Equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are pillars of the modern workplace, with most brands now aware that if they don’t embrace people from all walks of life, they’re going to fall behind. So, why then, are women and ethnic minorities still more likely to be let go of?
One reason that could be leading to this epidemic of diversity redundancy is a lack of knowledge about the importance of EDI. Beyond avoiding bad press, there are so many benefits to inclusive recruitment that businesses aren’t always aware of. To continue the fight for a more equal workspace and push for long-term change, we thought we’d dive deeper into how EDI can help your whole company to thrive.
What Actually Is EDI?
EDI incorporates the concept of equality, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace. To understand it properly, let’s break down each of those ideas:
Equality - treating everyone as equal, with the same rights and opportunities.
Diversity - valuing differences including (but not limited to) race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexuality, and disability.
Inclusion - creating a workplace where every employee feels respected and valued, regardless of their background or characteristics.
To build an environment where everybody has a voice, all areas of EDI need to be incorporated. For example, you can hire employees from different ethnicities and sexualities to ensure diversity, but to become inclusive you also have to give them the same progression opportunities and value their voices.
Why Is EDI Important in the Workplace?
There are a whole host of ways you can create a better workplace; from time management software for a more independent team, to allowing hybrid working for day-to-day flexibility. So why should you be focusing on EDI?
Tap into a Pool of Perspectives
One of the most amazing parts of having a diverse, inclusive workspace is the different perspectives people can bring to the table. Whether because of age, gender, ethnicity, or background, people with different life experiences will often come at problems from a new angle. Embrace unique solutions, strive for innovation, and benefit from everybody’s voice with an EDI-focused workplace.
By implementing EDI in your company, you’re likely to see a boost in both existing employee retention and interest from potential new hires. Not only does this help you attract top talent, but it also cuts costs caused by high turnover and reduces the need for constant training.
One study found that 31% of Gen Z are actively looking for employers that prioritise these practices, showing just how important EDI culture is to fresh, new talent.
Increase Employee Satisfaction
When people know they’re working in an environment that treats people fairly, their satisfaction is bound to increase. Automating internal feedback opportunities such as employee reviews will help improve wellbeing, engagement and retention within your team.
Giving employees a platform to voice their positive feedback, as well as areas in which the organisation can improve in relation to EDI, will provide valuable insights when looking to improve culture in the workplace.
In fact, one body of research found that employees are almost 10 times more likely to look forward to going to work if they’re in a space that embraces EDI. It’s also likelier that they’ll take pride in their work, ensuring you get the best out of your team.
Widen the Talent Pool
By not embracing EDI, you instantly limit your talent pool. Any prejudice and discrimination in who you hire can keep top talent away from your door, holding back the progress of your entire company. On the other hand, open yourself up to potential hires from all backgrounds and you’re much more likely to find the perfect fit.
It’s important to note here, too, that associations with discrimination are likely to put people off seeking employment from you, even if they aren’t someone you’d discriminate against. If you want your pick of the pack, embracing inclusivity is a no-brainer.
How to Improve EDI in the Workplace
Cultural inclusion and diversity in the workplace are a must. Regardless of the benefits it can bring to your work environment, implementing EDI is the fair, right way of conducting a business. With that in mind, here are some tips to improve EDI practices, creating a workforce that’s better for everyone:
Lead by Example
If you’re a manager or CEO, you have to lead by example. That means being the first to call out any derogatory or prejudiced behaviour, speaking out for those without a voice. From men talking over women in board meetings to staff using racial slurs in the office, you need to confront any negative attitudes head on. It’s also your job to champion inclusivity by celebrating different cultures and speaking positively about diversity. Where you lead, others will follow.
Develop Inclusive Recruitment Strategies
Once you’ve set the way with your management style, put your EDI goals into practice with an inclusive recruitment strategy. Make sure that you have people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities etc. across departments. If you think your hiring could be more diverse, take a look at your current strategy and see where it needs reworking to ensure you’re giving everyone an equal opportunity.
Ask for Employee Feedback
Your employees can provide a lot of useful feedback. Encourage staff to come to you about EDI improvements and let them know you actively want their suggestions. Let your team know you’re hoping to create a work environment that everybody can enjoy and that you need their help to make that happen.
Create a Safe and Supportive Space
EDI is about more than just diverse hiring. You also need to ensure that the employees you choose feel safe and respected when at work. Create a no-tolerance policy on racism, sexism, homophobia and any other sort of prejudice. Build an inclusive space that makes room for those with disabilities and provide in-office support for diverse employees. By putting the effort in, you’ll create a happy, cohesive workforce that’ll help your workforce to thrive.
In the modern day, any business that isn’t prioritising EDI is going to fall behind. But with the right focus and strong leadership, you can create a workplace that’s not just good for your brand, but for everyone in our society as a whole. Start by developing a recruitment strategy that embraces diversity with Adam and take your first step towards positive change today.