Why Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Is Important

By Rad Aswani

Consumers these days have an excess of options at their fingertips. Whether they’re streaming videos, ordering lunch, booking a vacation, or choosing an awesome virtual office, you can bet there are plenty of choices out there.

How do you win in this situation? By giving consumers something beyond a great product or service: a cause that they can align with. And for many consumers, diversity, and inclusion are strong reasons to align with a company.

It’s no surprise that consumers want to see themselves reflected in their chosen company — and that’s where diversity comes in. By dipping into the ever-widening pool of talent, your company can gain access to invaluable opinions, cultures, ideas, and more that will help you speak to your customers. See why diversity should be a huge part of your recruitment strategy.

So, let’s talk about inclusion and diversity, why they matter, and how you can implement them in your organization to the benefit of all.

What is diversity and inclusion?

Let’s start by defining inclusion and diversity as they relate to the workplace.

Diversity: Hiring and involving people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, beliefs, ages, etc. in your organization.

Inclusion: Ensuring that your employees all feel like they belong and are welcome in the workplace.

Diversity and inclusion are interconnected, but it is possible to have one without the other. For example, if your organization treats all of its employees equally, but those employees are all from similar backgrounds, that’s an inclusive yet non-diverse workforce. Likewise, you may have a very diverse team, but place more value on some employees — that’s a diverse but not inclusive workforce.


The benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Why are diversity and inclusion so important? Aside from just being the right thing to do, prioritizing inclusion and diversity is also very good for your employees, your customers, and your business. Here are five excellent benefits that you can enjoy when you strive to create an inclusive and diverse company.

1. Increased innovation and creativity

Innovation can lead to market growth and one of the best ways to encourage innovation is by diversifying your team. Diverse teams bring new views and experiences to the table, making it easier for team members to collaborate and come up with ideas that are outside of the box.

2. Enhanced problem-solving abilities

Want your team to have all kinds of skills? Then you need to hire all kinds of people! Different backgrounds and experiences give people their skill sets, and you’ll never know when someone’s unique perspective and talents will come in handy for your team.


3. Improved employee engagement and retention

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a diverse workforce is a happier workforce. A lack of diversity and inclusion can lead to increased resignation rates and sky-high turnover. When you promote diversity and inclusion, you create a welcoming company culture that will make your team feel more comfortable at work. A strong team culture has a huge effect on whether or not your employees stay with your company.

4. Expanded market reach and customer understanding

When someone on your team has something in common with your client or customer, you suddenly have important insight into your end user. With that knowledge, now your entire team gains a new understanding of your customers, which can be invaluable when it comes to marketing and customer service management.

5. Greater financial performance

Increased innovation, higher morale and employee retention, and more teamwork don’t just lead to a happier work environment, they can also be great for your bottom line. Diverse workforces are often more productive and efficient than homogenous workforces, and there are many reasons:

  • Diverse companies are happier companies, and employees are more likely to stick with your organization when they’re happy.
  • Employees that are cared for and respected are more likely to do better work because they care about their team and their job.
  • Well-respected companies attract exceptional talent, which can also boost your business.
  • Innovative and creative ideas can help your business stand out from the competition.

Understanding equity: the third pillar

Now that we understand diversity and inclusion, it’s time to add one more important definition to the mix. Equity. Together, these three ideas are known as DEI.

In this situation, equity isn’t about money but rather about how you treat your employees. Like inclusion, equity is about offering fair treatment to everyone. It means that every employee is respected and afforded equal opportunity to advance and given access to training, tools, etc., that they need to do their jobs.

The intersection of diversity, equity, and inclusion

Equity is closely linked to diversity and inclusion but also provides a new dimension to this important concept. Think of it like a triangle:

If you have a team that is made up of people from all backgrounds and who’ve had all kinds of experiences, that’s diversity.

If every member of your team feels like they belong to your group, that’s inclusion.

If every person on your team has access to the same tools, opportunities, and treatment, that’s equity.

When you put all three together, you create a strong culture that isn’t just appealing to employees, it’s also better for your organization. When one of these elements is missing, you won’t experience the same benefits as a team that’s figured out the DEI triangle.

