A diverse and inclusive company culture entices employees to come, to stay, and to be engaged, a Global Payroll Management Institute leader said in the two-part GPMI webinar “Leveraging Diversity & Inclusion for Today’s Global Economy,” sponsored by iiPay.
Nicole F. Smith, M.Ed., CDBC, Director of Instructional Design and Learning Development for GPMI and the American Payroll Association, explained that in a climate where organizations are yearning for a competitive advantage, diversity and inclusion can make the difference.
Parts 1 and 2 are available on demand for those who register for the GPMI environment.
“When our workforce does not reflect the melting pot society where we live, work, and do business in, it is not just a morality issue, it is a business issue,” Smith said. “To be profitable in a diverse world, you need a diverse team to incorporate the insights, experience, and worldviews of your customer base.”
Smith stressed that organizations can be inclusive without being diverse and can be diverse without being inclusive, explaining the difference with a quote from diversity and inclusion expert Verna Myers:
“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”
Smith has a background in learning and development and human resources and has trained organizational leaders in various industries on topics such as leadership development, project management, and emotional intelligence.
She said diversity refers to differences of all kinds, including—but not limited to—gender, age, personal values, educational opportunities, personal history, and physical ability.
“Diversity and inclusion is understanding and respecting differences and similarities between people and cultures,” she said. “And to create a positive climate for all employees to bring their best efforts to the workplace.”
Smith recommended this nine-step approach for developing or enhancing a diversity and inclusivity initiative globally and locally:
- Conduct a diversity audit and compile the data
- Identify needs and/or areas of concern
- Address policies or practices affecting diversity
- Identify business objectives
- Present a business case to get buy-in and identify a senior-level advocate
- Implement a strategic plan
- Communicate—inform, educate, engage, and empower
- Measure and disseminate outcomes
- Review, audit, and, possibly, start again at step 1
She stressed that diversity and inclusion in an organization stretches beyond the employee.
“It is all the customers you serve internally and externally,” Smith said, “And how work gets accomplished in your organization. It means welcoming the ideas and showing employees that they are being heard.”
Smith urged her audience to embrace the fact that it is normal for all human beings to have unconscious preferences and biases and that those preferences impact our decisions, including those involving people.
“If you want to raise awareness of how diversity and inclusion influences relationships and improves an organization’s bottom line, you have to understand unconscious biases. You have to be self-aware.”
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Kerry Cole is Senior Editor of Membership Publications for the American Payroll Association and the Global Payroll Management Institute.