TONIKA BRUCE

Why Building a Work Culture of Inclusion, Diversity, and Belonging Is Essential Today

Table of contents

Inclusion, diversity, and belonging at work are more important than ever before. Today, companies must foster an environment where people feel valued and appreciated for their individuality, considering how technology has broken down geographical barriers. More businesses are working with people from across the world thanks to remote working.

Inclusion, diversity, and belonging are three words that have become a hot topic within professional circles and sometimes even used only for political correctness- with the implication and necessity lost. What do they mean? And what does it mean to build a workplace culture of inclusion, diversity, and belonging?

In this blog post, we will answer these questions so you can create an inclusive work environment!

We want to dive a little more into applications of workplace inclusion in 21st Century companies. We will also consider the reasons why this is crucial for business success.

Let’s start with these words themselves.

Understanding Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

The whole concept of inclusion, diversity, and belonging is about ensuring all people who want to work for your company can do so, regardless of their background or personal identity, and have a voice. That includes age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and more.

However, although these three terms are interconnected, they do not imply the same thing and can not be used interchangeably.

Here’s a quick look at each.

Diversity is the level of representation or make-up of your workforce. A diverse team allows for different perspectives and experiences, which improves the quality and innovation of ideas.

Inclusion is how well contributions, perspectives, and ideas of each group get integrated into the workplace. It is very much possible to have a diverse workplace without inclusion.

An organization may have employees from different nationalities, genders, races, or religious beliefs, but only the perspectives from certain groups influence the company decisions and drive change.

Belonging is the cord that ties the two into a harmonious work environment. When the contributions of every representative in a diverse work environment are valued, it creates a sense of belonging and emotional investment in the work.

Why Is Belonging Important?

Being part of an organization means people feel like they belong at their workplace.

People who don’t feel comfortable or welcome will either leave or become disengaged. It makes it more difficult for leaders to grow their talent pool, thereby impacting business goals.

What Does Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Look Like

Diversity is not just about numbers. It’s also about the different talents, perspectives, and backgrounds that employees bring to work. And also an equitable reward of work excellence and capability, regardless of the person. 

Inclusion focuses on belonging-creating an environment where each of the different employees can feel at home. It means giving every one of these diverse groups equal opportunities to contribute at all levels. And it can be in simple acts like acknowledging the multicultural needs of your team, such as religious and holiday celebrations.

Marrying the two is important.It is good to have a workforce cutting across diverse cultures and affiliations, but even better is giving them equal chances to be heard and succeed.

You may have 50% women in your company; great overall diversity, but not in executive or leadership positions. Or maybe you have an excellent representation of color, yet all are in a particular job or department. Such scenarios can be tell-tale signs of how well a company applies diversity and inclusion.

Why Building Diversity and Inclusion Is Essential for Your Team and Business

Creative Problem-Solving

Having diversity in the workforce can help companies tackle many problems, such as how do we reach more demographics? How about focus groups for new products or services where everyone feels valued and heard when sharing thoughts on what they want within their company.

Employee Retention

Companies with higher diversity and inclusion report lower levels of employee turnover. Women view companies with women in leadership as fair and are likely to show interest in them. A Diversity hiring survey by Glassdoor revealed that 67% of job seekers look for diversity in companies.

Inclusion is also a defining factor for people of color in the choice of workplaces.

Report by Catalyst.org shows statistics on inclusion and employee performances.

Employees’ experiences of inclusion are a result of a leader’s approach to leadership.

See the table below on inclusion experience and the employees outcomes at the company.

Inclusion experience

Feeling valued

Being trusted

Acceptance and authenticity

Psychological safety in expressing oneself

Impact on the employee (%)

Team problem-solving 49

Work engagement 35

Willingness to stay 20

Ability to innovate 18

Fosters Innovation  

Diverse teams bring new ideas that lead to higher revenue and profits. The most innovative businesses like Google, ExxonMobil, Apple – value diversity because they know it leads to better products and services that appeal to more customers.

Employee Satisfaction 

Employees who feel included on their team are happier than those who don’t. That creates a positive cycle of productivity – happy employees produce quality results.

Practical Ways to Improve Diversity & Inclusion

To build a culture that includes diverse people with your team, you must ensure inclusion and belonging.

Understanding inclusion starts with having conversations around race, gender identity, and identity. Taking this step will help discourage prejudices and increase acceptance.

Having a diverse workforce that is in synergy will help your company grow. You want to have people on board who are not only skilled but who are also passionate about the job at hand.

Some ideas to employ are:

  • diversity-focused development and mentoring programs for your team
  • Employee networking groups
  • communication
  • HR Policies centered on inclusivity

There are many ways of creating a diverse workplace culture – one example could be hiring interns from underrepresented groups to gain valuable experience within your company.

It is a fact that teams are more innovative, productive, and creative when there’s diversity. To achieve this, create incentives for employees from underrepresented groups. It can be by offering them growth opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise get without being with your organization.

Lastly, note that building diversity within your workplace does not necessarily mean hiring from underrepresented groups just because that’s where society spotlights. It’s about looking at the needs within your organization.

Metrics for Measuring the Success of Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

Most companies are already incorporating different ways to boost their efforts in this area. Even more interesting is how many of them have measures in place to track their progress and success. If you are looking at methods to track your diversity and inclusion efforts, here are three popular ones by organizations from a study by Forbes..

  • Productivity
  • Engagement
  • Turnover

Now you know what it takes to build an inclusive workplace culture and practical ways to improve diversity and inclusion. If you enjoyed reading this article, be sure to share it, follow me on social media, or leave feedback.

You may also like: Tips on How to Motivate and Inspire Your Employees.

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3 replies on “Why Building a Work Culture of Inclusion, Diversity, and Belonging Is Essential Today”

An insightful piece. And I am amazed at how thin the line is between diversity and inclusion. It easy to overlook those details in workplaces. Even though we like to think we are civillized, there’s more that can be done. I would love to see more balance in the modern work culture.

This is an exciting yet very informative article. It’s amazing how eye opening this piece is. Most companies and work places will actually be diverse but when it comes to inclusion it’s only a few who call the shots! I hope more people get enlightened with such information. Definitely sharing this.

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My name is Tonika Bruce. I am a registered nurse, a renowned author, and a serial entrepreneur passionate about leading and inspiring people.
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