By RedBalloon for Business

Diversity and inclusion are key to staff retention

One of the keys to staff retention which your business must not overlook, is the promotion and nurturing of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Australia is an incredibility diverse nation, with a wide variety of cultures, people and personalities. So it’s unsurprising that most modern workplaces are similarly diverse. The most successful business leaders are recognising the positive outcomes this diversity provides, and using it to retain their best employees.

When it comes to the workplace, diversity doesn’t just relate to where someone was born – it also describes their age, cultural background, gender, personality, ethnicity, educational levels, the way they work and learn, their socio-economic background, their beliefs and more. Here’s why diversity and inclusion are so important to staff retention, by building an exceptional company culture that your employees won’t want to leave.

Creating a company culture built on diversity

No matter what industry you’re in, you’ll likely find diverse staff across all generations and segments – and it makes sense. While race isn’t the only aspect of diversity, it does play an important role in workplace success – reports show that “racially diverse teams outperform non-diverse ones by 35%”. When it comes to gender diversity, teams where men and women are hired equally (rather than having a gender bias one way or the other) earn 41% more revenue.

So it’s clear that diversity makes for better workplaces, but what does it mean for the people? Sure, the CEOs get the benefits of a more productive workforce, but does it have any impact on staff retention? Research shows that it does. A Glassdoor report found that 67% of candidates want to join an inclusive and diverse employer. Moreover, having a diverse workforce can actually build staff camaraderie and reduce employee turnover.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the workplace

As a leader in the business, it’s important that you recognise the differences in your team, and communicate with your employees regularly to understand their different wants and needs. As you continue on your diversity and inclusion journey, you’ll realise that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that applies to every workplace. Instead, your business is unique because of its diversity.

Individuality is a fantastic trait in employees, and it’s something you should look to harness as a leader. When individuality is both celebrated and supported, employees often become more empowered and confident in their work. In turn, this increases productivity, promotes a more positive work environment and can even help your business become more attractive to jobseekers.

In all things, keep the lines of communication open and actively listen to your employees’ needs.

The role emotional intelligence plays in workplace diversity

Emotional intelligence (EQ) has become something of a buzzword in recent years – and for good reason. Leaders who tap into their EQ recognise how important it is to be flexible in their approach to employees, and especially to be responsive to their needs. A few ways you can use your own EQ to build diversity and inclusion into your workplace include:

  • Continuous feedback (one-on-one or group catch-ups).
  • Surveys to find out what your employees want – from you as their leader and from the company as a whole.
  • Team-building sessions.
  • Brainstorming meetings that include everyone – not just upper management.

People with higher EQ tend to work better as leaders and they often possess: greater self-awareness; an understanding of how different types of communication can be employed; the ability to better regulate emotions; more motivation; a wider social network; and the ability to understand and be empathetic to others.

Being emotionally intelligent means investing in free-flowing communication, open dialogue with your team and ongoing feedback. This is how you can begin to turn your company culture dream into a reality. By placing diversity and inclusion as the pillars of your culture, you’ll find that staff are happier and more positive, and will naturally want to stay with the company.

Time to build your new company culture

Now that you understand how crucial diversity and inclusion are to retaining staff, how do you go about implementing that company culture? Here are some tactics to get you started:

  • Share the decision-making process: The top-down management style has gone the way of the dodo in most modern businesses. Sharing the decision-making can have benefits like greater inclusion from siloed departments, team building, and new ideas you wouldn’t have considered on your own.
  • Be flexible: That doesn’t necessarily mean letting everyone work from home whenever they want, but recognise that your diverse team will have different needs. Maybe a new parent could use some more time working from their home office, or perhaps a younger team member needs to take a day off to upskill themselves with a course.
  • Recognise and respect different goals: Having a team of individuals means understanding that they will have different career goals. Those paths will be as diverse as your staff, so communicate with them about their aspirations and don’t treat a desire to find a work-life balance as a lack of ambition.
  • Introduce a recognition system: Also consider whether a system that recognises and rewards employees could be used to promote greater inclusion, and therefore build a stronger team.

Get it right and reap the benefits

Diversity and inclusion are terrific tools to retain your best people, but that’s not the only positive. Diverse workplaces can reap countless benefits, including:

  • Greater profits
  • A reputation boost for your brand
  • More engaged employees
  • Lower overall staff turnover
  • A wider skill set to draw upon
  • Improved creativity
  • A more productive team

It might seem like a small – but necessary – investment on the surface, but building diversity and inclusion programs into your company culture can deliver a myriad of benefits. Most importantly, it will provide a platform upon which your staff can celebrate their differences and become more inclusive with their co-workers. The result is a happier, more productive company where staff want to build their careers.

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Let the RedBalloon for Business team show you how to reward and recognise your people and build a diverse and engaged team. Contact us today to learn how.

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