Diversity and inclusion are ‘essential’ for high performance at work: researchers


According to a new report released Wednesday by the Geneva-based International Labor Organization (ILO), increased employee productivity is linked to workplaces that feature higher degrees of diversity and inclusion.

The report, which collected data last summer amid the coronavirus pandemic, said workplace innovation and performance, employee retention and employee well-being were also reported at higher levels. raised in workplaces with greater diversity. Even so, the researchers said “too little is being done” to encourage diversity, leaving companies and employees “missing out on significant potential benefits”.

“An equal, diverse and inclusive workplace is a key driver of resilience and recovery,” said the Director of the ILO’s Conditions of Work and Equality Department, Manuela Tomei, in a press release. press on Wednesday.

A new report says diversity and inclusion policies are “essential” for better performance in the workplace. Above, the headquarters of the International Labor Organization (ILO), which includes the offices of UNICEF in Geneva, is pictured on June 15, 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The report states that the team’s findings build “on the wealth of existing research showing the critical role of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the high performance of the workforce, businesses, economies and societies on a global scale”.

The pandemic “has exposed and exacerbated existing inequalities” in the workplace and across society, researchers said. In the United States, the trend of the “big quit” has seen millions of workers leave their jobs during the upheaval to leave the labor market, find new positions or go into business. As countries around the world take an endemic approach to COVID-19, employees and employers are determining what changes made to the workplace during the pandemic will persist.

ILO researchers assessed data collected from more than 12,000 workers in 75 countries between July and September 2021. Employees surveyed worked in a wide range of companies in lower- and upper-middle-income areas, and fulfilled roles ranging from lower level staff to senior management.

More than half of respondents to the study told researchers that corporate attention to diversity and inclusion has grown since the start of the pandemic, as have worker expectations of how employers will take steps to encourage diversity in the workplace.

While the researchers said nearly all – around 92% – of those in higher-level positions said they felt included at work, that number dropped to around three in four when the researchers spoke with higher-level employees. inferior.

About three in four respondents said most of the top leadership positions were held by men, with women holding less than 40% of those leadership positions. Another group lacking representation in leadership positions included people with disabilities, with around a third of respondents saying they did not fill any of these roles in their workplace.

Moving forward, the researchers identified four strategies that they believe can be applied by employers around the world to help create inclusion. These four principles have been identified as prioritizing diversity and inclusion in a workplace’s culture and business strategy, ensuring that people representing minority groups are in leadership positions, ensuring that lower and higher level employees are “accountable” as “diversity and inclusion role models,” and ensuring that diversity and inclusion policies are maintained throughout long time of a worker in a company.

According to the report, about two in three respondents said their company has a way to measure inclusion, which the researchers say is a process “essential to progress.” Companies that have these policies in place apply them in different ways, with multinational organizations more likely to adopt them than small or medium-sized businesses. Government policies and business incentives to address diversity and inclusion in the workplace both play a role in encouraging companies to adopt such policies, the researchers wrote.

Tomei and Deborah France-Massin, director of the ILO’s Bureau for Employers’ Activities, wrote in the report’s preface that they “hope” their research “contributes to inclusive and resilient recovery efforts led by policy makers.” , labor market institutions, businesses and workers, academics, international organizations and other stakeholders.”

Newsweek contacted the ILO for comment and will update this article with any response.


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