Importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace
No business that wants success in the 21st century can afford to ignore the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. It’s a critical concern for businesses that wish to sustain success by reflecting the populations they wish to serve.
Business executives have not always focused on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. That no longer is the case at forward-thinking organizations. Many human resource professionals now specialize in DEI, helping create better workplaces and serving to enhance DEI strategic initiatives.
Touro University Worldwide offers a DEI concentration in its Master of Science in Human Resource Management degree program. Students learn to create an inclusive workplace culture, promote diversity, and develop equitable programs and practices.
Why Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace is Important
Businesses now consider DEI a business imperative in the global marketplace. DEI has gone beyond simply an HR program and become a business strategy. Each area of DEI covers various aspects of creating a better workplace for the 21st century.
Diversity: Diversity involves hiring people of different races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, ages, and socioeconomic statuses to create a workplace that reflects the community that businesses strive to serve.
Equity: Achieving equity requires a focus on eliminating outcome disparities among people from different demographic groups. Examples include salary disparities between men and women in the same job or the lack of people of certain races or gender in some industries. Businesses strive to create policies that lead to similar outcomes for all.
Inclusion: Inclusion involves getting a diverse workforce to work in harmony and create better business outcomes. Inclusion also means ensuring each person feels their voice is heard and contributes to overall business success.
How Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Improve the Workplace
The benefits of DEI extend to the entire company workforce and the overall success of the business. As National Diversity Council founder Dennis Kennedy writes: “The business case for diversity and inclusion grows stronger as each day passes.”
Research continues to show a strong strategic advantage for businesses that put policies in place that support DEI. These include:
- Increased perceptions of fairness and justice in the workplace
- Higher levels of creativity and innovation
- The ability to effectively understand the needs of broader customers
Among employees, DEI supports the elimination of bullying, victimization, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace.
How to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
While businesses increasingly understand the need for DEI, not all of them understand DEI itself. Surveys reflect these misperceptions, showing that while 70 percent of companies believe they effectively attract and retain diverse employees, only 11 percent understand what diversity means.
Still, the commitment is there. About 75 percent of Fortune 1000 companies have launched DEI efforts. These efforts toward DEI make HR professionals well-versed in diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace more valuable.
While DEI is important company-wide, most policies start in HR. Best practices for creating a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace include the following.
Get leadership onboard: Executives and high-level managers must have strong buy-in for DEI initiatives and also serve as models and advocates.
Educate and celebrate employee differences: This includes events that celebrate the diversity of the workplace and call attention to its positive impacts. It’s also key to include remote employees.
Communicate to employees: Explain DEI efforts to all employees. Establish clear goals and give updates on reaching those goals. Another key area of communication is establishing policies that ensure all voices are heard on business decisions.
Improve meetings: Establish rules to make meetings that attain DEI standards. In addition to inviting a diverse group of people, leaders should structure meetings to allow more people to get the chance to speak while also promoting healthy debate.
TUW’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Concentration
The 100% online MS in Human Resource Management degree gives students the chance to focus on DEI as a concentration. The nine semester hours in the concentration include the following courses.
- Creating an Inclusive Work Culture: Students learn to use a respectful workplace perspective to examine workforce strategy. They also explore workplace prejudice and discrimination and methods to foster inclusion.
- Diversity in the Workplace: Students learn how to define workplace diversity, the benefits of fostering workplace diversity, and the creation of programs to enhance and retain a diverse workforce.
- Equitable Workplace Practices and Programs: Students learn workplace practices and programs that do not disenfranchise groups of employees and protected classes. Students also learn how to counteract the elements of bias that can enter decision-making.
Earning an MS in Human Resource Management with a concentration on diversity, equity, and inclusion teaches future HR managers the hiring, promotion practices, and training that promotes an inclusive workplace. It’s a degree that prepares graduates as HR leaders for the modern workforce.