Fostering Inclusivity and Representation in Workforce
by Amal Zeidan
In the workforce there has been a shift in the past few years to adapt to include a department in companies called Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to ensure that an organization is more welcoming, accessible and inclusive to diverse individuals. There has been a shift to include diverse voices to voice their ideas and approaches to solving issues to ensure that there are different perspectives and better ways of solving issues that are not seen that divers voices have from their lived experiences.Since to have a more inclusive workspace understanding the barriers that a company has for their employees and ways to make change would be very important to do.
Inclusivity is very important to have in a workplace setting. Inclusivity is when individuals with different identities and backgrounds are welcomed in a group setting (Hart 2020). However, it is not just limited to being welcomed but also feelings of belonging and that they are trusted and relied upon to contribute to the team (Hart 2020). Inclusivity in a workplace makes employees happy, which helps them engage in idea creation and diverse ways of thinking can be shared across teams that can lead to innovation and increased productivity (Hart 2020). To be able to foster an inclusive workplace there will need to be adaptation, changes to make a more welcoming environment that fosters a very welcoming environment. To be able to do this there will need to be a transparent and honest culture, be an ally, acknowledge your unconscious bias,develop a remote work policy,create an agenda for meetings, and name a meeting facilitator. To be able to make a positive environment through ensuring feedback is valued it helps make there be better communication between different teams. This can be done by regular team meetings and communication. To be an ally, you need to listen attentively, advocate for underrepresented individuals and invite them to share their opinion and encourage them to take new opportunities (Hart 2020).
Inclusion is very important however without equity and diversity there will still be barriers in a workplace that will make it difficult for individuals who are from marginalized communities and individuals part of the Black, Indigineous and People of Colour communities to be able to thrive in the workplace. To be able to understand the necessary actions that need to be taken there will need to be a clear definition to these three terms. Equality is the fair treatment of individuals regardless of various characteristics, including but not limited to their gender, age, inability, religious beliefs, race and sexual orientation (Welch LPP, n.d.). However, equity on the other hand goes further to ensure that everyone has equal access to opportunities and resources, regardless of their differences (Welch LPP, n.d.). Diversity is recognizing and accepting these differences and respecting those who do not share the same characteristics, values, ideas and opinions as others in organization (Welch LPP, n.d.). Now that there are definitions of what equity, diversity and inclusion mean it is easier to implement it in companies, organizations and in workplaces as a whole. To be able to practice this, there are a few tips that are given to organizations to apply. They are belonging, innovation, collaboration, recruitment and productivity. Since belonging staff will be happier and more committed to help grow the organization. Innovation will be fostered from bringing new ideas to the organization, thereby leading to improved decision making and heightened innovation resulting from the inclusion of people with different backgrounds and perspectives (Welch Lpp, n.d.). Having an organization based on collaboration with an inclusive workplace culture with equal opportunities for all can be highly coveted by business partners and customers who value EDI (Welch LPP, n.d.). Having diversity will also make individuals more interested in working at an organization rather than another due to attracting talent from more diverse groups of people, which will increase the competitive advantage of an organization (Welch LPP, n.d.). There will also be more productivity in the organization due to higher employee satisfaction level, which in turn creates greater employee engagement and increased productivity from having diversity and inclusion the basis of an organization (Welch LPP, n.d.). A positive workplace that cares about the wellbeing of their employees, their diverse ideas and ensuring to foster inclusion of individuals from all backgrounds and abilities will help an organization not just reach their goals, but learn better ways of solving complex issues.
There have been changes in the science field to foster more inclusivity in the life sciences that undergraduates were able to be at the tables and participate in the discussions. In 2017, five professional societies in life science field established the Alliance to Catalyze Change for Equity in Stem (ACCESS) success ameta-organization that brings together the diversity committees of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), the AmericanSociety for Cell Biology(ASCB), the American Society for Pharmacology andExperimental Therapeutics (ASPET), theBiophysical Society (BPS), the Endocrine Society (ES),and theAssociation of SoutheasternBiologists (ASB) (Primus et al., 2021). The purpose of ACCESS is to provide a unified voice through which scientific societies can foster inclusivity in their disciplines by identifying challenges and solutions through shared experiences and they do this by engaging undergraduate scientists from under-represented backgrounds (Primus et al.,2021). Since the science field has been dominated by white men and access to the science field in the past was very hard for members of different communities and women there will need to be changes to ensure that there is more representation. Since a lot of the issues studies in science impact BiPOC communities disproportionately that having no representation or understanding the problem effectively will not solve the problems that these communities face, having representations help with research will help solve the issues better and faster. Furthermore, diverse groups such as indigenous communities bring knowledge, lived experiences and a way of life that is different from the traditional western lifestyle and perspective that would be very beneficial to be included to solve these complex issues. It will help give another perspective and a way of viewing the problem to better solve it.
To be able to make these changes and make workplaces and fields more accessible and welcoming to diverse groups there will need to be a form of mentorship to help ensure that they feel safe to voice their concerns and ideas in the workplace. Mentorship can look differently for different workplaces and fields. It can include teaching the skills of branding and showing up as the most authentic self in the workplace. It can be changing the environment of the workplace through asking what will make it more welcoming. It can also be learning and understanding from diverse individuals and not having an organization rely on one person to give all the answers for a community, but rather help make changes in procedure etc and the organization being open to the change to better represent diverse communities in their products or work.
To make these changes, having an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion hiring process that many organizations have developed is not enough to make necessary changes in the workforce. It helps get more representation, but there needs to be changes in structure of the organization and the ability to mentor diverse individuals to learn skills but also that they feel safe to contribute. If there are biases or the way the company does business impacts these diverse communities' negativity they will need to be open to hear from diverse employers to give insight on changes that can be made. That can include being able to transition to sustainable practices if that is what is needed and better for not just the environment but also marginalized communities. The biggest thing to be able to make the changes necessary for a more inclusive and diverse workforce as a whole is for organizations and companies to be open to listen to new ideas and make drastic changes when necessary.
Hart, M. (n.d.). 6 tips for fostering inclusivity on your team. Owl Labs Blog. Retrieved March 6, 2022, from https://resources.owllabs.com/blog/inclusivity#:~:text=In%20this%20TED%20Talk%20by,
Published: October 25, 2021. (2022, February 10). The importance of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the Workplace . Welch LLP. Retrieved March 6, 2022, from https://www.welchllp.com/blog/edialliance/
Primus, C., Zimmerman, A., Terovolas, A., Block, K., Brown, C., Burton, M. D., Edwards, A., Etson, C. M., Flores, S., Fry, C., Guillory, A. N., Ingram, S. L., McGee, R., Neely-Fisher, D., Phelan, L., Paxson, S., Suggs, K., Vega, L., Vuong, E., ... Segarra, V. A. (2022). Scientific societies fostering inclusivity in the life sciences through engagement of undergraduate scientists. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/3xayf