Aside from blanket policies stated in a company’s handbook, it is important for employers to have access to actionable steps, programs and initiatives that create an environment where all employees feel safe to report discrimination or other issues within the workplace. Cultivating a culture of respect and trust is among the top five most important contributors to employee satisfaction, according to a survey by SHRM.
- Does my employer celebrate and value diverse people and ideas?
Does your employer exhibit effective ways of promoting different opinions, backgrounds and perspectives that make up your workplace? Employers should celebrate activities that are inclusive of a multitude of cultural backgrounds, including ethnically-diverse holidays and observances, as well as participation in organizations that support minorities. Furthermore, ask yourself how your employer responds to cultural issues in the world. Does your company issue statements? If so, employees should analyze the action items being put in place to address the issues and work towards an inclusive workplace.
These questions are only the beginning of what should prompt reflection of your workplace culture. Employees should regularly ask themselves how their company is performing in regard to diversity, equity and inclusion, and what more can be done. Once the shortcomings are identified, challenge yourself to bring ideas for improvement in these areas to your employer.
About Jennifer PopeJennifer is the Co-Founder of Work Shield, the only start-to-finish workplace harassment and discrimination reporting, investigation and resolution solution that protects employees, employers and cultures at the same time. Jennifer’s background as an attorney fueled her desire to help others. She leverages her experiences from Hewitt Associates, Thompson & Knight, and SMU’s Dedman School of Law to help employers shift the paradigm related to workplace harassment to ensure that everyone has a voice.
Connect with Jennifer on LinkedIn.