The why behind D&I: how diversity and inclusion initiatives benefit business

August 5, 2019 Niamh Graham

2-minute read

colored plants

When I think about diversity and inclusion, there’s a Gandhi quote that comes to mind: “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.” And I think it’s also the test of the future of modern workplaces, because those getting it right are the ones thriving in innovation, positivity, and productivity.

Incorporating diversity and inclusion into the workplace is a top priority for HR departments around the world, and this is nothing new. But let’s pause for a minute to explore it a little more deeply. These are two words we often hear together, but what do they really mean? What are the benefits of recognizing and embracing diversity? And how can diversity and inclusion initiatives improve your workplace?

A definition of diversity and inclusion
Diversity is everything to do with people in the workplace – from the perspective of age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. This includes aspects that are unseen as well, like learning differences. Inclusion is recognizing and embracing those differences so every employee can have an impact on your organization because of the very qualities that make them who they are.

The benefits of embracing differences
When each employee brings their own brand of thought to the table, this creates a more innovative, positive environment and a broad, global perspective. Essentially, this means a stronger environment and a more profitable company.

The benefits of publicly celebrating differences are two-fold. When employees feel like they have a voice and are empowered and respected – this creates trust and a feeling of belonging within your organization. From a business perspective, the more people feel this trust and belonging, the more innovative they are, the more they use their imagination, and the more productive they’ll be.

What a culture of positivity does
The first step is recognizing the differences among your employees and then inspiring them to harness these unique attributes to become the best version of themselves. This happens most often when diversity and inclusion practices are put into place alongside a recognition program. In fact, research from our Workhuman® Analytics & Research Institute shows that receiving recognition leads to a greater sense of belonging and the belief that diversity is valued.

HR leaders who are creating this kind of positive environment and exceptional employee experience are seeing increased engagement, retention, and employee satisfaction. The bottom line is, when people feel like they belong and are being celebrated for their whole selves, they flourish and do the best work of their lives.

Positivity fuels positivity. It’s just that simple.

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About the Author

Niamh Graham

Niamh is vice president, global HR at Workhuman.

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