John is sitting in an important meeting about a key presentation for a new company client. His boss is soliciting creative ideas to go with this make-or-break presentation. John sits still and does not say anything. But in his mind, he is amassed with out-of-the-box and flamboyant ideas on how to make the presentation truly one of a kind.
Yet, John remains hesitant to speak out and share his thoughts. He remains guarded amidst a male-dominated boardroom where employees often speak about baseball and cars during their free time. He knows he is different from the rest, and he does not reveal it because he is unsure if others will accept his authentic self. So, he lets the meeting pass without saying a word, only occasional nods and a curt smile occasionally.
As a boss or employer, you probably only have a vague idea about what employees like John are going through. Know that John is not an exceptional case. You have many team members like John who view themselves as different and would want to show more of their authentic selves.
Authenticity in the Workplace
Being authentic may not always be about gender orientation. Sometimes, it may also have something to do with ethnicities, cultural differences, religious beliefs, political inclinations, or even language barriers. Nevertheless, one thing remains true. Many employees find it challenging to bring their authentic selves to work.
Many factors can affect why many employees do not feel confident about showing their individuality in the workplace. These include expectations, social norms, or the company culture in general. However, as an employer, you must understand that your employees’ individuality is what they bring to their work life. Therefore, they need to feel comfortable in their own skin in work environments, so they will be engaged and compelled to create a positive impact in the workplace.
Benefits of Promoting Authenticity in the Workplace
As an employer, your focus on your team should be equally matched with your focus on individual employees. There are plenty of benefits for your company when you promote diversity in the workplace. Differences in cultures and perspectives are present at work, and employers are responsible for creating equal opportunities and promoting psychological safety to promote individuality among employees.
A study by Gartner shows that a company that promotes inclusivity and diversity in the workplace increases employee productivity by 12 percent. Moreover, employees working for companies that promote inclusivity and diversity tend to remain at their posts longer – about 20 percent higher than companies that do not actively promote it.
Here are just some of the many benefits that your company can reap by encouraging every employee to be their authentic self.
1. It champions innovation in the workplace.
Your team members are unique in their own way because they come from different backgrounds. Also, some may come from the younger generation of millennials and Gen Zs, while others may be from older generations.
This unique mix is an excellent breeding ground for innovative ideas and creative brainstorming. A diverse team’s approach to problem-solving and innovation is unbeatable and often very productive. If your employees are assured that their individuality is respected and appreciated, they will be motivated to bring out their best and deliver for your team.
2. It attracts top talent and actually gets them to stay.
Potential employees are attracted to companies with salient policies on inclusivity and diversity. When your company has significant policies to support inclusivity, job candidates are assured that they will not be working in a place that can potentially be hostile or discriminatory toward them. They will have the assurance that they will be able to fit in in no time, and they get to stay much longer in an environment that accepts who they are.
3. It improves employee productivity and overall performance.
A study from Deloitte revealed that employees of companies that champion diversity and inclusivity improve business performance. Other than skills and technical know-how, an employee’s emotional intelligence must also be nurtured by your company so that your employees remain engaged and productive. When employees are comfortable, happy, and confident, this also tends to show in their output and overall performance.
4. It improves your network and company reputation.
A diverse and inclusive workplace where employees can be their authentic selves may also be opening itself up to a larger market of potential employees or clients. Chances are, top candidates coming from the LGBTQ group may find your company an attractive place for work. Moreover, your company may have more culturally diverse customers when they discover that it has plenty of employees who can speak their language. The possibilities are endless.
5. It increases your revenue.
An interesting study revealed that companies that champion inclusivity and diversity also tend to earn more than companies that do not. Such companies generate 2.3x more cash flow per employee, 1.4x more revenue, and 120 percent more capable of hitting their revenue targets. As a result, allowing and supporting your employees to be their authentic selves may bring you more revenue and give your company more profit in the long run.
How to Support Employees in Being Their Authentic Selves
Now that you know the myriad benefits that your company can gain by promoting inclusivity and diversity, here are some practical steps on how your company can support employees to show their individuality and their authentic self:
1. Educate your team, especially your leaders.
Your team managers and leaders are vital to the success of your diversity and inclusion campaign. Ensure they are fully educated about the benefits of championing diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. They must be able to set aside their biases in favor of the success of the team as well as its individual members
2. Establish an Inclusion Body in your company.
Form a so-called Inclusion Council consisting of several persons who would influence and govern how to make this campaign a real success. This council should meet regularly for goal-setting, results evaluation, and general feedback. They must also chart practical steps and guidelines on how the campaign should be implemented in the workplace. This council should also be able to communicate goals and measure progress regularly.
3. Respect employee differences.
Have you ever thought of setting aside some space in your office as a meditation or prayer room? Consider also having potluck parties where your company’s various ethnicities and nationalities can share food that represents their culture. Listen and spend time with your employees as they share stories or anecdotes about themselves and their diverse backgrounds.
4. Hold meetings more mindfully and effectively.
During meetings, open the floor for more team members to speak up instead of solely focusing on the team leader and a few articulate team members. Acknowledge each idea thrown onto the table. Whenever you can, assign rotational speaking opportunities for every team member. When you have team members working remotely, do your best to be mindful of their local times.
WORK WITH A PARTNER STAFFING AGENCY COMMITTED TO DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVITY.
Most of the time, the success of your diversity and inclusion (D&I) campaign begins with choosing the correct recruiting partner who understands your goal and shares your vision of making your company as diverse and inclusive as possible.
This is where the Fox Search Group comes in. Founded by a woman and with diversity and inclusivity being cornerstones of our staffing process, partnering with Fox Search Group means you have more support and assurance that your company will not only have top talent but also be as inclusive and as diverse as possible. Fox Search Group will give you the extra leg up to ensure that your employees are at their most authentic selves in the workplace. Contact us now, so we can help you build your diverse workforce.