Our strengths lie in our differences, so how can we encourage them to shine? Over the last few decades, several companies have made persistent efforts in highlighting the importance of diversity, inclusivity, and belonging. For example, in July 2020, the coloring world became more colorful, thanks to Crayola’s “Colors of the World” initiative. The company aimed to promote a more inclusive world for children of all races. How? Crayola launched a 24-pack crayon set that represents over 40 different skin tones around the world. But what can we as adults learn from this? Welcoming individuality and celebrating differences will elevate our personal and professional lives. In fact, employees who work for businesses that incorporate diversity and inclusivity into their work culture experience a wide host of benefits. Here are a few worth mentioning:
1. A spark of creativity and innovation
Familiarity is comfortable – this is why people are so resistant to change at first. As people, we tend to be more drawn to those who have the same interests and values as us. But it is certainly not the best environment for creativity. By only interacting with like-minded people, we become part of an echo chamber and risk rejecting new perspectives. A study found that businesses that embrace diversity at the workplace are better at creative problem-solving and idea generating. In fact, their employees score higher on tests that measure creativity. This also makes them more proactive in day-to-day operations that extends beyond their work life.
2. A greater sense of belonging
It’s only when employees truly feel like they belong that their full potential is unlocked. Without it, the people we work so hard to recruit will operate on airplane mode instead of full capacity. A company that promotes diversity on the surface fails to recognize the importance of inclusivity and belonging. Ironically, a vast majority of companies that pride themselves on being inclusive are guilty of this. Research conducted by EY found that more than 40% of employees feel isolated in their job. This number is alarmingly high considering that employees spend an average of eight hours a day at work.
On the contrary, employees who work for organizations that invest in a welcoming culture are able to harvest a stream of benefits. For example, recognizing and celebrating different cultural holidays encourages more meaningful interactions. It also boosts well-being and drives productivity by 13%, making employees more qualified for bonuses and promotions.
3. Reduced interpersonal conflict
Conflict is inevitable, especially in a high-stress environment, but there are approaches that can keep issues at bay. Diversity and inclusion have been shown to drastically reduce problems within a company. Employees have a space space to exchange their ideas without judgment and prejudice. Employees that work for companies that instill such an environment show higher empathy, openness, 22% less turnover, and 27% higher profitability. This lessens the likelihood of tensions that may arise due to predisposed biases. For employees, this can translate into directing their attention on goals and ambitions, while setting aside disputes that may surface.
When conflict and tensions are reduced, employees are more comfortable in seeking out guidance from others. This means their professional goals are more likely to be achieved. This is why replacing toxic competition with healthy collaboration will create a win-win situation for all.
Not having a genuine concern for your employees is a company culture grounded in façade. At Avertra, we challenge this commonality. Diversity, inclusion, and belonging are more than just buzzwords. They’re instilled values and part of our culture. As an equal opportunity employer, we embrace the appropriate policies and initiatives designed to promote these values to celebrate differences.