Diversity Must Go Further Than Gender and Race

Jan 01 • Case Studies

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The HR space has been rife with talk about employee engagement over the past few years. Studies have repeatedly shown that engaged workforces are more productive. Every four years Gallup conducts research in this area, and in their last study showed:

"Work units in the top quartile in employee engagement outperformed bottom-quartile units by 10% on customer ratings, 22% in profitability, and 21% in productivity. Work units in the top quartile also saw significantly lower turnover..."

Hiring managers are very familiar with this data, and 'work culture' is a primary focus for leaders with an eye on the bottom line because it is now accepted knowledge that employee engagement is necessary to reach peak profitability. Hiring managers are also aware of the data around how diversity impacts employee engagement. Research conducted by Deloitte showed that:

“There is a statistically significant relationship between diversity practices and employee engagement at work, for all employees".

There is a statistically significant relationship between diversity practices and employee engagement at work, for all employees.

The research demonstrates that employee perceptions of their organization’s diversity practices were directly related to their levels of engagement. Importantly, perceptions in this case are not of the diversity ideology or values, but more importantly perceptions of actual ‘policies and practices that make up an organization’s diversity practices’ – the tangible actions taken for diversity.”

The Speech Effect

There are approximately 6 and 8 million people in the U.S. have some form of language impairment. It is estimated that more than 3 million Americans stutter. A speech impediment is one of the disabilities most difficult for a hiring manager to get past.

Diversity must be a whole mindset that is embraced throughout your organization; segmenting diversity advancement by class (race, gender, sexual orientation, diversity etc.) will slow the process and hinder your staff from being truly inclusive. If you as a leader accept the research that proves engaged workforces are more productive and profitable, and that diversity greatly raises the level of engagement for your employees, you must find a way to implement inclusive diversity within your organization. You can begin with the US Chamber of Commerce’s Leading Practices on Disability whitepaper and begin to consider how you move your organization forward to greater diversity.

About the Author

Jill Willcox has worked on accessibility issues for most of her professional career. Iterators is an inclusive women-owned small business (WOSB) certified by the Small Business Administration and WBENC. We provide software testing services for websites, mobile apps, enterprise software, and PDF remediation services, rendering PDFs ADA compliant.

Jill Willcox

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