Diversity and inclusion: the secret to success for scientific organisations12th May 2023
By embracing diversity, scientific organisations can broaden their perspectives, enrich their research, and build a stronger and more inclusive community. Diversity and inclusion are critical not only for ethical and social reasons but also for scientific and financial success.
Benefits of diversity in the scientific workplace
A variety of perspectives can challenge established theories and spark innovative solutions to scientific problems. A culturally rich workplace fosters innovation in scientific organisations by leveraging varied knowledge and experiences.
Work that is representative of the wider community
Diversity in scientific organisations guarantees a more inclusive outcome by reflecting the needs and values of society. Scientific organisations must represent the communities they serve, a diverse workforce ensures that scientific research is not biased towards a particular group of people or ideology.
A more engaged and motivated workforce
Nurturing a sense of belonging in employees boosts job satisfaction and performance. Fostering inclusion also builds a stronger sense of community, resulting in increased employee engagement and retention.
Research has shown that diverse organisations are more financially successful than homogenous ones. According to a McKinsey report, ‘companies with diverse leadership teams are 35% more likely to see higher financial returns than their peers‘. This is because embracing diversity in scientific organisations empowers teams to approach challenges from various angles and unlock novel solutions.
So, what practical steps can scientific organisations take to foster inclusivity and collaboration among diverse groups?
Here at CY Partners, we’re seeing scientific organisations implement various diversity and inclusion initiatives with great success.
Just a few of the key initiatives we’re seeing organisations employ are:
- Diversity and inclusion committees
- Bias and inclusive leadership training
- Diversity goals
We’re also seeing organisations offer incentives such as bonuses, promotions, and recognition to encourage participation in diversity and inclusion initiatives. These organisations tend to be more successful at attracting talented individuals and producing breakthrough discoveries through collaborative and creative efforts.
Breaking barriers and unlocking Innovation: Practical strategies for building diverse and inclusive teams
We encourage employers to take a proactive and long-term strategic approach to fostering inclusion in the workplace. To enhance your D&I strategy, here are our top tips to help you bring diverse groups together in the workplace.
Set diversity and inclusion goals by:
- Conducting a thorough analysis of the organisation’s D&I performance, including diversity statistics, employee feedback, and any barriers to inclusion that exist.
- Determining the areas in need of improvement, these could be for example recruitment, promotion, retention, or training.
- Engaging employees: involve employees in the goal-setting process to gather feedback and buy-in.
- Setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) Goals. Examples of SMART goals could be ‘increase the percentage of underrepresented groups in leadership positions’, ‘improve employee engagement scores for diverse groups by x’, or ‘implement diversity and inclusion training for all employees’.
- Establishing metrics and tracking progress on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Celebrate the success of organisational diversity and inclusion efforts by, for example, looking at metrics that demonstrate progress:
- Increased participation in employee resource groups or diversity and inclusion training programmes.
- Higher levels of collaboration and teamwork among employees from diverse backgrounds.
- More diverse candidate pools for job openings or promotions.
- Higher retention rates for employees from underrepresented groups.
- More positive perceptions of the organisation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion among employees and stakeholders.
Share successes with employees, stakeholders, and the wider community, for example by:
- Creating a report, newsletter, or social media post highlighting the organisation’s D&I efforts and achievements.
- Building a culture of recognition and awarding those who have contributed to the execution of D&I initiatives with bonuses, promotions or gifts.
- Soliciting feedback: ask employees about their experience within the company and what they think can be done to improve D&I efforts.
- Celebrating diversity through events, cultural fairs, training sessions, or employee resource group activities.
Implement diversity training
It’s important to educate employees on the importance of D&I. Topics could include cultural awareness and sensitivity, unconscious bias, and allyship.
Follow these steps to implement diversity training:
- Conduct a needs assessment to determine the specific areas where employees need education and training, for example via a survey or focus group.
- Develop training materials tailored to the specific needs of the organisation, for example presentations, videos, or interactive workshops.
- Deliver engaging and interactive training and encourage participants to share their own experiences and ask questions.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the training by gathering feedback.
- Apply feedback to make necessary improvements to the training program.
Create a Diversity and Inclusion Committee
A diversity and inclusion committee can provide a platform for employees to voice their opinions and ideas. The committee can also act as a liaison between the workforce and the leadership team.
Follow these steps to create a successful D&I committee:
- Identify what the committee is setting out to achieve.
- Identify key stakeholders.
- Form a planning team.
- Map out the committee structure.
- Develop a charter that outlines the committee’s mission, goals, and operating procedures.
- Invite employees to apply for membership.
- Train committee members to ensure that all members have a baseline understanding of these issues.
- Set priorities and develop an action plan, this might include for example conducting a diversity audit, developing training programs or creating affinity groups.
Offer Incentives for Diversity and Inclusion
Reward offerings and incentives should take into account the unique and diverse needs of your organisation’s employees. There are various incentives that your organisation may choose to utilise, these could include:
- Bonuses, promotions, or recognition
- Extra pay
- Gift cards
- Special recognition
Collaboration facilitates the exchange of unique perspectives and experiences, leading to more creative and effective problem-solving. By working together, individuals from diverse backgrounds can bring their unique strengths and ideas to the table, creating a culture of inclusion that values and leverages differences.
Top tips for promoting collaboration in the workplace:
- Encourage open communication.
- Foster a culture of mutual respect and trust.
- Facilitate teamwork and cross-functional collaboration.
- Provide networking and professional development opportunities for all.
- Celebrate achievements and recognise team contributions.
- Foster a sense of community through social activities and team-building events.
Organisations that value and leverage diversity in the workforce are more likely to thrive in today’s complex business environment. Investing in D&I initiatives leads to greater employee satisfaction, better financial performance and a competitive edge in the market.
As expert scientific recruiters, CY Partners recognise the critical role we play in advancing diversity and inclusion, both within our own organisation and when working with others. We are devoted to promoting equality and diversity across the business. Our overall workforce is 50% female, 30% ethnically diverse & 14% LGBTQ+ & 7% registered disabled.
If you’d like assistance with building a comprehensive diversity and inclusion plan that drives real change in your organisation – please contact us here.