Image by Tim Mossholder for Unsplash
Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is often presented as something organisations need to include in our guidelines to check an invisible box of mandatory good practices. If that’s the reason why we are doing it, maybe we should take a step back and start again.
D&I issues should be at the backbone of every organisation. Not because it is “good to have”, not because it is selling point, not because someone said you should do it. We should do it, because it is good organisational practice and everyone inside your organisation and outside it will benefit from it. You need not to take my word on it. There is much research proving it. What is clear, though, is that this will not work if there is just a single (or a small) group of diversity and inclusion champions. The whole organisation has to buy in to the concept and understand how important it is.
D&I brings so much added value that it is difficult to summarise! There are some benefits that may be a bit more obvious: the richness of having different perspectives to build our critical thinking, the plethora of skills that come from different backgrounds, increase and creativity and innovation (Josh Bersin's research). Maybe less known is the fact that it helps in problem-solving (Harvard Business Review) and decision-making, as diversity brings together people with different characteristics, work and life experiences, so more able to design alternative and interesting solutions. Human resources experts have also shown a direct link between D&I and employee engagement, motivation and retention, as a diverse working environment is a better place to work overall.
For those that are still not convinced, a couple of arguments more. D&I can lead to increased profits (McKinsey research) and increased reputation. Organisations that are dedicated to building and promoting diversity in the workplace are seen as good organisations, from the consumer point of view, and credible partners for new market ventures and expansion.
But going back to the why. We need to truly reflect if our organisation is working on D&I for the right reasons. Understand the deep and long-term effects on our organisation and society, that come from good D&I policies and practices. Understand that we can provoke systemic change, by changing our organisation.
Stone Soup Consulting is a member of the EU Diversity Charter, has had D&I at its core and is now launching its Diversity and Inclusion Policy. We are striving to improve our practices and realise our vision. We invite you to join us in this journey.