It doesn’t take a management consultant to tell you that engaged employees are productive employees. You already know the benefits of employee engagement:
- Higher retention and lower recruitment costs
- Reduced loss of organizational knowledge
- Better customer service
- Enhanced innovation
- Greater profitability, resulting from improved productivity and customer satisfaction
Employee engagement grows from an emotional attachment to the company and a commitment to the company’s goals. One of the ways to establish and reinforce engagement is with recognition. A public “attaboy” for a job well done will always bolster those positive feelings towards teammates and management.
Recognition practices offer a highly visible demonstration of your organization’s DEI policy. A recent workplace study found a strong correlation between DEI, recognition, and engagement.
- When recognition programs incorporate diversity and inclusion, 55% of employees are highly engaged, compared to only 17% in companies where there is no effort to integrate the two programs.
- In businesses where recognition programs incorporate diversity and inclusion, 66% of employees feel a sense of inclusion, vs. just 10% in companies with no linkage between DEI and recognition programs.
The same study showed that companies which embedded diversity and inclusion into recognition programs also outperformed industry peers over the past three years.
This is not to say that “everyone gets a trophy!” But when corporate culture supports a diversity and inclusion mindset, AND brings that mindset to its recognition program, the results are powerfully positive.
It’s especially important to have DEI programs and recognition programs work hand-in-hand when your organization has moved to a hybrid workplace model. When face-to-face interactions are limited, employees can feel left out, even invisible. Conscious DEI and recognition efforts help remote employees feel that they are part of the team, reinforcing a positive emotional connection.
Engaged employees are loyal, productive, team-oriented, and emotionally invested in their organization’s success. As noted above, you already know the benefits of employee engagement, and how significant those benefits are. Bring DEI and recognition together, and up-level your employees’ engagement.
Photo © Felix/peopleimages.com / AdobeStock
“That dress makes you look ten pounds thinner.” “I’m not racist. I have several black friends.” “You don’t even look gay.” Those statements are all microaggressions – unintentional, we would hope, but nonetheless hurtful. Microaggressions are a subcategory of unconscious bias, defined as verbal or physical slights, insults, or comments that are offensive towards underrepresented groups. A consistent pattern of microaggressions is among the key causes for low employee productivity, “quiet quitting,” and customer alienation – all of which have a negative impact on an organization’s bottom line.
Microaggressions leave at least one member of an organization feeling a slew of negative emotions: anger, dejection, and attack. According to Harvard Business Review, microaggressions have been shown time and time again to greatly reduce the ability of staffers to work together, thus limiting the productivity and profitability of a company.
The first step to preventing microaggressions in the workplace is to educate yourself on the topic. If you are able to observe microaggressions in everyday life and acknowledge when you may have made such mistakes in the past, you’ll find it easier to avoid microaggressions in the future. You can then use this knowledge to educate employees by having open discussions on microaggression to help spread awareness.
That brings us to the most important step to putting a stop to microaggressions: organization-wide self-awareness. In another article by Harvard Business School, the authors point out that when all members of a business or organization can collectively realize that they may engage in some of these harmful phrases or actions, everyone can work together to prevent them.
Open discussions and communication are vital to changing corporate culture. It’s essential to make sure that every member of an organization understands the concept of microaggressions, and how eliminating them will foster diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Just as important as awareness is the creation of a safe space for discussion. Workplace leaders should make sure that all underrepresented groups in an office feel comfortable with calling coworkers out on offensive language or actions in a healthy, respectful manner. This will help other employees to recognize their own faults, whether intentional or not, while also empowering others to speak out against wrongful behavior.
As microaggressions diminish within an organization, they will also diminish in the organization’s outward-facing interactions. Customers will feel welcomed and appreciated, and their loyalty, repeat business, and social-media praise all add to your company’s profits.
Because there are many types of microaggressions, it can be difficult to gain the self-awareness necessary to overcome this issue once and for all. To help with this, the University of Minnesota put together a comprehensive list of examples of microaggressions and their implied messages that may help with understanding this concept.
Businesses are making purposeful and effective efforts in improving DEI. Address your organization’s workplace microaggressions, and take another step closer to achieving your DEI goals.
Photo © New Africa / AdobeStock