Workplace Culture

What Evidence Links Diversity and Engagement?

By Staff Report

Sep. 30, 2015

Dear Melting Pot:

The question of how diversity and engagement are linked is one that has received much attention.

David Pollitt examined environments that foster inclusion — of which equity is a large part — and found that these organizations were more likely to:

  • Promote innovation.
  • Create a safer work environment.
  • Drive employee engagement, commitment and pride.
  • Positively impact customer satisfaction.
  • Benefit financial performance.

Through Avatar Solutions’ work with thousands of organizations, we have found a positive correlation (r=+0.4) between employee perceptions of engagement factors (job satisfaction, career development and recognition, co-worker satisfaction, supervisory satisfaction and organizational effectiveness) and their perceptions of fairness in dealing with diverse customers and employees.

Trust is at the root of the relationship. Organizations in which customers and employees are treated fairly regardless of demographics or background build trust within the workforce, which our research shows is one of the top drivers of employee engagement. After all, employees who do not have a basic foundation of trust for their organization or managers are much less likely to want to contribute to the organizations success — a key indicator of engagement.

The case for engagement is clear: More engaged workplaces have better outcomes whether you look at financial performance, customer engagement, growth or other key performance indicators.

To track the effect of inclusion over time, organizations should be regularly seeking to understand their employees’ perspectives on diversity/inclusion and engagement. Monitoring these concepts and business outcomes together can yield insights into the positive impact they have within your specific organization. While the link between engagement and inclusion is apparent on a broader scale, each individual organization is affected differently based on the initiatives you currently have in place. Continually asking employees how they feel about diversity and inclusion efforts at your particular organization will help you develop plans to enhance inclusion at your organization.

SOURCE: Murat Philippe, director of workforce consulting services, Avatar Solutions, Chicago, Sept. 10, 2015.

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