The importance of diversity and inclusion in our workplace

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are becoming increasingly important for many businesses globally. They’re no longer buzzwords but valid initiatives and strategies for companies that want to widen their talent pool, be more flexible and generate more revenue.

That’s why today, we’ve been happy to celebrate diversity and inclusion within our team at FinTech Legal Center.

Thanks to the help we’ve received from the Estonian Human Rights Centre, we celebrate May as the month of diversity and inclusion with a series of initiatives. Today’s “picnic” was just one of them.

What is Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace?

At the core of developing an understanding of why diversity and inclusion in the workplace are essential lies an awareness and comprehension of what these two terms involve and how they interact with one another. Many people refer to these terms interchangeably, although there are significant differences between the two. And if there’s no proper understanding of these terms, they can’t be adequately implemented.

With that in mind, let’s look at diversity and inclusion in more detail.

What is Diversity?

At its core, diversity involves the range of races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, genders, religions, ages, and perspectives you’ll find in a specific workplace. While this might sound relatively simple, in our history so far, we have understood that diversity is a complex concept that’s not based only on one of the aspects mentioned above but on a deeper interaction between several of them.

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is when, in a specific workplace, every employee is treated fairly, equally and with respect, regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or any other diverse aspect.

In our Code of Ethics, we commit ourselves to adopting “recruitment and management of employees and collaborators that are based on fair and consistent behaviour, preventing favouritism, abuse and discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, political and trade union affiliation, language, age or disability“.

It thus involves that all our employees have access to the same resources, opportunities, and tools that all other employees have. In other words, we believe that inclusion determines how we implement diversity and the policies and processes we use to achieve a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Now, this definition of inclusion has two critical implications. For one, when inclusion is appropriately implemented, everyone feels included, respected, and part of the team. As such, their opinions are considered, and their contributions to the business are valued.

The second implication is that, without inclusion, diversity serves not much of a purpose. Simply put, businesses can have the most diverse workforce, but without the necessary inclusion practices, employees will still feel excluded and not like part of the team. This makes it vital to understand the difference between diversity and inclusion and how they interact.

Why is Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Important?

Considering the above, it’s understandable why diversity and inclusion, if done correctly, can have such a profound effect on a business. We have had a diverse workforce and implemented inclusion policies and practices from the beginning of our history. In doing so, we enjoy several benefits.

A Wider Talent Pool

When businesses foster diverse and inclusive workforces, it will also materialise in their hiring practices. They will then hire candidates that they might not have considered before. So, for example, when a business traditionally hires males for a specific position and then opens hiring to females, they’ll widen their talent pool significantly.

We hire employees from a broader, more diverse talent pool in compliance with our internal procedures. This, in effect, means more skills and expertise, which helps us solve problems and serve our customers better. An added benefit of widening the talent pool is that we also gain access to more diverse opinions, perspectives, and viewpoints, leading to many of the other benefits described below.

Agility

To a large extent, serving customers involves solving their problems and meeting their needs and expectations. However, these needs and expectations evolve, and businesses need to be flexible enough to adapt to these changes.

One of our mottos is “We don’t have problems; we have solutions”. And this is also because we have access to a range of opinions, viewpoints, and perspectives, and we can find better solutions to our customers’ challenges.

In turn, this allows us to adapt to any changing market conditions and evolving customer needs and expectations quicker. The result is that we are agile and able to serve our customers better and capitalise easier on any opportunities in the market.

More Innovation

As mentioned above, having access to a more extensive range of opinions and perspectives allows businesses to find better solutions to their customers’ challenges. In other words, companies will find new ways of solving problems.

Diversity and inclusion within our team lead to the development of better products and services, which allows us to stand out above our competition and generate more revenue.

It goes further than this, however. Increased innovation also allows us to find solutions to our own challenges. As such, we can develop workflows and business processes as efficient and effective as possible.

Better Reputation

Simply put, when businesses have diverse workforces and implement the appropriate inclusion practices and policies, they’ll have a better reputation. This has several benefits. For one, as mentioned earlier, consumers are increasingly attracted to doing business and buying from diverse companies.

Especially considering that, in a competitive marketplace, there are many similar products, our reputation could be what sets it apart from our competitors. This is especially relevant when other competing businesses do not adhere to appropriate diversity and inclusion practices.

Moreover, prospective employees actively seek out businesses with effective diversity and inclusion practices and good reputations. In this sense, we believe that we can attract the best talent.

Employee Retention

Apart from attracting the best talent, having proper diversity and inclusion practices and policies also allows businesses to retain the best talent. This is because, as mentioned earlier, diversity and inclusion enable employees to feel included, that their opinions and contributions are valued and that they’re part of a team that works toward a common goal.

Our team is continuously growing, in terms of numbers but also in terms of skills and professionalism. Diversity and inclusion help us to have employees more and more engaged. In this way, we reduce the odds they move to other businesses. We try to keep our employee turnover as low as possible to keep the best talent.

More Revenue

Ultimately, when businesses are more productive and efficient, can make better decisions, and have an engaged workforce, they’ll perform better. As a result, they’ll be able to serve their customers better and offer products and services that align with their customers’ needs and expectations.

This directly translates into the ability to generate more revenue while, at the same time, reducing costs and expenses.

How to Improve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

As founder and director of FinTech Legal Center, I’ve asked myself many times: What we can do to improve diversity and inclusion in our workplace? So here, I’ve tried to summarise some strategies that we’ve used.

Diversity and Inclusion Assessment

We conduct diversity and inclusion assessments to determine where we are from a diversity and inclusion point of view. I believe these assessments serve two primary purposes.

For one, it shows us where we are, what we need to do, and what strategies we need to implement to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Moreover, this assessment gives us a benchmark we can use to see what effect our strategies have on our diversity and inclusion practices.

Policy Implementation

Diversity and inclusion can’t be successful if businesses fail to implement the right policies. Therefore, not only do we put our diversity and inclusion policies and procedures in writing, but we commit ourselves to comply with those “rules” consistently and effectively.

In other words, our policies are not just documents we write and forget. On the contrary, we refer to them in our day-to-day activities so that they become part of our business culture.

Ongoing Training

Apart from implementing the right policies, we also focus on providing ongoing diversity training to our team. This ongoing training allows us to improve our diversity and inclusion initiatives and eliminate any shortcomings in our strategies.

The Bottom Line

Nowadays, consumers increasingly consider diversity and inclusion as essential factors when deciding to buy a service from or do business with a specific company. Moreover, many job seekers want to work for companies with the appropriate diversity and inclusion practices and policies.

We want and need to be diverse and included in a competitive marketplace. This way, we can stand out from the crowd, attract and retain the best talent, and serve our customers better.

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