According to a 2018 Atlassian study, State of Diversity and Inclusion in U.S. Tech, less than 30 percent of underrepresented employees feel a sense of belonging in their workplace. By and large, most diversity and inclusion initiatives focus primarily on recruitment and increasing the representation of various demographics in the workforce, with little attention given to inclusion—although research has shown that increases to diversity alone do not improve inclusion.
One reason companies have focused on diversity, as opposed to inclusion, is because it is easy to measure diversity—it is simply a matter of headcount. Traditionally, trying to quantify feelings of inclusion was difficult for organizations to measure. However, it is important to incorporate quantifiable and data-driven strategies to measure inclusion, in order to drive the necessary cultural and structural changes needed in the workplace.
What many companies struggle with, it turns out, is not solving problems, but figuring out what the problems actually are—especially when it comes to creating inclusive workplaces. At Kanarys, we have constructed a unique and robust framework for measuring inclusion, to help companies promote a sense of belonging among their employees in the workplace. Our data-driven approach and methodology rely on artificial intelligence and responsive, anonymous, quantitative surveys, to provide actionable insights in order to promote an environment where all employees feel included and empowered.
Understanding employees’ daily lived experiences in the workplace is key and fundamental to understanding an organization's’ inclusiveness. However, fear of retaliation and retribution prevents most employees from holding back true and authentic feedback. Benchmarking key aspects of an organization’s culture—and understanding the employee experience—is important to understand in order to promote lasting inclusion.
Diversity without inclusion inevitably results in missed opportunities with diverse talent because they no longer feel empowered to contribute and lead. However, if you have both diversity and inclusion, retention and engagement for all employees increases–resulting in a potent mix of innovation, collaboration and success.
Instead of asking “how can we acquire more diverse employees?” we should be asking, “what is it about our systems and culture that prevents us from retaining diverse talent?” Employers must, therefore, recognize that hiring a few “diverse” employees alone is not enough and that inclusive cultures don’t just happen. They are intentional.
I invite businesses to re-focus their efforts on true diversity, equity, and inclusion and help create workplaces where their employees have a true sense of belonging.
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