A growing mandate for diversity, equity, and inclusion standards and policy in the workplace has been simmering for many years, and recently kick-started by racial justice protests following the death of George Floyd. New research from business news and how-to website The Manifest finds that two-thirds of American employees (66 percent) consider their company somewhat or very diverse, compared to just 15 percent of workers who do not believe their company is diverse.
But another startling finding of the research is that despite the spotlight on diversity and inclusion following Floyd’s death, employees say they have not noticed an increase in diversity in their own workplace. More than three-quarters of workers (78 percent) have seen no change in their company’s diversity over the past 12 months, according to the study.
However, business professionals believe there’s hope for increased diversity in the future. Bisma Farrukh, a marketer for insurance company One Day Event said that events such as the death of George Floyd happened so recently that companies are still creating strategies to increase their diversity. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic tumult have reduced hiring, making it more challenging to quickly diversify a workplace.
Still, Farrukh said that companies will eventually make more diverse hires, in part because employees are becoming more comfortable in diverse workplaces. Experts say that when employees judge if their workforce is diverse, they consider if they feel personally comfortable at their company and if they work with colleagues from different backgrounds and experiences.
Millennials prioritize diversity for an improved feeling of belonging
Diversity in the workplace is certainly becoming a priority for America’s youngest workers. More than half of millennial employees (57 percent) say workplace diversity improves their sense of belonging—a priority for the newest in the workforce.
Fewer than half of baby boomer (48 percent) and Generation X (45 percent) employees agree that diversity fosters a feeling of belonging. However, a majority of all American employees (59 percent) believe that diversity helps them learn more from their coworkers.
Other benefits cited by a minority of workers include increased creativity (46 percent), increased company pride (44 percent), and feeling safer at work (34 percent).
Diversity allows for employees to learn from each other and solve problems through innovation.
Julia Spence is the business development manager for LivaFortis, a biotech startup. LivaFortis is a women-owned business, and each of its five employees are from a different country.
“In meetings, we all have unique experiences to draw on,” Spence said, in a news release. “We can take the best ideas from different countries and continents and be highly innovative.”
Despite not seeing improvement over the past year, diversity is increasingly cited as a benefit to the workplace by America’s employees.