Diversity and Inclusion: Divergent Perceptions between Leaders and Employees
During Pride Month, the topic of diversity and inclusion is being promoted by various actors who support the cause. Like many other organizations, EPSI is proud to show its support through awareness and education on the subject. In this article, you will find concrete methods that can be applied on a daily basis to promote diversity and inclusion in your company.
Since the topic can be applied in different ways, in different contexts, it can be perceived as very wide and vague. However, there are concrete actions that allow your organization to promote these values, while remaining simple and concise.
Positive impacts on the organization
“Diversity and Inclusion” is defined as the variety of people and ideas in an organization, and the creation of an environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging and is respected, valued, and interconnected, and expresses their “authentic” selves (e.g., their ideas, backgrounds, and perceptions) to the team and the organization1.
Since 2015, McKinsey has published three (3) influential reports on diversity2. In “Why diversity matters” (2015) it was shown that organizations relying on high diversity were more likely to have financial performance above their industry averages and that diversity was a competitive differentiator that, over time, shifted market share to more diverse organizations3. In “Delivering through diversity” (2018), the findings of the 2015 report were confirmed and the correlation between an organization’s level of diversity and its financial performance was reinforced4. In “Diversity wins” (2020), the report again confirmed the findings of the previous two (2) reports while admitting that, although progress was steady, the progress of diversity and inclusion was rather slow5.
Yet the consensus that seems to be emerging from the research is that more diverse organizations are better positioned to attract and recruit top talent, excel in customer service, have higher employee satisfaction, and make better decisions, all of which led to better productivity and financial performance for organizations.
Measure the success of your initiatives
A 2020 Accenture study reported that 68% of leaders claimed to create an inclusive, diverse, and safe work environment where employees can be themselves, raise concerns and issues, and innovate without fear of being judged or not measuring up6, while only 36% of employees felt the same way. This marked difference in perception shows that there is still a lot of work to be done on the subject!
Ideas or solutions to help create an inclusive and diverse culture within an organization:
- Have management and leaders committed to the process and lead by example.
- Encourage all employees to take concrete actions to demonstrate their commitment to making diversity and inclusion a priority.
- Provide opportunities for all employees to have a voice in corporate meetings, work groups, social events, etc.
- Develop policies and practices that promote diversity and inclusion.
- Integrate diversity and inclusion throughout the employee lifecycle (attraction, hiring, onboarding, training/development, retention, and departure).
- Hold diversity and inclusion trainings within the organization to educate all employees including leaders.
- Allow for mistakes and implement a process for learning from them.
- Promote openness and combat prejudice and discrimination
- Promote and encourage work/life balance
- Recognize and celebrate the important moments, customs, and traditions of all cultures within your organization.
Many other ideas or solutions can be brought to the table, but by integrating some of them, your organization will be better off!
1 Definition provided by Deloitte in its report entitled « La diversité et l’inclusion au Canada : la situation actuelle », 2014.
2 The three (3) reports are : Delivering through diversity” (2018), “Diversity wins” (2020).
3 McKinsey & Company, “Why diversity matters” (2015), https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters.
4 McKinsey & Company, “Delivering through diversity” (2018), https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/delivering-through-diversity.
5 McKinsey & Company, “Diversity wins” (2020), https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters.
6 Accenture, “Getting to Equal 2020: The hidden value of culture makers” (2020), https://www.accenture.com/us-en/about/inclusion-diversity/gender-equality?c=acn_glb_iwdn%2Fa_10904973&n=otc_0319.