What is Diversity & Inclusion & Why Do We Need it?
To begin the discussion surrounding Diversity & Inclusion let’s start with: what is diversity? Diversity is any dimension that may be utilized to differentiate groups and individuals from one another. Diversity empowers individuals by respecting and appreciating what makes them different, whether that be in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, or nationality. While also allowing for the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It means understanding one another by surpassing simple tolerance to ensure people truly value their differences. Allowing everyone to both embrace and celebrate the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual and place a positive value on diversity in the community and moreover in the workforce.
Each individual brings with them a diverse set of perspectives, work, and life experiences, as well as religious and cultural differences. The power that diversity holds can only be shown when we recognize these differences and learn to respect and value each individual regardless of their background.
Diversity however cannot work without inclusion. Inclusion is an effort in which different groups or individuals from different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted, welcomed, and treated equally. These differences could range from anything such as nationality, age, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, gender, marital status, or socioeconomic status. They can also be more inherent such as educational background, training, sector experience, organizational tenure, or even personality.
Inclusion creates a sense of belonging. Inclusive cultures allow for people to feel respected and valued for who they are as an individual or as a group. When people feel a level of supportive energy and commitment from those around them they are able to do their best work. A shift for more inclusive efforts has visible effects specifically in workplace environments, such as an increase in participation at meetings or a more cohesive and productive workplace.
The process of inclusion engages each individual and makes people feel valued as being essential to the success of the organization. Evidence shows that when people feel valued, they function at full capacity and feel more a part of the people and community surrounding them. This culture shift creates higher performing individuals where motivation and morale soar. In simple terms, diversity is the mix and inclusion is getting the mix to work well together.
Studies have shown that 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. And finally, teams that are gender, age, and ethnically diverse make better decisions up to 87% of the time.
But why do we so desperately need diversity and inclusion in our workplace? The onset of globalization has led to a demographic shift, with increased mobility in migrant workers traveling to the four corners of the globe for career progressions, and the need for a talented and skilled workforce resulting in diversity becoming a key driver in economic growth across the globe. The benefits of a diverse workforce not only provides social harmony at work for employees but also increases productivity and profitability that will help the organization to succeed in the global marketplace.
Our financial decisions can either help transform the economy or preserve the status quo. The way we spend, and moreover the way we invest, have a massive impact on policy change and government decisions. As an investor, you have the agency to support firms that put people and their wellbeing above profits, companies that raise the bar through their diversity and inclusion efforts.
Let’s transform our economy into one that aids in the equality of all of our citizens. You can make a small step in doing so by investing in Newday's soon to be released Diversity and Inclusion Portfolio. Our active support will yield benefits for years to come.
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