We’re Diverse, But Are We Inclusive?

Global Diversity Series 2 of 4

It is well documented that diversity is a key driver of innovation. Some of the most disruptive ideas come from outside the traditional discipline. So, smart organizations rethink recruitment and hiring strategies to get more diversity into their workforces. But just because there are more diverse types of people in seats within the company doesn’t mean that they’re being included in discussions that shape a company’s future. That’s the difference between diversity and inclusion – how can companies ensure they’re doing both?

Diversity and Inclusion

We often hear the word inclusion used in conjunction with diversity, as both are necessary parts of a successful corporation. However, it is important to understand the distinction between the two, in order to truly benefit from your company’s diversity.

“Inclusion is a call to action within the workforce that means actively involving every employee’s ideas, knowledge, perspectives, approaches and styles to maximize business success.”

This is where the rubber meets the road. Diversity without inclusion is useless.

A company can be extensively diverse, but if they are not empowering new ideas and perspectives that their employees offer, diversity becomes a fruitless buzzword.

The imperative then for companies should be to create a culture that isn’t just tolerant of diversity, but also one that opens the floor for all employees to contribute to a corporation’s success. A key driver of this is opening up a corporation’s lines of communication.

“Certain management practices tend to stifle, rather than drive, productivity and innovation. When all decisions are made at the highest levels, for example, lower-level employees might feel like their opinions and ideas are being controlled rather than heard.” —Dan Schawbel, Forbes contributor

Allowing all employees to share ideas regardless of rank or job function develops a greater sense of engagement within the company.  “Inclusion circles” or weekly collaboration meetings across a corporation’s departments and employee levels unlocks ideas that might not otherwise have been shared.

According to Beth Walters, Jabil’s SVP Communications and Investor Relations: “At Jabil, our Deliver Best Practices competition is a great global example of inclusive diversity — teams from all over the world, and at all levels of the company, work together to bring game changing solutions to fruition.”

Diversity, inclusion and collaboration work like a chain reaction. They can all exist separately, but when a corporation puts them together, they become greater as a whole. A corporation that puts them together produces an innovative, creative and ultimately more successful culture.

When it comes to differentiating yourself from competitors, it all comes down to your people. By recruiting for diversity and then empowering idea-sharing throughout the organization, companies tap into people’s passions, ideas, creativity and natural interests. Harness that and you’ll blow the competition away.

We want to hear from you…

Do you have an example of how an inclusive approach to problem-solving made a difference for Jabil or a customer? What are your ideas for improving inclusion? Share your thoughts with us below and keep up with the conversation at JabilCares.

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