Diversity and Inclusion in your business.
Diversity and inclusion in business are a cornerstone of sustainable development; both are a key aspect of a company’s social impact. The world is changing and the labour market must follow suit. At A Beautiful Green, we are confident that diversity and inclusion will soon become a corporate priority!
What is “diversity and inclusion”?
In simple terms, diversity in business means that an organisation intentionally employs different people. Although a person’s difference is obviously based on a variety of aspects, diversity first tends to be defined according to specific social categories, such as ethnic origin, gender and age. These are the best-known categories, but other differences contribute to a company’s diversity too, for example an employee’s professional experience, skills or personality traits.
Inclusion refers to how a company ensures that all employees are treated equally and feel included in the organisation. It’s about understanding and respecting each other’s differences in order to build an equal, safe and supportive working environment where every employee is able to participate in achieving the workplace’s shared goals.
It’s important to note that just because an organisation is diverse does not necessarily mean that it has achieved inclusion. On the one hand, you have a figure containing ‘demographic’ criteria and on the other, an impact on employees that can only be positive if social norms and a company culture have been integrated into the organisation beforehand.
In the rest of this article, we will look at why it’s important for a company to be diverse and inclusive, and how to incorporate both within the organisation.
Why is diversity and inclusion important ?
In recent years, several economic actors such as PWC and McKinsey have published studies on diversity and inclusion in business. All come to the same conclusion: diversity brings with it many benefits. Promoting and implementing diversity in companies seems to be essential for effective and efficient management. Here’s how diversity can benefit your company:
- Attract talent and retain employees
- Create a better working environment
- Increase productivity
- Attract new customers
- Improve innovation and decision-making capacity
- Increase the chances of solving a problem through a more efficient thinking system
How can you integrate diversity into your company?
As mentioned above, diversity and inclusion should go hand in hand, but this is not always the case. Diversity is the ‘what’ and inclusion is the ‘how’. The two concepts are different and you cannot fully integrate either without first building a company culture that can accommodate different viewpoints.
Here are several steps to make integrating diversity easier and ways to ensure a sense of inclusion in your workplace:
- It is up to a company’s leaders to drive this new dynamic. This means that the company’s top management must present a united front on making diversity a reality within the company.
- Announcing the project is not enough, diversity must be integrated into the company’s values and culture. Every action taken must reflect this commitment and make sense.
- Ensure qualitative recruitment and plan for diversity. Again, it’s not enough to say you want diversity for it to actually happen. Find an effective recruitment system that will allow you to balance selection criteria with the desire for diversity.
- Ensure sustainable diversity. Encouraging diversity in the recruitment phase is not enough. You have to continue building diversity and normalising it within the company’s culture. To do so, inclusion plays an important role.
- Leave room for expression. Encouraging diversity also means that perceived differences may lead to misunderstandings. It’s important to be able to discuss each other’s feelings freely and to set up systems for resolution.
- Adapt your management to diversity. All employees are unique in their own way, so it’s essential to understand the systems for feedback and motivation that will work for each of your employees.
- Represent your customers. The world is changing and your company must be able to reflect this. Diversity is not only important internally. Show your customers that diversity is central to your commitment and that you want to make it the norm.
Below are several ways to ensure inclusion in your company:
- Train your senior managers in diversity and inclusion. These two concepts include several aspects that will help your management to deal effectively with diversity and promote a sense of inclusion among employees. (i.e. unconscious bias and active listening).
- Create a diversity and inclusion task force. Having staff dedicated to the topic will make it easier to set targets, develop relevant recruitment processes and reassert your commitment to employees.
- Put in place initiatives to show your employees that you support diversity. For example, you could create a space for new mothers who are breastfeeding, you could offer discussion groups or workshops where employees choose the theme and discuss issues important to them.
The proposals above are a first step towards incorporating a diversity and inclusion policy in your company. The topic continues to evolve, of course, and with it the related practices. So, it’s important to keep informed and build diversity in a sustainable way.
A Beautiful Green and diversity
Diversity and inclusion have an important role in a company’s social impact. We are very much aware of this and that is why we want to make our commitment clear by signing the “Luxembourg Diversity Charter”. The Diversity Charter Lëtzebuerg is a national commitment available for any organisation in Luxembourg to sign if they wish to commit to taking tangible action to promote and manage diversity beyond legal obligations. Through this commitment, we hope to promote diversity and inclusion within our company, but also within our network of responsible leaders. If you would like to discuss the topic or tell us about your diversity project, please get in touch. We’d love to talk!