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How workplace diversity and inclusion boost bottom line

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace have become hot issues. They are important both for compliance and for increasing the bottom line.

Employers who don’t embrace diversity and inclusion will face issues, including loss of productivity, if employees don’t work together well. Employers must be more inclusive to be attractive, or the employer of choice, to job seekers.

If your hiring managers have recruited a diverse workforce consisting of workers of different ages, gender, religions, ethnicities and sexual orientation, you want to make sure they’re happy and feel included in the culture of the company. Employers should look at the needs of individual employees. If there are Jewish employees on staff, for example, check the company’s holiday schedule to make certain it includes Jewish religious holidays.

Holidays aren’t always happy

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) says inclusion is particularly important during the holiday season that stretches from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Keep in mind that the holidays can be a difficult time for people struggling to afford gifts and a stressful time of year for families.

Holidays aren’t celebrated by everyone. The fourth Thursday of November also is a National Day of Mourning, an annual protest that was organized in 1970 by Native Americans in New England. The arrival of the Pilgrims reminds Native Americans of the genocide of their ancestors, the theft of their land and the detrimental effect on their cultures.

If your company sends Merry Christmas messages to the staff, employees celebrating Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali or other holidays at the end of the year may feel left out. SHRM says it would be better for managers to wish a happy holiday season to everyone.

Periodic check

It’s important for employers to periodically survey their employees to gain a sense of which benefits employees find useful to update the company’s benefits plan. Companies should offer comprehensive, up-to-date benefits plans. Employees starting families may want to set money aside in a Flexible Savings Account (FSA), for example, while older workers may be more interested in health savings accounts (HSA) to use toward co-pays and other health care expenses.

Some employees may want more vacation and sick time, pet insurance or additional time off for bereavement. Years ago, standard bereavement time off was for the loss of parents, grandparents or other immediate family members. With mixed families today, bereavement time might need to cover adopted children and foster children to be inclusive. Funeral and burial customs vary by culture, and more time off may be needed for some traditions.

Health insurance also is changing, with more plans including coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatments.

Be aware of your workforce and what individual workers need. If benefits aren’t being used, it’s a waste of money for your company.

Creating an inclusive workplace

SHRM suggests six ways to create an inclusive culture in your company:

  • Implement training for all executives and managers that focuses on the importance of inclusion.
  • Establish a diverse group of managers dedicated to inclusion to plan strategies for hiring and retaining a diverse workforce and review complaints from employees.
  • Find ways to celebrate the various traditions and differences of your employees.
  • Assess inclusiveness in your company.
  • Increase the effectiveness of your staff meetings.
  • Create goals, explain their purpose and track their progress.

Diversity and Inclusion workshop Dec. 18

I will present “How to Develop a Diversity and Inclusion Initiative” at my Dec. 18 workshop at noon. My presentation will cover four main phases of developing a diversity and inclusion initiative that employers can use to meet compliance obligations and increase the overall bottom line with a more diverse workforce. In addition, I will outline the nine tasks that break down these main phases into action steps for employers to use as a guide.

My free Lunch and Learn workshops are sponsored jointly with Dennis A. McCurdy, CIC, CFP of McCurdy Group, at noon the third Wednesday of the month at Dennis’ office, 212 Main St., Sturbridge.

Please register for the workshop at Eventbrite or by emailing me or Dennis.

If you have any questions, contact me at melody@melodybeachconsulting.com

AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS

Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Webster Dudley Business Alliance (WDBA)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)
PARWCC The Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches Woman in Business (WIB)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
BNI Referral Champions Worcester Chapter
BNI Referral Champions Worcester Chapter
Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Chamber of Commerce Central South Mass (CCSM)
50+ Job Seekers
Massachusetts Councils on Aging (MCOA)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) of Central Massachusetts
Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) of Central Massachusetts
Women's Information Network (WIN)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

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Melody L. Beach Consulting Group, Human Resources, Southbridge, MA