Elevating Employee Experience By Embracing Diversity and Inclusion — By Lydiah Igweh

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The future of employee experience is changing, and with it, so is the employer-employee psychological contract. Employees want more than pay, perks and traditional workplace satisfaction factors. They desire meaningful work, supportive management, leaders they can trust, growth opportunities and a positive work environment.

More than ever, no matter their age, race, or gender, top employers seek inclusive workspaces where all the pieces of their whole selves are considered assets rather than weaknesses. Sadly, that’s not the case for most workers.

Making Inclusion central to organizational culture and employee experience doesn’t happen overnight; through a commitment from leaders, organizations can begin taking steps to ensure that all employees feel valued, celebrated, and trusted. Furthermore, business leaders are in a unique position to enrich the entire employee journey, from the start of the application process, to hiring and onboarding, to the day-to-day work, all the way through to retirement and departure.

This article puts forward three considerations to improve the employee experience with Diversity and Inclusion.

CHANGE IS EVIDENT

Organizations must focus on Diversity and Inclusion to enhance employee engagement, retain high performing talent, and ensure a happy and productive workforce. Research shows that improved employee experience boosts customer experience and business ROI.

According to PWC research organizations invest at unprecedented rates in D&I programmed, with 76% now saying it is a value or priority.

Additionally, Deloitte’s latest Report on Global Human Capital Trends highlights ‘Belonging’ at the top of the most critical human capital issues. Seventy-nine per cent of organizations surveyed said that fostering a sense of belonging in the workforce was essential to their organization’s success in the next 12–18 months, and 93 per cent agreed that a sense of Belonging drives organizational performance.

A study by Better Up found that employees who are satisfied with their organization’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusion are twice as engaged as dissatisfied employees as workplace belonging can lead to an estimated 56 per cent increase in job performance, a 50 per cent reduction in turnover risk, and a 75 per cent decrease in employee sick days.

Conversely, the study also found that a single incidence of “micro-exclusion” can lead to an immediate 25 per cent decline in an individual’s performance on a team project. Therefore, businesses that don’t embrace D&I leave employees vulnerable to a negative experience.

PRIORITISING EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

Lead with Empathy — Employee Experience is about empathy, and it’s also a substantial core business value. All influential leaders should understand that employees are people with hopes, dreams, families and feelings, and should be able to put themselves in others’ shoes to understand what another person is experiencing.

A 2019 report from Business Solver indicated that 82% of employees would consider leaving their job for a more empathetic organization.

Diversity and Inclusion can sometimes be a single initiative owned exclusively by HR. But for real change to happen, every individual leader needs to buy into the value of belonging both intellectually and emotionally, as Belonging is a fundamental human need.

Complete an empathy test to understand where the business stands and consider assessing empathy at the start of the employment journey as a critical starting point, particularly for candidates applying for leadership positions. For sustainability, ensure there are ongoing development opportunities where leaders are empowered to increase their empathy, for example, through performance reviews and evaluations as well as annual leadership training.

Would you like to share your story or expertise with our readers? Contact our editor-in-chief, Rafael dos Santos, by clicking here.

Review the End-to-End Employee Experience

Meeting recruitment targets supports diversity quota, but the inclusive employee experience progresses far beyond an offer letter. Critically analyse the end-to-end employee experience to create holistic conditions that promote Inclusion on a day-to-day basis and design ways to measure the impact.

The Deloitte Simply Irresistible Organization™Model challenges organizations to rethink the roles, structure, tools, and strategy used to design and deliver an integrated employee experience.

Creating inclusive and diverse workplaces requires adapting operational processes, identifying areas for improvements, accepting it and working to change it.

Create Opportunities for Connectedness

Employees want to see their organizations play an active part in the global community, and an important part of this is that they should be including people of all cultures, ethnicities, sexual orientations, socio-economic status, beliefs and values, to name a few. Create shared experiences by enabling interpersonal interactions and connection with others, so employees can feel that they are part of a community and experience a sense of Belonging, an essential part of creating a collective whole.

Social connectedness also buffers stress and supports employee wellbeing. Opportunities designed for employees to volunteer together in their communities to give back and forge deeper connections with one another enables employees to experience and participate in other environments and creates opportunities to understand each other better.

Ready to take the next step?

Embracing D&I initiatives to improve the employee experience makes desirable organizations and happier, smarter and more successful workplaces as it contributes to increased job satisfaction, employee retention, and ROI.

Don’t get left behind, commit to putting people first, fully seeing, appreciating and engaging all their talent, and designing more effective ways to attract, retain, engage, and enable a diverse workforce.

Lydiah Igweh is the Director of Enterprise Support at Oxford Brookes University. With over 17 years of C-level Business Development, Marketing and Strategy experience, Igweh specializes in innovation, entrepreneurship, organizational change, leadership and digital transformation. She’s committed to championing women in business and advancing race equality. Lydiah enjoys writing, mentoring future young leaders with EY Foundation, public speaking and presenting.

Would you like to share your story or expertise with our readers? Contact our editor-in-chief, Rafael dos Santos, by clicking here.

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Rafael dos Santos

Rafael dos Santos

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Rafael dos Santos is the CEO of highprofileclub.com, editor-in-chief of High Profile Magazine and founder of Bestofbrazilawards.com