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With diversity, equity and inclusion – or DEI – at the workplace being a hot topic in recent years, it is an important tool for both talent attraction and retention. As Deloitte previously found, teams that are diverse work well together, address changing customer needs proactively and innovate better, leading to improved business performance. A key aspect of organisational culture, DEI values cannot be underestimated at the workplace.
Diversity and inclusion are often used interchangeably. Yet, they have varied meanings. At the same time, equity is misunderstood to mean equality when they focus on vastly different aspects:
Diversity: Companies that hire multicultural teams and people of various physical abilities are considered to be diverse.
Equity: When employees are provided with fair treatment in terms of access, opportunities and advancements based on their individual needs, the company is said to be practising equity. This goes beyond meritocracy by paying attention to what more an employee needs to attain a goal.
Inclusion: Extending the potential of equity, inclusive policies ensure that employees receive equal access to opportunities and resources, regardless of their socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
The benefits of embedding these values in an organisation’s culture are multifold:
Many businesses – especially global companies – struggle to articulate and implement policies that establish a diverse and inclusive workplace. This often happens when there are insufficient structures in place to eliminate the cultural issues that often plague increasingly isolated global teams.
Following these simple guidelines, however, can go a long way in turning things around.
When DEI is at the heart of your business strategy, you ensure that these values are upheld as priority in all levels of decision-making, instead of as a secondary objective, or worse, as an afterthought. One example of this includes the openness to hire candidates regardless of their backgrounds. The inclusion of prayer rooms and nursing pods as part of your office floor plan can also send the message to employees and potential hires that the needs of the organisation’s people are important.
There are typically two key drivers of organisation culture – management and those working on the ground. Having role models who drive the message of diversity, equity and inclusion up and down the hierarchy can help to cement such values into the organisational culture. You may, for instance, establish a code of conduct for managerial-level employees which can guide them against implicit bias. At the same time, offering employees feedback avenues to hear their needs can give employees a space to voice their concerns and challenges, allowing for more informed policy implementation.
Companies that acknowledge and respect the various cultural and religious backgrounds of employees create a workforce that feels appreciated, accepted and welcomed. These can be as simple as holding annual feasts in lieu of religious and cultural holidays, while ensuring everyone’s interests and needs are met. For instance, a feast on Christmas eve can also include a spread of Halal and vegetarian dishes to cater to respective societal groups who are part of the organisation.
Not all DEI policies will hit the ground immediately. Being a long-term endeavour, your pursuit to greater diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace must start with a strong understanding of your organisation's dynamics. At the same time, being receptive to change can help you establish a culture that facilitates greater work satisfaction, accomplishment and growth.
At DHL Express, we champion for diversity, equity and inclusion to overcome cultural challenges, so that we can keep our global teams as one united whole, while celebrating their uniqueness and leveraging them for success. This has allowed us to drive internal productivity and greater success for our customers, and one of them can be you. Why not create a DHL Express business account to learn how our global teams work incredibly well together while delivering their best international express courier services to you?