Diversity and Inclusion

The Workplace

CSC491, University of Toronto

In the last section we spoke about how inclusivity and diversity can affect the product.

In this section we are going to discuss difficulties individuals may face in a non-inclusive workspace.

Previously we saw that diversity and inclusivity concerns can cause problems in:

and more.

How might these concerns translate internally to the workplace?

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In the last section we spoke about Anne McClain.

Anne is an astronaut with NASA and had to give up her seat on a space mission, limiting her career, because NASA didn’t have the appropriate equipment available for her to go into space.

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This is a clear example in how careers can be limited by the lack of available equipment due to a non-inclusive workplace

Is this an isolated incident? Do people even care?

Is this an isolated incident? Do people even care?

No, it’s not isolated. Yes, they do care.

67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering employment opportunities

45% of U.S. workers experienced some form of discrimination or harassment in the past 12 months

90% of people who say they’re not treated with respect also experienced discrimination or harassment at work

What these stats make clear is that people care and they still aren’t treated with respect, or shown a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Diversity in the workplace has to do with who is hired, while inclusivity has to do with those individuals feeling like they’re valued, respected, accepted and encouraged to fully participate.

Let’s look at some different scenarios where we may see diversity issues come into play.

Safety and Inclusivity

Psychological Safety in individuals is very important. This allows employees to bring their full experience and skills to work and provide their best.

Allowing employees to feel safe creates and environment where meaningful discussion can come forth, innovation can flourish, and companies can succeed.

If workers are harassed or made to feel like their opinions are less valued, or useful, then you stand to harm psychological safety.

This will stunt the company’s ability to allow their employees to contribute their full skillset to the company’s mandate.

A Harvard Business Review study found that “without diverse leadership, women are 20% less likely than straight white men to win endorsement for their ideas; people of colour are 24% less likely; and [those who identify as] LGBT are 21% less likely.”

Employee Retention

Training employees is expensive. You hire individuals at a full salary and then they spend a significant portion of time learning how to exist at your company.

Not only that, it can take many months for an individual to feel like they know enough to fully participate in discussions.

When employees leave, it can cost quite a lot and not just from training.

Anytime an employee leaves there is time and money spent on training, recruiting, and hiring new people. Not to mention that the prior team is now lacking the contributions from an individual.

A Gallup study found that replacing an employee generally costs between 1/2 to 2 times their annual salary - and 52% of voluntary turnover is avoidable.

People generally leave companies for a number of reasons which can include:

Now some of these are obvious - not making enough money, not getting promotions, etc.

But diversity and inclusion play a role here too.

Despite reporting similar experience levels and occupying the same positions, entry-level women make 20% less money than their male peers, the report found, and they are 21% less likely than their male counterparts to reach the first level of management.

Black women receive 39% less pay than white men and 21% less than white women […] even if black women do the same work and have the same level of education

Black women are less likely to be promoted. For every 100 men promoted at the management level, only 60 black women are promoted.

People of colour and white women have to twist and turn themselves to fit the white, male expectations of corporate America

Professional Contortion

“I am like a fanatic about typos. I work really hard that what goes out over my signature is perfect. If it is a white guy, people think he doesn’t have good help. But with me, I think people think ‘she isn’t smart …’”

Other examples of “professional” contortion ad taken from Business Insider’s article linked below: