TAG Contributor and Subject Matter Expert - Kari Heistad
While shifting a company’s perspective to seeing D&I as an organizational development initiative does bring about a substantial change in regard to how diversity is viewed and approached throughout the organization, this change also creates new efficiencies and business opportunities.
A few key opportunities that emerge are:
- Employees have a greater ownership in the creation of an inclusive workplace and therefore their engagement and retention rates rise.
- Creating an inclusive workplace directly improves employee interactions on all levels and thus it makes it easier for managers to manage their teams.
- Diversity and inclusion can now be aligned with company strategy and goals. Some organizational goals where diversity and inclusion can be aligned are:
- Employee Engagement: As the workplace becomes more inclusive, employees feel more empowered to be creative; this results in more focused and efficient work.
- Employee Retention: Employees working in an inclusive workplace are more likely to remain with the organization. This reduces costs both from a recruitment perspective, but also of the institutional knowledge that is lost when a key employee leaves.
- Customer Service: Unhappy employees rarely give great customer service. As employees become more engaged and productive, they are also going to provide better customer service. This in turn helps with customer retention.
- Innovation: While many people may think that innovation and creativity is the result of getting a diverse group of people together, this is not always the case. Diverse groups are innovative when the people involved have the skills to communicate and collabo- rate with respect. By building an inclusive culture, employees that come together in work teams will already have the necessary skills to effectively communicate. This in turn creates an environment that can foster the interactions and thought necessary for innovation and creativity.
It is an exciting time in the field of diversity and inclusion. Diversity practitioners are now on the cusp of a great opportunity to bring their work directly into the heart of their organization by initiating an organizational change process and running diversity as an organizational development initiative. This change can profoundly alter how organizations work and grow. For those who come to this work based upon their deep desire to make the world a better place, there has never been a better time than now to put those convictions into practice. Together we can create workplace cultures that celebrate, honor and leverage the diversity of the human experience and perspectives that employees bring. Let’s make this opportunity count.
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