A sense of belonging compels people to come together. A truly diverse organisation that practices inclusion at its core respects and accepts differences. Since we are celebrating women all month, we decided to focus our thoughts today on women in the workforce, since they easily make up almost half of the workforce in most organisations everywhere.
Like other sectors, the hiring and HR industry is rapidly changing today, with new policies being introduced, new best practices of empathy in the workplace, and discovering new ways to foster productivity in the midst of a pandemic. In this new world, diversity matters like never before. It's important to understand the concepts of diversity and inclusion as important steps to welcome and foster a sense of belonging, in order to avoid stagnancy and rigidity and to show that we are truly willing to change the behaviour, policies and programs in our places of work.
Thus, moving from a disengaged workforce to an engaged one means that we think of women's inclusion as the norm, and not as a social favour towards the gender. This helps companies achieve a more indigenous, balanced and healthier way of working. As per a survey conducted by Yello, 83% of respondents indicated that a healthier workforce balance will influence their decision in accepting or rejecting a job offer, which is a big shift from 64% in the last 5 years.
The importance of diversity and inclusion in the workforce
We may have heard these terms and resonate with them, but it’s likely that we don’t understand how much ground this subject matter actually covers. Having a diverse mix of women could be about having women from different cultures, races, languages, colours etc. but it doesn’t just end there. Giving them an equal opportunity, making them feel heard, providing equal support and making them feel like their needs are being met leads to inclusion. As managers and leaders, focusing on the sense of belonging in the culture unlocks your potential as a leader, and helps the company too.
No more blind hiring
Dig deep to understand the purpose of the organisation, its relationship to hiring and don’t simply run behind a number. Talk to more people from minorities, people of different colours and races. Learn to explore and listen to the kind of experiences these folks are having in the organisation. This helps uncover workplace gaps and gives better insight into the root causes of any small or unspoken issues which in turn will contribute to building a better society and business.
Revenue & Productivity
As professionals, our primary objectives are to help our organization achieve its financial and strategic goals, and help it add value to the world. When we add diversity to the workplace, it's also important to stay true to the vision of inclusivity. The sense of belonging that one employee feels may be different to what another employee may require to feel included. In an organization lacking inclusivity, individuals belonging to diverse backgrounds may feel less cared for and therefore, may not reach their full potential. As a result, if we want the organization to achieve its goals, we need to ensure that all employees are truly cared for and heard.
Every organisation should try and work towards retaining its productive workforce. Hiring is usually very costly for an organisation and it’s no rocket science to conclude that your organisation wouldn't want to let go of its rockstars. When we create a better working environment by choosing diversity and inclusion practices, we become open to the uniqueness of every employee and find ways to acknowledge that. This helps employees stay longer as their differences are simply, accepted.
Different ideas on the table
Ideas and innovation stem from people and you need different kinds of people to have a wide variety of ideas. As an experiment to test this theory, you can give a case study to a group of 10 people from the same ethnographic background (sex, age, colour or race) and vice versa and then analyse the outcome. You will be surprised to see the result. Our place of origin, language, social connections etc. shape us differently hence a D&I focused organisation will automatically be more creatively inclined.
Current Statistics: Female workforce and Gender
We are slowly bridging the gender workforce gap that exists across the globe and some surveys and research reports show this. Even more strongly echoing this sentiment is the 2022 UN International Women's Day Theme — 'Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. PwC also completed 10 years of its Women In Work Index, which is a report that gives us an opportunity to reflect on the very real impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s lives, jobs, economic prosperity, and broader wellbeing, and on the future. In fact, the pandemic has resulted in erasing two years worth of progress that the world had made in correcting gender pay gaps.
Organizations have lost $223 billion from workplace turnover due to culture-related challenges in the last five years. Even in the SHRM India Annual Conference in 2022, being inclusive as a default was the main topic of conversation. How we show up continuously, and the act of creating fairness for all in our hiring practices, company communication and more is strongly needed for a world that’s more fair and just.