Over the past year, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities has convened dozens of diversity and inclusion professionals from across the Richmond region at a series of luncheons co-sponsored by the Richmond Area Diversity Roundtable. These gatherings have renewed our commitment at VCIC to support the corporate community in developing teams, offices, and organizations that leverage diversity and inclusion to achieve success. To that end, we will launch a new initiative in 2014: the Workplace Inclusion Network (WIN).
The need is compelling: Dr. Leah Hollis, author and expert on workplace bullying, noted in a recent presentation that more than one-third of all employees in the United States will face workplace bullying. She added that bullying occurs in situations of power inequity, with victims most likely to be “workers under the age of 25 or older than 55, African-Americans, women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.” Consequences include disengagement, low morale, and high turnover, all of which impact a company’s bottom line.
A new report in Harvard Business Review highlights the opportunities when diversity is leveraged to drive innovation. Noting how important it is for organizations to embrace both inherent and acquired forms of diversity, the study states that “employees at these companies are 45% likelier to report that their firm’s market share grew over the previous year and 70% likelier to report that the firm captured a new market.” They identified six workplace behaviors that unlock innovation:
(1) Ensuring that everyone is heard
(2) Making it safe to propose novel ideas
(3) Giving team members decision-making authority
(4) Sharing credit for success
(5) Giving actionable feedback
(6) Implementing feedback from the team.
Finally, the report notes that “leaders who give diverse voices equal airtime are nearly twice as likely as others to unleash value-driving insights, and employees in a ‘speak up’ culture are 3.5 times as likely to contribute their full innovative potential.”