Workplace Inclusion May Be Your Biggest Problem
Diversity has come a long way in the past 50 years, and while every step along the path to diversity in the workplace is a good one, have we become too comfortable with where we are? Workplaces are more diverse than ever, but many times it seems more like a quota is being filled, and inclusion in the culture of a business is left out to dry.
Companies have to start answering this if they want the talent they acquire to stick around. Not that this issue is completely overlooked – the emphasis is just elsewhere currently, and it’s not good enough to let that be the status quo.
What’s the Big Deal?
Let’s rewind back to 1986, when the Challenger space shuttle was about to take flight. After only 73 seconds, the shuttle exploded in mid-flight. Amidst the many questions that were asked, the most prevalent was “why did this happen?”
The shocking thing was, many of the crew who had worked on the shuttle before launch knew it was likely that the shuttle could blow up, but no one felt they could voice their opinion. The status quo pulled them in the opposite direction, and no one wanted to be excluded for voicing a negative opinion about the world’s greatest space-faring agency. That’s where inclusion comes in.
Simply by being human, we experience diversity. Diversity is often just boiled down to numbers and filling quotas. Inclusion makes making those numbers count. That’s why this is a big deal.
Take a look at the tech industry as another example. It’s an industry that for a long time has been dominated by males, although recent trends have started to reverse that. While added diversity is good and very sorely needed, many of the women who are now taking on the tech industry feel isolated in their workplace.
Customers may appreciate them, and a different perspective can often make all the difference in a workplace. The problem is that many times it’s still one or two women in a whole building of men, and the level of inclusion simply isn’t there. It’s essentially an inclusion crisis.
This is the type of issue that needs to be addressed, and you can’t do that with legislation or rules. You have to do it with leadership, compassion, and hard work.
How to Test your Inclusion
The best place to start to see if your employees feel included is simply to ask them. That may sound overly simple, and you may have one or two who say what they think you want to hear – but you’ll be surprised by the number of employees who come out with the truth.
After your cultural audit or diversity survey, parse through the results. Look for tendencies within the demographics. If you see a pattern that shows a lack of inclusion, it’s your responsibility to take action. Ask why certain employees don’t feel included, and then come up with a plan to fix the issue. Do something, and your employees will love you. Don’t, and the cycle will continue.
Make a Difference
Organizations across all vertical markets understand diversity is a huge advantage for a workplace, but only when it’s truly taken advantage of. 360HR helps companies with the building blocks of diversity to include individuals who have disabilities, LGBT, Civil-Life Transitioning Military, women, blacks, Latinos, or any other group that is underrepresented. If you don’t listen to the diverse backgrounds, cultures, and needs of your employees then you will always struggle with customer and talent retention in a global marketplace.
The change needs to continue. Workplaces need to realize that meeting diversity standards simply isn’t enough. If they want to invest in their employees’ lives and truly make a difference, they need to find a way to include all of the talent they employ. It’s the next step in the evolution of the workplace.