4 Ways We Foster a Fair, Inclusive, and Diverse Workplace
Workplace diversity and inclusion (D&I) isn’t just something that looks good on paper. There’s a real-world benefit. Companies with greater gender and ethnic diversity attain 19% higher revenues and are 15% more likely to report above-average profitability in their industry. Yet, despite these facts, a third of companies still have no female executives, 61% of employees still feel organizations could be more inclusive and 56% report workplace bias and discrimination. So, how can we move the needle in the right direction? Here are 4 ways we foster a more fair, inclusive, and diverse workplace.
Diversity in Leadership
According to a McKinsey study, “Why Diversity Matters, for an organization to be truly diverse and inclusive, these beliefs must be role-modeled from the top-down. To feel included within an organization, employees need to be able to see themselves (or someone like themselves) in executive teams. That means leadership needs to show a balanced representation of varying people and abilities, all working to create a company culture that truly feels inclusive. This diversity in leadership can also help overcome any unconscious bias by providing different viewpoints at crucial decision-making levels.
How Do We Do it
When it comes to company leadership, our aim is to always ensure a balanced and fair representation of all the people that make up our itel family. We not only invest in employee training and upskilling, we also regularly promote from within, to encourage a diversity of voices, backgrounds, and perspectives at all levels of leadership. In fact, many of our executives started as former frontline agents, so they have a unique understanding of the employee experience and can more easily spot subtle internal biases that may prevent employees from feeling included, respected or heard. We also support an open-door policy, with easy access to experienced senior managers and mentorship. This creates an inclusive and supportive company culture where employees feel safe approaching leadership if they have any concerns or suggestions.
Inclusion Starts at Hiring
D&I also begins with fair hiring practices. Hiring decisions should be based on merit and suitability for the position. Reducing any instances of personal bias on the behalf of the recruiter, interviewer, or even within HR departments, is key. But more than that, a company’s competitiveness is often tied to its ability to quickly adapt and evolve in the marketplace. For that, it needs to be able to tap into diverse talent pools, diverse skills, and harness the Voice of the Customer through its employees, who are also customers themselves. By having a diverse employee base, you bring a variety of insights and viewpoints that can spur innovation, inspiration, and the next big idea in customer experience.
How Do We Do it
With locations across the Caribbean, Latin America and North America, we have access to a wide variety of people, abilities, and skills, giving us a competitive edge in the nearshore market. But to ensure fair and inclusive hiring practices, we use an advanced, predictive recruitment platform that prevents personal bias by assessing candidates objectively and fairly, based solely on skills, education and suitability for the position. To then build inclusion across such a widespread workforce, we promote team-building functions and social activities, led by our local engagement teams. Additionally, we encourage employee participation in our 4Ys Foundation, which unites team members under a common goal of making a significant impact in the communities in which we work, which also builds trust and makes us an employer of choice.
Equality of Opportunity
Equity in the workplace means supplying fair opportunities to all employees, regardless of physical ability, nationality, creed, gender identity or sexual orientation, religion, or political affiliation. It creates an even playing field where every employee is afforded the same opportunities to succeed and be rewarded. Yet, all too often, there are still lingering biases and prejudices in the workplace that lead to unfair treatment. Recent polls revealed two of the top reasons cited for people quitting their jobs and that involved an absence of advancement opportunities (63%) and feeling disrespected at work (57%). Which shows why workplace equity is so important. It not only results in lower attrition, but also sets the stage for a culture of achievement, where everyone works hard because rewards are based on merit alone.
How Do We Do it
In some countries, there is social and economic inequality caused by unequal access to good schools, health care, food, transportation, or technology. That’s why, when hiring, we don’t just look for education, but also for the right mindset, attitude, and willingness to learn. By investing heavily in our in-house training program, we provide an equal opportunity environment, where people can find quality careers, regardless of their social or economic status. As a company, we have also invested in critical upskilling in the nearshore region, through the Global Services Sector (GSS) Project, whose aim is to widen the access to education and the necessary skills for a career in the global services industry. In addition, we try to make the workplace equitable by removing as many barriers to employment as possible, providing free employee transportation to and from work, medical coverage, free on-site gyms, nurses, and health screenings, internet access, and opportunities to acquire industry certifications.
A Learning Culture
A company can only reach its peak productivity if all employees are fully seen, heard, and engaged. Leaders must strive to build a workplace where employees feel safe expressing themselves, especially around discussions about identity groups and how that can shape an employee’s experience inside the organization. Rigid office hierarchies that shut employees out of these larger discussions will only suffer because they will lack the key insights that can only be gained from employee input. The goal is to create a learning culture, where leadership openly accepts feedback, recognizes its own inherent biases, and is receptive to learning new ways to build a more fair, inclusive, and diverse workplace.
How Do We Do it
Customer experience begins with the employee experience (EX=CX), which is a foundational belief of our organization. For us to leverage all the exceptional skill, talent, and potential at itel, we knew we had to offer a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work culture, where everyone’s voice is heard. After all, great ideas can come from anywhere, so we adopted a more progressive flat-management style and open-door policy with our leadership. This allows us to work collaboratively across all levels of the organization. To keep a pulse on our EX, we also rely on Voice of the Employee feedback through regular employee “check-ins”, company-wide surveys and focus groups.
Offering a More Fair, Inclusive, and Diverse Workplace
For companies to perform at their best, they need to create a work environment where everyone feels heard, valued, and supported. But diversity does not always lead to inclusion and inclusion doesn’t always translate into workplace equality. All three need to be worked towards simultaneously to build a work culture that encourages innovation, collaboration, and achievement. After all, today’s job seekers are looking for more than great pay. They want the right “culture fit”, and according to Glassdoor, for 76% of them, an organization’s diversity and inclusion are top considerations; another compelling reason for companies to care.
We’re not only a diverse and inclusive employer. We’re also geo-diverse! Click here to learn more about the business advantages of nearshore outsourcing locations.