Why Is Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Important?

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Here’s why diversity and inclusion in the workplace is important. More than policies, programs, or headcounts, equitable employers outpace their competitors by respecting the unique needs, perspectives, and potential of their diverse workforce. As a result, diverse and inclusive workplaces earn deeper trust and more commitment from their employees.

What is the difference between diversity and inclusion meaning?

Diversity and inclusion are two interconnected concepts—but they are far from interchangeable. Diversity focuses on representation or the make-up of an entity. Inclusion is about how well the contributions, presence, and perspectives of different groups of people are valued and integrated into an environment.

An environment where many different genders, races, nationalities, and sexual orientations and identities are present but only the perspectives of certain groups are valued or carry any authority or influence, may be diverse, but it is not inclusive. 

What is diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

A diverse and inclusive workplace is one that makes everyone, regardless of who they are or what they do for the business, feel equally involved in and supported in all areas of the workplace. The “all areas” part is important.

Do you have diversity in your recruiting, in each of your departments, and in your leadership? Or do you have a diverse workplace where 50% of your employees are women but 0% of your women are managers? Do you have a good representation of employees of color overall, but all of them are in the same department?

These telling questions reveal true diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Why is diversity and inclusion in the workplace Important?

Research has shown many benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace:

Inclusion in the workplace is one of the most important keys to retention

When employees don’t feel that their ideas, presence or contributions are truly valued or taken seriously by their organization, they will eventually leave.

Our research on company culture shows that when employees trust that they, and their colleagues, will be treated fairly regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or age, they are.

  • 9.8 times more likely to look forward to going to work
  • 6.3 times more likely to have pride in their work
  • 5.4 times more likely to want to stay a long time at their company

Having an inclusive workplace culture will not only help you attract a diverse set of talent but also help you retain the diverse talent you attracted in the first place.

What is an inclusive workplace?

The diversity that lacks genuine inclusion is often called “tokenism.” A genuinely inclusive workplace doesn’t just have a diversity of people present, it has a diversity of people involved, developed, empowered, and trusted by the business. Diversity efforts need to go beyond a pretty company-wide memo.

What is the difference between diversity, inclusion and belonging?

The difference between diversity, inclusion and belonging is that diversity is the representation of different people in an organization, inclusion is ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute to and influence every part and level of a workplace, and belonging is ensuring that everyone feels safe and can bring their full, unique selves to work.

It can be confusing and many companies are guilty of making simple mistakes when it comes to diversity or inclusion efforts. Thankfully, they can be corrected – if workplaces know what they’re doing wrong. Unfortunately, many companies won’t recognize what’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace unless they’re seeking it out.

What is the Great Place To Work For All™ definition?

For All™ is Great Place To Work’s definition of a workplace culture that has evolved beyond “Diversity and Inclusion.”

The goal of the For All approach is to create a consistently high-trust workplace experience for everyone, no matter who they are or what they do for the organization.  It’s being able to create spaces that celebrate diverse backgrounds and inclusive cultures.

Everyone matters in a For All workplace

For All is the accumulation of day-to-day experiences that fuel a thriving company culture. They are the leaders who push to overcome challenges and create a workplace where employees feel they belong, that their unique talents matter, and that their individual needs are cared for by their colleagues and leaders. When companies experience the very human acts of acknowledgment, inclusion, dignity, and compassion, that is when they can achieve For All. 

For All is critical for success. Workplaces today are more diverse and globally connected than ever before. With the complexities of today’s work environment, leaders must tap into collective intelligence to maximize the potential of every person. 

Technological and social changes continue to alter the landscape in every industry. Organizations will need the human judgment, empathy, passion and creativity of all their people to realize the full promise of the era’s new technologies, increase agility and inventiveness and address the challenges of an increasingly demanding, vocal marketplace. 

Why it can't be For Some, but For All

Organizations that remain “For Some” workplaces will risk losing money, earning less and falling behind their competitors in this disruptive climate. However, the companies that succeed with For All will cultivate tremendous value from their people’s differences and will thrive.

If you’re ready to create a great place to work For All™ – contact us about our solutions today.

Matt Bush

Matt Bush is the Culture Coaching Lead at Great Place to Work®. With a background in both quantitative and qualitative research and analysis methods, Matt helps leaders gain insight into how to build great workplaces for all, while simultaneously achieving their business goals and fueling new and innovative practices.

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To be eligible for the World’s Best Workplaces list, a company must apply and be named to a minimum of 5 national Best Workplaces lists within our current 58 countries, have 5,000 employees or more worldwide, and at least 40% of the company’s workforce (or 5,000 employees) must be based outside of the home country. Extra points are given based on the number of countries where a company surveys employees with the Great Place to Work Trust Index©, and the percentage of a company’s workforce represented by all Great Place to Work surveys globally. Candidates for the 2017 Worlds Best Workplaces list will have appeared on national workplaces lists published in September 2016 through August 2017.