How to address systemic barriers

Of course, as much as we all want to implement DEI, it’s not always easy. Many organizations find that certain barriers are getting in the way of their good intentions. Some common barriers include:

  • Unconscious biases
  • A resistance to change
  • Leadership that is not dedicated to DEI
  • Unclear goals and inadequate training
  • No way to measure impact
  • Financial restrictions

The most effective way to avoid these barriers is to have a plan in place to address them. Make DEI a priority and, if necessary, city data and sources that will back up your desire to implement DEI efforts in your team and organization.


Implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace

Changing the way your team and company see DEI can be a nerve-wracking task, especially if you’ve received pushback to DEI efforts or ideas in the past. Fortunately for all those who feel overwhelmed about implementing DEI, building diversity, equity, and inclusion in your workplace is a long-term effort. Follow these steps, don’t give up, and little by little, you’ll start seeing a change.

Develop a clear DEI strategy

Like any good strategist, you should spend some time considering and developing your DEI program before it begins. While DEI strategies may vary, they should all include a plan that will:

  • Create a safe space where your team feels comfortable talking about their experiences, opinions, and ideas.
  • Make sure that everyone has a chance to contribute.
  • Allow team members to make (or share in making) important decisions.
  • Celebrate small successes and give credit to contributing team members.
  • Place importance on asking for and offering usable feedback.

Give your team opportunities to get to know one another (i.e. virtual office parties, game nights, service opportunities, etc.)

Establish inclusive leadership and a strong company culture

How can you expect a diverse team to flourish in an organization that doesn’t prioritize diverse leadership? Creating a culture of diversity and belonging starts from the top.

Organizations should focus on providing hiring diverse leaders and providing everyone with the proper diversity training and tools. Leaders should also acknowledge and respect the different cultural influences that each team member brings to the table and should strive to implement leadership styles that allow team members to thrive in the workplace.


Implement equitable hiring and promotion practices

Equitable hiring and promotion will go a long way to creating a fair work environment. To achieve this goal, don’t promote the same people or the same demographics, reward employees based on merit, and be transparent about opportunities and promotion or hiring decisions.

Provide diversity and inclusion training and resources

With all the barriers to DIE, it’s important to establish effective diversity training and create applicable resources. Diversity training may include anything from basic diversity training to foster empathy and acceptance in the workplace, to skills-based training that will teach employees the best way to communicate with each other, to audits that HR can use to test the office waters (and team relationships).

Continuously measure and improve DEI initiatives

How do you know if your DEI efforts are working? Consistent monitoring, testing, and adjusting, that’s how! There are several ways you can obtain feedback to measure the impact of your DEI initiative:

  • Survey employees anonymously
  • Study the company metrics (especially retention, representation, and pay)
  • Take a look at the company demographics

Build better relationships with your team and ask them outright


Examples of inclusion and diversity in the workplace

We’ve spent a lot of time talking the talk — now it’s time to meet some companies who walk the walk when it comes to DEI. Here are four companies that are putting some serious effort into making sure their workplaces are diverse, inclusive, and equitable.

1. Kumospace

Kumospace takes pride in a people-first company culture that’s designed to help employees create connections by providing a caring team culture in addition to exciting tools, technology, and opportunities. The company emphasizes all three parts of DEI to ensure employees and customers are taken care of. As a result, this global team is empowered by diversity, well-equipped to embrace differences and reach creative solutions.

2. Accenture

This consulting company operates globally and has vocalized its strong commitment to DEI. Accenture leaders have recognized that DEI not only benefits employees, but also helps their business grow, remain relevant, and create valuable offerings for its clients. The company strives to hire and maintain a balanced workforce, supports the LGBTQ+ community, and is actively seeking new ways to become more accessible to non-traditional talent.

3. Progressive

This company puts DEI at the front of its business. You can find it all right on their website, where they promise commitment to maintaining a diverse, fair, and equal workplace that doesn’t stifle ideas or communication. With upper leadership espousing strong DEI values, the result has been that Progressive often scores high when it comes to diversity, workplace experience, benefits, support from management and teams, and more.

4. Cisco

Cisco compares DEI to a bridge that brings different viewpoints and experiences together for the benefit of the employees and the business. By emphasizing DEI in the various facets of their company, Cisco Systems facilitates innovation, creativity, and productivity and have often been named one of the best places to work by its employees.

