Diversity, inclusion, and belonging require ongoing commitment at all levels to ensure the workplace is equal, welcoming, safe, and fair for all. It’s easy to see why with stats like these — diverse teams are 87% better at making decisions, 120% more likely to hit financial goals, and to see 1.4x more revenue.
While those are impressive metrics, it’s important to note that diversity is not just a box-ticking exercise. Companies do not just become more diverse and fairer overnight. It is vital that your work culture truly lives and breathes these values if you want to attract, retain, and benefit from a more diverse workforce. Diversity, inclusion, and belonging require ongoing commitment at all levels of the organization to ensure the workplace is equal, welcoming, safe, and fair for all.
While companies have made progress, there is still a lot to be done. According to a 2020 study by McKinsey, 76% of LGBTQ+ men and 82% of LGBTQ+ women noted that they have experienced microaggressions in the workplace because of their sexual orientation.
So, how can companies create a truly inclusive culture?
Here are four things I recommend all companies implement straight away (and how Cvent has made them part of our standard operating culture):
- Mandatory diversity and Inclusion training for everyone
Diversity training encourages employees to embrace people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. When employees become aware of concepts like unconscious bias they can work to recognize and remove those biases. Diversity trainings ultimately empower employees to think about inclusion and how they can make conscious efforts to make everyone feel welcome and valued.
At Cvent, all new employees complete a Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging course during our New Cventer Experience onboarding program. To encourage continued learning and development, Cvent regularly adds new diversity trainings to our internal learning platform, the Cvent Learning Center, which is powered by LinkedIn Learning.
- Lead from the top
Inclusive attitudes need to start at the top with your leadership. Make sure that your managers understand the importance of workplace diversity and how to support people from diverse backgrounds. After all, poor management is one of the biggest reasons employees leave or become unhappy. However, it’s not enough to simply educate your managers, but you also need to empower them by providing the right resources and helping them to create and foster a culture that celebrates diversity.
At Cvent, all people managers are trained on how to be an inclusive leader, which includes courses on confronting bias, communicating about culturally sensitive issues, managing a diverse team, and more.
- Start with honesty
A truly inclusive culture provides employees a space in which they can comfortably speak up about both their wins and their struggles. The best and easiest way to encourage open and honest communication is to lead by example and share your story with your colleagues. By allowing yourself to be seen as vulnerable, you open the door for your colleagues to do the same and openly speak their minds.
- Continue learning, evaluate, check in
Creating a culture that celebrates diversity, inclusion, and belonging is a constantly evolving process. Companies should regularly evaluate their programs and employee sentiment; are you living up to the values you claim? How can you better support your employees and colleagues? Look critically at the culture within your company so that you can find and repair the issues.
Encourage continued learning by hosting events that encourage conversation and education. Cvent’s employee community groups, like Cvent Fierce for the LGBTQIA+ community and allies, regularly host events that are both informative and entertaining to bring light to important topics and bring colleagues together to have critical conversations. For example, this month for Pride, we are hosting interactive sessions on gender, the history of LGBTQIA+, and life as a queer person – bringing in perspectives and speakers from around the world.
Pride is defined as "...a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired."
Despite that definition, members of the LGBTQ+ community are often made to not feel pride in our own lives, choices, and achievements. Let’s all commit to putting the pride back in Pride Month by doing what we can to create an inclusive and positive work environment. Work together with colleagues at every level of your business to create a culture that supports and promotes diversity, inclusion, transparency, trust, and belonging.
One person can start the conversation, but it takes a community to drive lasting change.
Written by Michael Newton