The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Modern Workplace Leadership
Everyone deserves a workplace where they are seen and valued. People won’t feel that way if none of their co-workers looks like them or has a similar life experience. Management teams and business owners need to recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, specifically within leadership positions. Diverse leaders are the best way to prove a company’s commitment to innovation and its support for change.
Here’s why filling leadership positions with underrepresented individuals is a long-term effort with numerous benefits. It’s something that helps everyone thrive and ensures success for companies with inclusive leaders.
New People Bring New Perspectives
Fresh perspectives are the first significant benefit of improving diversity and inclusion in leadership roles. People gain incredible skills and problem-solving abilities no matter where they come from, so why limit leadership positions to one group of people?
Diverse leaders know how to customize policies and solutions for their team members or customers. They will also bring a more comprehensive education background to the table, which makes it easier to innovate significant business initiatives. When everyone has a different perspective, they can spot problems and create solutions with their unique voice.
Representation Empowers Employees
If anyone wonders why diversity and inclusion are critical in the workplace, consider how many people at your current or former job felt comfortable speaking up. When marginalized individuals experienced discrimination or sexual harassment, did they feel comfortable reporting it? They may not bring their concerns to management if the people in leadership can’t empathize because they haven’t experienced the same thing before.
Women currently make up 45% of legal associates, but only 19% of equity partners in corporate and private firms. They may not address workplace problems with their management teams because men fill the majority of the positions. Male employees might not see sexism in the workplace as a problem because it hasn’t happened to them.
Inclusion in the modern workplace also shows that anyone can advance with hard work. It’s the American dream, but many stop believing it’s possible because they don’t see management positions filled with people of color, those from the LGBTQ community or individuals with disabilities.
Clients Want Diverse Personal Connections
If you’re trying to learn how to prioritize diversity and inclusion in leadership roles, look to your clientele or target audience. People want to have a personal connection with their preferred brands, but they won’t feel that way if companies don’t feature people who look like them or come from the same background. More people will buy products from companies with inclusive management teams, leading to an average 19% revenue boost across numerous industries.
Inclusion Increases Employee Satisfaction
People are happier when they feel comfortable. Diversity and inclusion in leadership roles show people they can live as their authentic selves without worrying about career repercussions or judgment. When one banker switched careers and became a talent acquisition specialist with a new company, he found that fear limited his potential and productivity until his new team purposefully began conscious diversity hiring efforts.
When nerves and fear get chased out of the workplace, people are free to speak up, pursue their dreams and focus on the task at hand. Businesses deal with less turnover and teams retain their talent because everyone knows they’re safe from judgment. It’s an important reason why diversity and inclusion are critical in the workplace and should become a priority for teams in every industry.
Diversity Improves Business Profitability
Anyone looking to learn how to prioritize diversity and inclusion in leadership roles can also pitch new hiring strategies based on profitability. It may seem like a cold way to approach the topic, but the promise of profiting can make even the most distant cynic support diversity and inclusion in leadership roles.
Research shows that companies with culturally and ethnically diverse boards make 43% more profits than those without diversity initiatives. Consumers understand the power of their purchasing choices, so they’ll go where they see themselves represented.
Prioritize Diversity and Inclusion
Now that you know more about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, seek to make it a reality in your current company or future job. When people feel represented and valued for their authentic selves, they’ll be happier, contribute more to their team and help everyone thrive alongside them.
Ginger Abbot is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Classrooms.com, a learning publication for college students, career professionals and educators.