“Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.” — Author Unknown
Executive Order 10925, signed by President John F. Kennedy on March 6, 1961, required government contractors to “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.”
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy continued his policy of affirmative action and issued another mandate, Executive Order 11114. The order supplemented to his 1961 executive order declaring it was the “policy of the United States to encourage by affirmative action the elimination of discrimination in employment.”
President John F. Kennedy’s Affirmative Action policies with a few tweaks are today’s diversity and inclusion policies. It isn’t government mandated. It is economically mandated and companies must practice diversity and inclusion. Diversity today isn’t just people of different races and women but people of different sexual orientation, ages, and religions. Inclusion is not only hiring a diverse staff but including everyone in planning and decision making. Studies have proven that a diverse and inclusive staff equals greater profits for companies of all kinds.
Deloitte Australia research found that inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80% in team-based assessments. According to Forbes Magazine: “Companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers.” McKinsey research says: Gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same.
It isn’t enough for a company to be diverse. Once the diverse staff is in place, a company must ensure it is inclusive. According to the Harvard Business Review, inclusion has positive outcomes such as reduced turnover and employees who feel included are more likely to share information and join in decision making. The Harvard Business Review gives four reasons why inclusiveness might be hard to achieve:
- People gravitate toward people who are like them. Business leaders often hire and promote people who share their attitude and behavior. They unknowingly have a “prototypes for success.” Managers must take a hard look at who is being hired and promoted, and who they are listening to, to ensure inclusiveness.
- Subtle biases persist and lead to exclusion. A recently completed study demonstrated that individuals who were racially different from their supervisors felt discrimination in the form of less supervisor support and lower relationship quality. Researchers refer to this as “subtle bias,” unconsciously stereotyping people who are different from oneself. Managers need to ensure the professional development of all employees by giving them all access to training and other opportunities.
- Employees sometimes try to conform. People who are different from the majority will downplay their differences and try to fit in. When unique employees move towards the norm of the majority, that negates the positive impact of having diversity within the company. Leaders need to seek out and encourage differences.
- Employees from the majority group often feel excluded from diversity initiatives and perceive reverse favoritism. Companies must include all employees in all programs, and make everyone accountable.
A company that celebrates diversity and includes all its employees in the celebration is on the path to success. Please contact us for advice on how to make your business more diverse and inclusive or for any of your hiring needs. Let’s find your “Perfect Fit.”