In the present day, the marketplace requires relevant factors from companies that aim to gain a competitive advantage, and not all of these factors were among business-success ones learned years ago. Changing immigration and demographic patterns worldwide, together with evolving social, political, and cultural norms, have substantially impacted the composition of the global population. It goes without saying that businesses have to consider the expectations of society that has become highly diverse. That is why diversity and inclusion should currently be among key factors that determine organizations’ successful growth and development. In fact, diversity was initially defined by Esty, Griffith, and Hirsch in 1995 as “acknowledging, understanding, accepting, and valuing people’s differences with regards to race, age, class, gender, ethnicity, disability, education, sexual orientation, spiritual practice, and more” (AXIOS HR, 2020, para. 10). However, regardless of the moral rightness of the implementation of diversity practices, they are frequently overlooked. This paper addresses the significance of diversity and related inclusion for a company and explains how a diversity and inclusion program may be successfully applied.
Example of a Program’s Successful Implementation
According to statistics, those organizations that value a diverse workforce are more successful now and in a long-term perspective. For instance, companies with the highest levels of ethnic and cultural diversity and gender diversity outperformed their competitors by 36% and 25% in profitability, respectively (Cheeks et al., n.d.). Statistics data may be observed through the example of multiple corporations, including L’Oreal, a company specialized in the manufacturing of hair and beauty products. It is annually placed among the world’s top female-friendly companies, best employers for diversity, and the most valuable brands (“#133 L’Oréal,” n.d.). These rewards are fully justified by the brand’s diversity and inclusion programs implemented in different countries of its operation. For example, the company offers training to talented young people in Pakistan communities, supports Indian disability awareness workshops, encourages the collaboration of multicultural students and employees in the Netherlands, and provides inclusion and diversity training for its workers all over the world. In addition, gender equality is prioritized in L’Oreal, where women account for 53% of key positions and 69% of the workforce (Emplify, n.d.). Thus, respect for gender, ability, and multicultural diversity may be regarded as the core of the brand’s success – it is in the list of top multinational performers and a presence on five continents.
Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion
As a matter of fact, diversity and inclusion provide multiple advantages for a company’s ability to compete and its stable growth and development. First of all, it ensures a better understanding of consumers’ needs and expectations due to diverse working teams that consist of members from various backgrounds. As a result, corporate image is improved, generating public goodwill. In addition, equitable workplace practices that presuppose the absence of discrimination and focus on professional skills improve employee performance, productivity, creativity, decision-making, problem-solving, and morale. Thus, turnover-related cost reductions, retention, and the organization’s ability to attract talented and qualified specialists. Finally, companies that value diversity have more chances to receive government contracts for gender-balanced businesses and avoid discrimination lawsuits.
Components and Stages of a Program’s Implementation
That is why it is highly essential to implement a diversity and inclusion program into a company’s performance to support its competitiveness. Workplace diversity should encompass the gender, age, race, ethnic groups, citizenship status, sexual orientation, religion, physical and mental conditions, and military service. It goes without saying that the components of diversity and inclusion should align with corporate goals and strategies, however, a diversity and inclusion program is not simply an initiative but a business strategy itself that includes several components for its successful application.
A program should be information-based. Before the implementation of any program, its expediency should be evaluated. For instance, the presence of women in the workplace does not imply diversity until their contribution, skills, and salaries are valuable. That is why the necessity of diversity and inclusion should be evaluated through research projects, internal focus groups, engagement surveys, and meeting with supervisors. When elements that require improvement will be identified, the concepts of diversity and inclusion and the experience of other organizations may be analyzed. In other words, the implementation of the program means that there is a diversity-related issue that the company is ready to solve.
A program presupposes a clear and well-elaborated plan that includes intensive diversity training. For efficient implementation, managers need a particular framework to follow and raise people’s awareness about diversity and inclusion. Thus, training is required at all organizational levels for all employees to accept the peculiarities of others and obtain knowledge concerning anti-discriminatory behavior. In other words, the principles of inclusion and diversity should be incorporated into the company’s internal culture.
Diversity-oriented leadership, diversity mentoring, and targeted recruitment support the program’s implementation. In general, leaders play a highly significant role in the application of diversity and inclusion practices. Being a role leader, a competent leader may create his employees’ strong commitment to the principles of equal opportunities by sharing the company’s vision related to this aspect. By supporting diversity, communicating its importance for corporate goal achievement, showing respect to personal, cultural, and religious peculiarities of employees, and criticizing discriminatory behavior, a leader will contribute to the program’s efficient implementation. In addition, during employment, diversity policies should be considered – no candidate should be discriminated against on the basis of race, age, gender and other factors, and the representation of people from various backgrounds will be preferable.
Human resources should provide equal opportunities for career development. They should eliminate barriers to equal opportunities, including the culture of harassment and the absence of corporate support. Thus, a company’s training programs, outreach, and recruitment should be evaluated to be completely unbiased and accessible for all people. Another strategy for equal career development and promotion is targeting minorities and women in educational institutions and skill-developing programs for their representation among applicants and candidates and the creation of a diverse workforce (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, n.d.). In other words, human resources should be responsible for a diverse internal pool of employees, training available for all of them, and an unbiased choice of candidates for promotion based on competencies and skills.
The program should be evaluated. First of all, the changed demographic makeup of leadership and employees indicates the successful implementation of the program. In addition, regular employee surveys may help evaluate workers’ attitudes to applied practices. However, people may be not sincere even in anonymous questionnaires. That is why management should monitor subordinates’ behavior to detect the presence of conscious and unconscious bias and decide whether additional training or changes in recruitment are required.
Along with diversity and inclusion on the basis of race, gender, or physical abilities, diversity based on generational differences are essential as well. People of different ages look at the same things from different perspectives and may suggest more efficient solutions to any problem. In order to strengthen generation diversity in the workplace, age-based stereotyping should be avoided. In turn, communication at all levels and multi-generational team working should be encouraged. Moreover, recruiting strategies may be adopted if employees of different ages are not presented.
#133 L’Oréal. (n.d.). Forbes. Web.
AXIOS HR. (2020). Why workforce diversity is a huge competitive advantage in 2020. AXIOS HR. Web.
Cheeks, H., Collins L. H., & Mead S. (n.d.). Diversity, equity & inclusion: The competitive edge. Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness. Web.
Emplify. (n.d.). 4 excellent examples of diverse and inclusive company cultures. Emplify. Web.
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. (n.d.). Best practices for ensuring equal opportunity in promotions. U.S. Department of Labor. Web.