Many organizations simply go through the motions of having their employees take the mandatory trainings and focus on the legal risk. Although this meets the minimum requirements, it doesn’t actually benefit work culture and doesn’t improve employees feeling of belonging and respect. The research done by the Center for WorkLife Law and Emtrain shows that in order to see an actual change in workplace culture and for it to be sustainable, organizations need to focus on a number of things to achieve this goal. In this LinkedIn Live, How Inclusion Drives Respect, Janine Yancey, Founder and CEO of Emtrain, and Joan Williams, Professor of Law at UC Hastings and Director for Center of WorkLife Law discuss what organizations need to do in order to see a change in their workplace culture.
What’s currently happening, Williams explains, is that there’s a general discussion being had of what inclusive behaviors are, but this isn’t giving people day to day guidance and a structure of what actually needs to be improved on within the specific organization.
The Numbers Prove Inclusion Drives Respect
A big takeaway from their research is that lack of respect and bias are very intertwined. Based on two data sets, one from Williams’ team and one from Emtrain, show that there are high feelings of harassment and bias with low feelings of inclusion and belonging. In addition, bias accounts for over 50% of people’s sense of whether they feel they are respected in the workplace. In order to have a collaborative and productive team, people need to feel included and respected. A system needs to be put in place to disrupt the bias and actively teach employees what language to use and when to step in.
Ultimately, Williams and Yancey point out that this is the reason for the great resignation. People aren’t feeling appreciated as an employee and don’t feel comfortable being their authentic selves in their work environment, which is causing so many people to leave their jobs.
Cultivating a diverse and inclusive work environment is important for employee retention and overall business success. Williams says that it’s proven that a racially and gender diverse team “perform better, work harder, engage in less group think, and make fewer errors.” Overall, businesses that create an inclusive and respectful environment have higher retention and are more successful.
Work Together to Improve DEI
One of the biggest steps Yancey and Williams stressed was the importance of different departments of an organization working together. DEI needs to be implemented in every part of the business to create inclusion and belonging. It’s crucial for the head of Diversity and Inclusion, who own the DEI systems, to have a close relationship with departments such as HR and Recruiting. In addition, there needs to be a data-driven strategy to see where change needs to be made. If there’s a disconnect between departments, this holistic approach and collaboration will not be effective. Therefore, it can push an organization to focus on traditional, legal-heavy training, which has been proven that it does not improve culture.
Overall, our findings show that inclusion drives respect and they work hand in hand. If an organization lacks one, they are going to lack the other one and will have an impact on employee’s feeling of belonging. The data that they have gathered suggest to run a successful business, there needs to be an effective DEI system in place to create a healthy workplace culture.