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Inclusion is profitable and also encourages professionals to work with a focus on excellence.

Diversity has many faces, among them: nationality or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age groups and religious beliefs. The common denominator between each of these examples is the principle of equality between people, regardless of the qualities that make them unique. 

After incorporating inclusive policies, organizations have seen how the probability of reaching or exceeding their financial performance indicators has doubled, while the performance levels of their collaborators have improved at least three times. These outcomes were reported in the article we published for Deloitte Review in 2018 entitled “The diversity and inclusion revolution: eight powerful truths.” 

In addition, companies have reported up to a six-fold increase in creativity and innovation in their service lines, as well as an 800% increase in the generation of business results with clients. 

Profitable focus on excellence

Inclusion is profitable and also encourages professionals to work with a focus on excellence. Companies that enhance equity achieve a more lasting corporate identity with their collaborators. At the same time, the employing brand is invigorated, since there will be higher retention of talent. Their members will be “full-time ambassadors” through social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, among others), meetings between colleagues/friends, academic sectors and other avenues for proudly sponsoring the company name. 

A motivating environment that offers the same opportunities to all without distinction also depends on people being represented by reliable model leaders. They channel the aspirations of collective recognition (sense of justice), transcending good intentions to become concrete acts as a clear reflection of the ideals that characterize a free society. Active involvement of leaders in their organization was reported by 66% of participants in the Deloitte Maturity and Diversity Study, conducted in late 2019 in Costa Rica under the auspices of the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham). The study sample consisted of 381 people belonging to 81 organizations, representing both the public and private sectors.

Six features of inclusive leadership

In an article published in 2020 for the Harvard Business Review, through Deloitte Australia, we highlighted six traits that describe inclusive leaders, who stand out for their: 

  1. visible commitment to defending diversity, challenging the prevailing status quo in favor of making disruptive but viable adjustments;
  2. humbleness to transparently acknowledge their mistakes and show modesty about their individual abilities; 
  3. awareness of the need to mitigate the biases or deficiencies of corporate ecosystems through meritocracy; 
  4. both open and empathetic mentality to inquire with curiosity about what happens to others while seeking to understand their life circumstances; 
  5. receptive attitude to individual experiences based on an acute cultural intelligence adaptable to varied environments; and finally,
  6. interest in empowering those around them, focusing on cementing team cohesion through effective collaboration, addressing diversity of thought and psychological comfort.

Inclusion as an organizational culture

The effective boost of inclusion initiatives brings — apart from a solid commitment by those in  leadership positions — a series of catalytic factors. These not only guide actions with a purpose of sustainability and a tactical approach for the company, but also promote day-to-day workforce adoption through multi-level communication. Practical, easily replicated measures gradually pave the way for deeper modifications within the business gear. 

Deloitte Global’s 2019 State of Inclusion Survey report is entitled “The bias barrier: Allyships, inclusion and everyday behaviors.” It proposes, among other aspects, to prepare a list of inclusive behaviors to evidence the positive patterns expected. It also recommends defining the role of allies — key reference figures — in each organization, who will be the agents of change promoting the shared values.

Photo Credits : Photo courtesy of Deloitte Costa Rica

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