Lessons learned

Perhaps the most important takeaway from these real-life examples is that you get out of your DEI efforts what you put into them.

Again and again, we see that focusing on building a diverse, inclusive, and equitable culture takes time, but that time is ultimately well-spent. More often than not, the companies that prioritize DEI are the same ones that retain their employees, have happy customers, and enjoy steady growth.


DEI challenges and how to overcome them

Chances are that you’re going to run into a few problems while implementing your DEI program. Don’t let the challenges stand in your way! Here are some of the most common roadblocks that companies experience and what you can do to avoid or mitigate the.

Addressing resistance to change

Some people have a hard time jumping on board DEI initiatives. This might be because they connect DEI efforts to organizational changes or feel threatened by the efforts because they see opportunities as a zero-sum game.

If anyone tries to defend the current system, you must help them recognize the inherent advantages of the DEI system. Share the facts: creating a company with a strong and welcoming culture is a win for everyone involved — majority and minority alike. Some people may respond more enthusiastically to the business case of DEI, while others will be swayed by the human-oriented benefits.

Navigating legal and compliance issues

DEI isn’t just morally right — in many cases, it’s also about compliance. While laws require things like equal pay for equal work, and equal opportunities for people regardless of gender, orientation, ethnicity, etc. these laws are more about restricting bad behaviors than promoting good behaviors.

It’s imperative that you know and understand anti-discrimination laws, fair pay laws, and other protective laws. However, your company should strive to go beyond the letter of the law and make your workplace not just legally compliant, but ethically compliant as well by treating your employees with dignity, protecting them from unfair policies, and fostering a warm and welcoming culture.

Ensuring long-term commitment and sustainability

It’s easy to get excited about DEI efforts when you first implement them, but what about later down the road? One of the most significant challenges you’ll face is maintaining your DEI initiatives over the years.

Be sure to monitor and adjust your program as needed. Make honest and open communication a priority, so that if your team notices something amiss, they’ll feel comfortable coming to you. And remember, you’re not in this alone. From management to employees, everyone has a stake in DEI efforts.


The end result: a better workplace

Diversity and inclusion are hot words in business, but unlike some of the other fads we see come and go, these ideas are incredibly meaningful. A workplace that prioritizes DEI tells its customers and employees that the organization cares about something more than profit — it cares about people.

We hope you can use these DEI tips and information to implement meaningful practices in your organization. Remember, whether you’re working out of a traditional office or you’re leading a hybrid or remote team, there’s always something you can do to promote DEI.

For example, did you know that one of the most popular ways to create a more equitable workplace is to take it online? Allowing your employees to work remotely can help boost their wellness, happiness, and productivity, and can make life a bit easier for people who have a hard time getting to the office every day. It’s a simple but effective change — and Kumospace can make it easier than ever!

Our platform was designed with virtual events and virtual workspaces in mind, so it’s got everything that you and your team need to succeed. Want to learn more? Sign up for your free trial today or browse our site to learn more about Kumospace and how we can help you and your team enjoy a better workplace.


What is diversity and inclusion?

Diversity simply means that an entity is made of different elements. In business, a diverse workforce includes people of all different backgrounds, genders, abilities, orientations, ethnicities, and cultures. Inclusion occurs when the diverse members of a group are treated respectfully and equitably.

What is equity?

Equity is fair and just treatment that considers each individual’s unique needs rather than attempting to provide the same treatment to everyone.

How can I promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

To make your workplace more inclusive and equitable, be aware of biases and strive to avoid them. Implement training programs, ask for and listen to feedback, promote a company culture that values diversity, and always be open to learning and growing.

Why are diversity and inclusion important?

Diverse and inclusive companies are appealing to both customers and employees, and a DEI mindset can also benefit organizations by expanding the range of available skills, encouraging innovation, increasing productivity, and leading to happier people.

Transform the way your team works from anywhere.

A virtual office in Kumospace lets teams thrive together by doing their best work no matter where they are geographically.

Headshot for Rad Aswani
Rad Aswani

Rad has over 7 years of experience in Marketing. Currently, she is the fun Digital Marketer at Kumospace. She leads initiatives such as influencer marketing, SEO management, and social media to name a few. Outside of work, Rad enjoys traveling, working out, and spending time with her family and friends.

Transform the way your team works.