Imagine if you are constantly working in an environment where people do not understand you, judge the way you work and talk, and do not appreciate your opinions and input? We all want to be heard and have that sense of belonging. If you have to constantly be on your tiptoes and pretend to be someone else, you will probably feel exhausted by the end of the week!
Promoting equality and fairness should be something that every organization addresses. Not only does it increase company’s performance but also individual wellbeing. Universal Declaration of Human Rights already declared in 1948:
All human beings should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood since we are all born free and equal in dignity and rights.
Especially now that the world has changed due to Covid19 pandemic, leaders and organizations must consider the human aspect in every question, decision and issue.
What is diversity and inclusion?
Simply put, diversity means differences and similarities between individuals and groups and how they see equality and power. Diversity is a vast topic, which means cultures across the world define diversity and its challenges differently. However, culture is one of the biggest aspects that shape our behavior and beliefs which highlights the importance of cultural intelligence.
In today’s world diversity and inclusion matter more than ever before, even though many companies have pulled back on the issue due to the crisis of Covid19. Alarmingly, about 50% of the companies that have participated in McKinsey’s diversity and inclusions studies since 2014, have made little or no progress at all. Moreover, companies that are not addressing the diversity and inclusion are actually outperforming every year more and more.
Why are diversity and inclusion important?
Diversity and inclusion are closely linked to employee engagement, which ultimately can reduce and increase employee retention, productivity and performance. In order to be successful organization, companies must engage employees, not only motivate them because disengaged employees are nine times more likely to leave the company than engaged ones.
The idea of inclusion is not only to educate for example about unconscious bias, but to promote sense of belonging where employees can contribute their unique talents and ideas. Feeling of security and belonging not only enhances innovation but also engagement when lead correctly.
I have heard so many stories about companies where meetings are held in a language that not all participants speak. Just imagine yourself sitting among your colleagues who are making jokes you do not understand, or making decisions on your behalf.
Moreover, it is quite common to switch a language to English if the other speaker has an accent. For example, in Finland, when someone is trying to make an effort to practice their Finnish skills, many Finn switch the language straight to Finnish only because the other person is speaking with an accent. What about next time someone starts a conversation in a different language, you respect their effort to practice their language skills?
Researches’ have established that diverse and inclusive companies are performing better in crisis due to their skill to make better and more courageous decision. When diversity is lead correctly and implemented into strategy, it can be one of the greatest sources of innovation, which can ultimately lead to economic success.
This is because diversity generates better decisions in complex environments thanks to the wide perceptions. In fact, McKinsey’s study (2019) found out companies which were culturally diverse were performing 36% better than their competitors!
Are you ready to develop your cultural intelligence, and build a diverse and inclusive organization?