From diversity to inclusion: Making your company a welcoming place to work

July 13, 2023

We hear a lot about diversity and inclusion these days, but what does it actually mean in the workplace?

Let's start with a few definitions;

#Diversity

It's the presence of a diversity of profiles, whether in terms of racial criteria, disability, philosophical or religious convictions, sexual orientation, age, wealth or marital status.

#Inclusion

Inclusion goes beyond diversity to create an environment where each individual is respected, valued and encouraged.

     🙋🏾‍♀️ ️Everyone can express themselves safely and contribute fully.

     👩‍🦽Tout everyone has equal access to the same opportunities.  

     🤝Interaction between people from all walks of life is encouraged.

Companies have begun to take steps to promote inclusion and diversity by setting up programs to recruit, retain and promote people of different origins, cultures, sexual orientations, ages and abilities.

There are still challenges ahead.

"To make a real impact, we need to treat diversity and ethnic inclusion with the same sense of urgency as climate change (...) Let's unite to create that change" Ilham Kadri, Solvay CEO.

The data shows that minorities are often under-represented in management positions and many occupational sectors. 📊

Here are some examples of areas of diversity to focus on in the workplace:

  • Gender diversity

42% of women say they have been subjected to sexist remarks at work on several occasions.

83% of transgender people say that discrimination has had a negative impact on their ability to get hired.

  • Racial and ethnic diversity

A study commissioned by the ILO (International Labour Organization) shows that applications from native Belgians and those from Belgians of foreign origin are treated differently during the recruitment process.  

  • LGBTQ+‍ diversity

Almost all LGBTQ+ people report experiencing or fearing discrimination in the workplace. In the member countries of the European Union, 33% of these people deny their sexual orientation or gender identity.  

  • Diversity of people with disabilities :

‍Accordingto FEBRAP, the employment rate for people with disabilities in Belgium is just 35%, compared with a European average of 50%. Moreover, Belgium is one of the few European countries where there is no obligation to employ people with disabilities in the private sector.

Why are diversity and inclusion so important?

Ethics aside, companies that encourage diversity and inclusion tend to be more innovative and creative, and can create a more positive corporate culture, where employees feel respected, valued and appreciated.

Diverse teams can also bring different perspectives and fresh ideas, which can lead to more informed and effective decisions.  

Here are 5 facts and figures on diversity and inclusion in the workplace:

  • ‍Profitability

‍Accordingto a study by the World Labor Organization (WLO), 75% of companies promoting gender diversity see their profits grow by between 5% and 20%.

  • Productivity

‍Accordingto Forbes, inclusive teams "make better management decisions up to 87% of the time."

  • Recruitment and retention

Glassdoor reports that 76% of employees and jobseekers say that "diversity is an important factor in evaluating companies and job offers".

  • Job satisfaction and performance

A Forrester report shows that when employees feel a sense of belonging, it leads to a 56% increase in work performance.

  • Innovation and creativity

‍Accordingto Forbes, companies with higher levels of diversity see a 19% increase in innovation sales.  

In a nutshell, encouraging diversity and inclusion in business is a way of fostering a more positive culture, improving economic performance and reducing legal risks.⚖️  

Let's go further in the fight against discrimination!

What can you do on your own scale? 

In Belgium, theUNIAthe independent public institution that fights discrimination and defends equal opportunities in Belgium, provides individual support, accompanies people who feel discriminated against, and listens to witnesses of discrimination via a reporting form or the toll-free number: 0800 12 800. If you want to be part of this fight, don't hesitate to let them know when you see a case of discrimination.

If you're managing diversity and inclusion, you can focus on creating inclusive workspaces, installing gender-neutral toilets and lactation rooms. You can also take into account the needs of a multi-generational workforce, for example in terms of communication methods or flexible working hours.

And if you want to make your team activities more inclusive then you can call on Surveco. 🎉

Ready for the next step?

Hungry for more? Check out our other blog posts!

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