Sumit Sabharwal

How does Diversity and Inclusion Play a Vital Role in Employee Productivity? | Sumit Sabharwal | Vice President-HR | Fujitsu Global Delivery Centres

Sumit SabharwalDiversity and inclusion practices (D&I) have become a crucial part of conversations surrounding business principles, and the case for D&I in business is stronger than ever. Whether it is McKinsey’s research that has shown that diversity-oriented companies are more likely to exceed profit targets than less diverse ones, or Gartner’s findings that inclusivity improves team performance by up to 30% in high-diversity environments, the tangible benefits of diversity and inclusion are real, and businesses across the globe have become cognizant of this.

What is Diversity and Inclusion?
In essence, diversity in the workplace entails having individuals from diverse gender, racial, ethnic, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds working cohesively together. Inclusion is an extension of diversity, meaning that everyone from these diverse groups should be made to feel equally valued, respected and be treated fairly despite their varying backgrounds, identities, or sexual orientation.

The connection between Diversity & Inclusion and Employee Productivity
Thanks to the advent of digital innovations in technologies, it is now possible to measure the positive impact of diversity and inclusion on a company’s bottom line and employee productivity. As a result, diversity and inclusion is gradually being viewed as a knowledge-based asset with real tangible advantages for a company’s workforce, strategy, and implementation.

Below are some of the reasons why diversity and inclusion tie in with employee productivity.

Employee engagement: When it comes to employees feeling like part of an organisation, there is more than just salary and monetary benefits at play. Employee engagement and trust are achieved through a complex interplay of factors, at the helm of which is diversity and inclusion – fast becoming non-negotiable for many demographic groups in the workforce. For example, a 2020 Monster study showed that a whopping 83 percent of Gen Z consider an organisation’s D&I policies to be important when they are choosing an employer. Workplaces that bring together people from diverse backgrounds foster vibrant working relationships and lead to employees looking forward to more than just their work at the office. Overall, this has a positive trickle-down effect on team morale and productivity, and even a company’s overall profitability.

Reduced Absenteeism and Lower Employee Attrition Rates: Reduced absenteeism and employee attrition rates are a cascading effect of impactful employee engagement because when more employees feel included at work, they are less likely to avail unnecessary leaves or quit their jobs. Simply put, when the voices of a diverse set of people are heard and their ideas are truly valued, it makes for a positive workplace where employees aren’t just going to do their bare minimum, instead, they will be actively engaged and motivated to work.

Mental Health: When a company is perceived to be non-inclusive, people tend to hide parts of their identity; this can range from sexual orientation to religious beliefs and even political opinions. However, this can have a detrimental effect on people’s mental state, sense of self and overall happiness. Research studies have also found a strong correlation between workplace inclusivity and happiness on the job/job satisfaction. Hence, the feeling of inclusivity is a key element to good mental health. It is important that companies promote a culture where expression of different self-identities and beliefs is encouraged, and even celebrated, because a diverse and inclusive workplace is what fosters affinity and loyalty among employees.

In today’s global business environment that is replete with skill gaps, demographic changes and other challenges, the message could not be clearer – D&I yields better results than homogeneity because the best decisions are made when a diverse set of people come together to contribute their ideas, thoughts, and opinions. Also, employees from different backgrounds bring their own life experience-driven expertise to the table and this helps to empower organisations to critically evaluate a situation or project on different levels. And most importantly, the integration of D&I in all aspects of a business, reflects the diversity of a brand’s customers and communities, further resulting in better and optimised business profits. Thus, the importance of embedding diversity and inclusion into the edifice of a modern business cannot be emphasised on enough.