How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. New research on diversity and inclusion initiatives and how they can lead to higher profitability.

The U.S. Supreme Court made a historic ruling this week when they ruled that Title VII protections extend to LGBTQ employees.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin and now sexual orientation and gender identity.

“In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee,” Justice Neil M. Gorsuch wrote for the majority. “We do not hesitate to recognize today a necessary consequence of that legislative choice: An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.”

The landmark ruling, ongoing protests against systemic racism and the increasing importance of brand accountability to employees and consumers alike all call for employers to make diversity and inclusion initiatives a priority.

How to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

A new report by McKinsey & Company “Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters” identifies actions and practices that companies can take to build towards more diverse representation and foster a more inclusive workplace:

1. Adopt a Systemic, Business-Led Approach to Diversity and Inclusion.

    • Increase diverse representation, particularly in leadership and critical roles.
    • Strengthen leadership and accountability for delivering on diversity and inclusion goals.

2. Take Bold Steps to Strengthen Inclusion.

    • Enable equality of opportunity through fairness and transparency.
    • Promote openness, tackling bias and discrimination.
    • Foster belonging through support for multivariate diversity.

The report expands on each point with different strategies companies can put in place. For example, when it comes to promoting openness and tackling discrimination, McKinsey & Company notes that companies who have met diversity and inclusion goals have zero-tolerance policies for discriminatory behaviors and have actively built the ability of both managers and junior staff to identify, surface and address microaggressions. 

What Are the Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives?

According to McKinsey & Company, the business case for diversity and inclusion is stronger than ever. They found that companies in the top quartile of gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than peer companies in the fourth quartile. Similarly, in the case of ethnic and cultural diversity, companies in the top quartile outperformed those in the fourth by 36 percent in terms of profitability. 

They’ve also identified a performance penalty for companies that have stalled diversity and inclusion efforts. Companies that fall in the fourth quartile of both gender and ethnic diversity are 27 percent more likely to underperform on profitability than all other companies they included in their data set.

Diversity and inclusion initiatives can help companies better recruit and retain employees, increase job satisfaction and as the new report by McKinsey & Company identifies, it can lead to outperforming industry peers in profitability. 

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