Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: your Culture will Lead the Way
March 31, 2021
8 min read
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Written by María Eugenia Raffaele
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace boils down to one thing: culture. When companies get to face all diverse aspects of humanity at the intersection of their core values of innovation, togetherness and ethical behavior, wonderful things can be achieved.
When I started working at Globant, I recall it only took me a brief conversation with a colleague over coffee to feel I already belonged. Something was really comfortable about the atmosphere in the office, but I still couldn’t understand the reason why I sensed that warm and welcoming feeling right away.
However, within weeks, as I got more involved in my new role, I could see it clearly: the whole dynamics of the company and employees’ daily behaviors were the result of a culture that made people feel valued, safe, and with equal opportunities to grow. I was now working with a completely new set of people whose different ways of living and thinking would not be a threat or a problem; on the contrary, they would offer one another an opportunity to learn, and co-create. In a nutshell, I got to experience for the first time what the concept of diversity and inclusion in the workplace really means.
As an employee, I treasured that first experience so much, that I felt the need to write this article today, with the hope to raise awareness on the importance of making diversity and inclusion (D&I) truly part of everyone’s experience. Especially nowadays, I know it can be tough to ensure your company’s success and, at the same time, create equal opportunities for people’s professional and personal development. However, it’s simpler than you may think, and here’s my golden recipe: make diversity and inclusion in the workplace a core value of your organizational culture and cherish it every day.
D&I: Similar, Complementary or Different?
At this point, it’s crucial to ask the following question: What is diversity and inclusion? Many companies make the mistake of taking for granted that diversity and inclusion mean the same, or that one automatically leads to the other. However, one of the main reasons why few organisations deliver on their goal to be genuinely inclusive is their belief that diversity and inclusion are the same thing. Recognizing the substantial differences between both terms is the first step in the journey toward transforming your culture into a uniquely diverse and inclusive one.
In simple words, diversity is about the what (the people that make up your company), and inclusion is about the how (the creation of a culture that allows employees to participate and reach their full potential). Diversity in the workplace not only implies hiring a wide range of diverse individuals, coming from different cultures, with different age, sexuality or language; it also means hearing everyone’s voices and making sure all employees can equally and actively participate in the decisions and goals set in the company.
What’s the importance of diversity in the workplace for the employees?
When teams are characterized by diversity, people feel free, appreciated, recognized for their work and have the urge to innovate and share their ideas with others without fearing being judged. Organizations that embrace diversity believe in a world of free people who can develop their full potential everyday, which opens the door to greater creativity, and stronger roots that preserve that which makes every individual unique. In turn, employees become more engaged and productive.
Let me share with you 3 crystal clear statistics that show the benefits of diversity in the workplace:
#2 Due to the wider range of skills, diverse teams outperform individual decisions up to 87%.
#3 Companies with more diversity in their teams have 19% higher revenue.
On the other hand, inclusion is intimately related with the way the organization makes the most of diversity – how different individuals, with different voices and backgrounds, become connected, culturally and socially integrated, treated equally and welcomed. Remember that sense of belonging I described at the beginning of this article? That is what inclusion means. By embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity within each employee and allowing talented individuals to shine at full capacity, you’ll be making your company more human, as well as competitive. Remember: there’s no innovation without diversity, and there is no improvement without plurality.
How can you Make it Happen?
Actually, diversity and inclusion in the workplace doesn’t just happen, it requires a strong organizational culture and attitude-behavior consistency to enhance values everyday. Simply put, an organization is inclusive when it has a proper management of diversity. Building a culture that creates opportunities to explore such differences and makes the most of them everyday is essential to achieve this.
The accumulated stress due to the pandemic and the extended periods of isolation has led many employees to experience negative emotions, and especially in times of crises, looking into your company’s approach towards inclusion is not only the right thing to do, morally and ethically, but it’s also smart for your businesses.
As I stated before, I’m not talking about isolated actions like planning a random special event to celebrate or address diversity and inclusion, the concept has to be one of the main pillars of your company’s culture where differences and inclusivity are celebrated everyday.
- Plan innovative and evolving D&I initiatives and make them part of people’s daily behaviors.
- Promote professional development, collaboration and participation through 360° feedback
- Carry out regular 1-1 meetings where you truly connect with each individual.
- Carry out surveys to hear everybody’s voices.
- Provide recognition and make people’s work visible.
- Foster meaningful communication, and make technology your best ally to further power your initiatives.
When these practices are consistent, diversity and inclusion becomes part of people’s DNA.
At Globant, we believe in a culture of empowerment and belonging, where everyone can develop to their full potential. We have built a culture of co-elevation and support by combining diversity and inclusion initiatives with a strong culture technology platform, and people analytics. Our process of inclusion engages every employee across the company and makes people feel valued and essential to the growth of the organization. Evidence speaks for itself: when people are appreciated, visible and part of every goal, they do their best to have a positive impact on the organization.
Let’s Talk Further About Workplace Inclusivity
Now that you’ve finished reading this article, I hope your next step is not planning an upcoming event to promote Diversity & Inclusion, but to really think about what you are willing to do to transform your culture and make diversity and inclusion in the workplace a way of life, where all are considered equal and talented individuals who can shine at full capacity and make your company grow more than ever.
I know this can be a complicated topic, and each business has different cultural strengths, needs, and goals. So, if you pursue diversity and workplace inclusivity, we’re here to give you further guidance and inspiration to make it happen.