In any organization, and especially in a corporate university, being in touch with what your employees are thinking is crucial. You need to truly value and understand each employee before you can do the same with your customers.
Customer satisfaction and staff retention are a direct reflection of the type of environment you create for your employees. If you are not actively seeking to improve performance through enhanced focus on your organizationï¿½s diversity and inclusion, be prepared to have your very existence challenged.
According to Diversity Training University International, thought leaders on the subject, there are at least 10 reasons for turning diversity into strategic advantage.
1. Human Capital ROI: It makes sense that if you are not utilizing all the talent and advantages within your organization, your return on investment per staff member is not maximized.
2. The Best and the Brightest: Business depends on attracting the best. The tough part comes with retention. By capitalizing on the diversity within your staff, retention becomes less of an issue.
3. Increase Creativity: One smart, creative person cannot outwit a team of bright people. Two heads are better than one. Three are better than two. By including everyone in the important work of the company, creativity is automatically increased.
4. Capitalize on a Diverse Market: A diverse marketplace means more opportunity for sales and growth. Tapping into the diversity of your organization gives you insight into potential new markets.
5. Increase Productivity: If you are not including everyoneï¿½s thinking in your daily business solutions, productivity is lower than it can be. Include and empower everyone and watch productivity instantly rise.
6. Increase Ability to Compete: With global markets being so vital to business today, diversity and inclusion are built-in secret weapons that help you compete and prepare for market challenges.
7. A Pleasing Work Environment: Diversity by its nature means there will be contrast in cultures and differing points of view. It makes for a lively, invigorating work environment for everyone, including managers.
8. Improves Diversity and Inclusion Capabilities: Daily focus on diversity within the workplace means your organization is smarter and more creative. Youï¿½ll also have a more engaging workplace, which will make things even more brilliant, creative and exciting.
9. Recognition: Those who are included in an uplifting environment of diversity and those who are doing the including will be rewarded for their input and achievements. This breeds more involvement, more inclusion and greater satisfaction throughout the company.
10. Balance: The key benefit to a program of diversity and inclusion is balance. Balance is created between social, moral and economic concerns. This can give soul to an organization that maybe was believed to be cold or indifferent.
If you agree with these points, but ignore the talents, skills or opinions of your staff, it jeopardizes your chances of success. Simply put, when employees feel valued, they perform better. When they have a voice and feel trusted and respected, employee satisfaction skyrockets, turnover drops and production increases. In other words, it creates a strategic advantage.
In order to be successful in creating an environment where diversity and inclusion are valued, an organization needs to take a hard look at its culture, policies and practices. The three are not mutually exclusive. A change to culture will probably require a change in practice, which will lead to an updated policy. An organization that values diversity will do well in all three categories.
Embrace the diversity within your office and experience success you didnï¿½t think was possible. It may come in ways that may make you uncomfortable at first. But stick with it. Create an inclusive workplace where people feel safe to be themselves, and watch your business performance metrics go off the chart.
In the words of Alan Briskin from his work, ï¿½The Stirring of the Soul in the Workplace,ï¿½ ï¿½Each individual is a mirror of the whole, but simultaneously each individual can only account for a portion of what is happening. We need dialogue with each other that evokes a greater whole.ï¿½
Chuck Oï¿½Keefe is national manager, associate dean for the University of Toyota. He is responsible for curriculum development, operations, strategic alliances, research, measurement & evaluation, quality management and e-learning for a student body of more than 100,000 Toyota dealer associates. Chuck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.