Embracing diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs has become a normal part of workplace culture across numerous industries. That’s because D&I enhances the stakeholder experience for both employees and customers. D&I goes beyond merely recognizing the presence of race, class, gender, disability, religion, and other socially ascribed attributes. Diversity-centered conversations should also focus on how organizations can promote D&I.
What Is Workplace Diversity and Why Does It Matter?
Diversity in and of itself can be a complex roadmap to navigate. Race and ethnicity, age and generation, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, religious and spiritual beliefs, disability, and many more socially ascribed attributes often intersect. An organization’s leadership must be able to celebrate diversity, as this sends a powerful message about who is recognized and welcomed at the company. That, in turn, promotes feelings of inclusion, which can enhance employee engagement and satisfaction, foster equality, and empower workers to do their best.
What Types of Diversity Can Be Found in the Workplace?
Diversity includes a myriad of variables that define a person’s identity. Some of the most impactful types of diversity present in the workplace include:
- Gender and gender identity. People who identify as women make up more than half of the world’s population and are present everywhere in society. Equal representation emphasizing equitable treatment in the workplace supports gender diversity.The gender pay gap is still significant. As of 2021, women made 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. Non-binary, gender-fluid, and transgender workforce populations face even more discrimination. According to The National Center for Transgender Equality’s 2015 Survey, one in six respondents who had ever been employed reported being fired, denied a promotion, harassed, or attacked because of their gender identity or expression.Workplaces can create a more gender-inclusive environment by making a concerted effort to have representation of different genders present and by using inclusive language, such as respecting an individual’s chosen pronouns. Such business moves aren’t just about doing what’s right. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns than their respective national industry medians.
- Race and ethnicity. Although these terms usually go hand in hand and can overlap, they differ in what they reveal to us each person’s experiences. For example, Black is a racial identity in the U.S. African American, however, is an ethnic identity that encompasses cultural traditions based on ancestral or familial bonds. It might seem like semantics, but such differences can affect the biases and frequency with which employees experience prejudice.A recent study found that Black people reported 60% more discrimination in the workplace than their white counterparts. Yet, organizations with higher racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have stronger financial returns. That’s because people who belong to diverse racial and ethnic groups bring unique perspectives to the workplace. And that leads to innovative solutions.
- Socioeconomic status and background. Coming from different socioeconomic backgrounds dramatically influences a person’s access to opportunities in education, social status, developing monetary and class capital. Having people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds matters. In particular, it has been found that organizations with “social class transitioners” — people who have managed to progress between socioeconomic classes during their life — can skillfully relate to people from all walks of life. They have good social skills and can adapt to new environments, making them good collaborators in the workplace.Conversely, workplace environments with homogenous populations may seem more harmonious, but they lag in performance by comparison. Nothing changes if nothing changes; these work populations experience little to no individual growth or development because they are not exposed to people with different perspectives and experiences.
- Sexual orientation. Sexual orientation or sexuality is about who a person is attracted to. Yes, it is a personal affair, yet employees must feel safe to express their sexuality without facing workplace discrimination or harassment. The LGBTQ+ community comprises people from various backgrounds. Organizations must ensure safety for people belonging to sexual minorities. Remember, an egalitarian workplace increases job satisfaction and employee retention.
- Disability. A disability may refer to conditions impacting physical mobility, but it also includes invisible disabilities, like mental health conditions and neurodivergence. Companies must accommodate people with disabilities by providing modifications that allow them to perform alongside abled colleagues. That can mean physical accessibility options like ramps and elevators should be present. However, accommodations for other conditions can mean allowing employees to go about their work in different ways.Neurodivergent workers present in the workplace provide your organization with a competitive advantage. They tend to display higher-than-average abilities and are often skilled in pattern recognition, memory, or mathematics. Organizations can best leverage these skill sets with systems to accommodate their uniqueness. Accommodations can be as simple as allowing an office worker to use a headset and screen reader.
- Age and generation. Age isn’t just a number when it comes to promoting workplace diversity. Mixed-age teams should be encouraged. Doing so improves performance and productivity, can help reduce employee turnover, and drives innovation. Although not everyone belonging to the same generational category thinks the same, there are enough generation-specific values and experiences across Baby Boomers, Gen X, Y, Z, and Alphas for age and generation differences to be significant.Those born before 1995 watched the world transition from an analog space to a digital one. Those born after 1995 have only known a world that exists within the digital age — with smartphones and the internet. The way each generation approaches problems and solutions is heavily influenced by the tools they use. Each generation has something of value to contribute to workplace teams.Age bias or discrimination can occur when members of older working populations are seen as unfit for entry-level positions. Conversely, it can occur when workers are seen as unqualified for more senior positions simply because they are younger. Age may keep some workers from being offered the same educational or mentorship opportunities. It may also exclude them from certain workplace functions, challenges, and promotions.
How Can Diversio Help?
Harnessing the talents of employees in a diverse workforce can be a daunting task. Your organization needs a way to prioritize and implement its D&I initiatives in a way that is immediate and impactful.
Diversio’s language-intelligence platform analyzes the experiences of diverse work groups using a four-minute anonymous survey based on six research-based key performance indicators. Aggregated data is analyzed through a granular lens to provide practical, customized solutions. Our user-friendly dashboard allows your company to easily track its progress in implementing DEI initiatives over time.
Find out more about how our people intelligence platform can help your business promote different types of diversity in the workplace by booking a demo today.