The Future of Work Requires Inclusion

posted on July 3, 2020

July 1, 2020

By Melissa Henley, CMS Wire

The digital workplace is making us question a lot of what we once took for granted. What does work mean? How are employees selected and trained? What kind of office do we want to work in … or do we need an office at all?

Diversity, equity and inclusion are crucial to success in the digital workplace. It’s arguably even more important when we don’t have regular in-person interaction with our colleagues. Research continues to show that companies that rank in the top quartile for gender, racial, ethnic and cultural diversity are 21% to 33% more likely to experience above-average profitability. Beyond that, diversity of thought and opinion is more likely to bring new perspectives that are crucial for success.

It’s important to note that inclusion is different from diversity. You can hire a diverse workforce, but if they don’t feel embraced by their colleagues, if they don’t feel supported by executive leadership, and if they don’t feel empowered to drive change and share their perspectives, they are not included. Creating a culture of inclusion requires that everyone feels included, everyone participates and everyone works together to support the same goals. And while it starts with recruiting and training, it can also be supported with technology.

Recruit for a More Diverse Workforce

Despite repeated studies linking company performance to diversity, Deloitte’s recent Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective report shows that only 15% of all board seats and 4% of CEO and board chair positions globally are filled by women. But the study also shows that diversity begets diversity: organizations with women in top leadership positions have almost double the number of board seats held by women, and gender diverse boards are more likely to appoint a female CEO or board chair.

While you can’t change the diversity of your workforce overnight, you can change your recruiting initiatives to bring in more diverse candidates, which will ultimately improve the diversity of your organization. To attract diverse talent, consider:

  • Using inclusive language in job postings. A study on job postings found that masculine-type words like “ambitious” and “dominate” were less appealing to female applicants.
  • Offering workplace policies that are more appealing to diverse candidates. Consider offering work from home options, flexible hours, corporate responsibility programs including time off for volunteering, or more flexible holidays or PTO policies to attract parents of young children. These strategies don’t just help attract more diverse candidates, they also prevent employee turnover.

Drive innovation with diverse recruiting. Companies that actively promote inclusivity in recruiting are 45% more likely to report market share growth in one year. Build a diverse talent pool by not sticking to requirements too strictly. This way, you’ll build what the Center for Talent Innovation calls “2-D” diversity — diversity based on inherent characteristics like gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation, as well as acquired traits like working in another country or selling to a different market.

Of course, you also want to showcase the diversity of your company and employees. Be sure your careers site shows your culture, leadership and employees. A survey conducted by Glassdoor found that 67% of candidates consider how diverse a company is when evaluating job offers. Make sure you’re accurately portraying what work life is like at your organization so your company isn’t eliminated right out of the gate.

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