Today, there is a need for organizations to shift, from diversity to diversity and inclusion as a business imperative. It is no longer about counting people; it is about leveraging differences and how people interact.
In today’s environment, advancing inclusion in organizations is essential for business success. Research shows that inclusion is a potential means to increase employee trust and engagement. Inclusion allows organizations to realize the benefits of effective diversity practices for all employees.
Actively fostering inclusion gives organizations the opportunity to reap the benefits of a high-trust workplace, including effective working relationships and increased employee engagement, performance, and well-being.
Where to begin
Inclusion is a key driver and core element for reaping the potential benefits of diversity. While diversity is about respecting and valuing differences, inclusion is about fully leveraging the differences of all employees to foster creativity and innovation. An inclusive culture embraces and uses differences as opportunities to add value and create competitive advantages in teamwork, product quality and productivity.
At the individual and the group level, inclusion is the degree to which employees feel part of organizational processes including influence over decision-making, involvement in critical work groups, and access to information and resources.
Diversity and inclusion do more than enhance employee engagement. Researchers have found compelling evidence of the positive relationship between diversity and inclusion and innovation and creativity in organizations. The general argument is that while diversity enables innovation, it does not guarantee it. Diversity with inclusion can lead to more innovation and creativity.
In the new economy, innovation and diversity and inclusion are requirements for success in promoting new products and services and securing the best talent. Organizations that innovate can compete continually in the marketplace and help their employees learn and advance their skills set.
Organizations that cultivate and inclusive environment, one in which diverse ideas are valued and combined in new ways, can generate innovations that help them outperform the competition. In this context, diversity and inclusion become a business imperative and create continuous opportunity for enhanced innovation. To proactive and forward-thinking organizations, diversity and inclusion represent a formula for success.
Cecilia Orellana-Rojas, Ph.D., VP, Strategy and Research, National Diversity Council & Angeles Valenciano, CEO, National Diversity Council, [email protected]