We’ve been focusing on different aspects of corporate social responsibility and the importance for organizations to continue with authenticity, empathy, and dedication for better social well-being. This month, we focus on Diversity and Inclusion.
Recently, we focused on sustainability and leading with empathy when dealing with both employees and customers. Empathy is also one of the first necessary steps to truly understand the need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It is unfortunate, however, that often D&I only gets pressing focus during particular times of the year, and not year-round, as it should. This is typically because of how sympathy vs. empathy is used when it comes to D&I, and sympathy has been shown to be short lived, leading to revolving trends versus permanent changes in corporate culture.
What is diversity and inclusion?
Well, to explain, the two halves have to be clarified separately. Diversity encompasses all the things that make people different from one another—race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, etc.—and how in the workplace, all of them can be employees and work together. The idea is they should reflect the world around them and not just one segment. Inclusion in the workplace refers to how the diverse workforce works together, feels welcome and safe, and provides a sense of belonging.
Diversity and Inclusion work together to provide a better workplace and corporate culture that extends to customers and the world. How? Look at these statistics from Global Diversity Practice:
- Businesses with a healthy balance of men and women are 21% more likely to outperform their competitors.
- Businesses with a good mix of ethnic backgrounds are 33% more likely to outperform their competitors.
- Teams that have gender, age, and ethnic diversity make better decisions up to 87% of the time.
Why is diversity important to corporate social responsibility?
“Both D&I and social responsibility are about reaching out to disenfranchised communities, bringing new insights to the table, and driving collaborative solutions.”
-Rohini Anand, Global Chief Diversity Officer, Sodexo
Corporate reputation and brand equity is critical to success, and D&I fosters positive brand identity, a strong image, and improved reputation. It can also assist in greater corporate culture (when we truly understand each other), better emotional intelligence (when we recognize and accept differences), and improved chances to innovate customer experiences.
Including D&I within your CSR initiatives is also a way of raising the satisfaction, loyalty, and approval for your organization from both your internal and external customers. On the one hand, you are providing a safe, stable, and conducive work environment centered on collaboration and putting people first, while also creating a community feel with your customers. The benefits from this can lead to both intangible and tangible returns for your business.
How to embrace it
There are many ways you can build on D&I within an organization and share it with the world in CSR initiatives. We’re sharing a few inspiring examples of how thinking of others and ensuring they belong can go a long way.
- Degree designed the world’s first inclusive deodorant for people with visual impairment and upper limbs disabilities, Degree Inclusive.
- XEROX instilled community-focus and empowerment through their Xerox Community Involvement Program, Women in the Workplace initiative, and Black History at Xerox Podcast.
- LEGO started their “Build the Change” program to give children a voice to tackle the challenges they face and include them as world citizens after receiving a letter from a 9-year-old child.
The point of it all
Diversity and Inclusion, much like environment-focused programs, are all part of using CSR to create a better world. As we know better, it’s our obligation to be better … workers, companies, humans in a world that can sometimes appear very scary.
Now is the best time to get feedback from your employees and consumers about what matters most to them, and use that info to decide which initiatives to start with. Checking the pulse of your employees and customers can lead to deeper knowledge and better relationships. Don’t know where to start? We’re here to support your efforts!