Many companies have advanced labor inclusion, but generally it is about large multinational companies that also put it into practice only in high positions. A study of International Labor Organization (ILO) evidence that women, the LGBT+ population and people with disabilities and from racialized groups are more likely to be stuck “in the lower levels of staff”.
The position a person occupies determines more his professional development than the trajectory it has, according to the ILO reportTransforming businesses through diversity and inclusion. And reaching the highest positions is often justified by meritocracy, a concept that masks the path of discrimination that other people have to go through.
Two thirds of the more than 12,000 people surveyed for the labor research work in companies with policies of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). But in just 12% of those organizations, racialized staff hold a senior management position.
One consequence of the above is that “full inclusion and its benefits for the company, such as increased productivity, commitment, innovation and well-being, occur predominantly in higher-level employees.” If the lower positions are usually more numbers, the organizations will be favoring themselves very little.
In short, the ILO warns, inclusion continues to be a privilege for those who reach managerial positions. If it continues like this, he adds, the work centers will lose many advantages.
“If inclusion remains a privilege experienced only by the superior levelscompanies run the risk of losing the considerable benefits that could be obtained if it were experienced by the workforce at all levels regardless of their personal characteristics”, the document highlights.
According to the organization, there are “four principles that help achieve a transformational change in terms of Diversity and inclusion globally across all groups and levels of the workforce. When they are applied, the staff reports improvements, regardless of their position or their personal conditions.
1. Priority DEI policies
To conclude that these four principles will help businesses and people, the ILO conducted a study in 75 countries. For the first time, it stopped focusing on large companies in Western economies and looking only at gender differences from the perspective of executive positions.
This time he surveyed the workforce from the lowest levels of the organizational hierarchy. To people of various ages, disabilities, ethnic origins, religions, sexual orientation and gender identity and living with HIV, who work in countries with medium economies.
Thus, the first principle is the Diversity and inclusion as a priority and part of the workplace strategy and culture. When these policies are embedded in values and behaviors and in policies and processes, people are 21% more likely to feel encouraged and supported in their professional development. Also, 15% more chance to “give feedback on new or better ways of doing things.”
2. Representation in decision making
When senior management is represented by the historically excluded groups there is “a positive impact” on all people, and this is greater in those who belong to those populations.
For example, yes women are represented in at least 40% of senior management positions, the rest of the workers are 9% more likely to feel included, 10% more likely to feel encouraged and supported in their professional development and 12% more likely to report good levels of wellness at work.
3. Real Accountability
One of the findings of the ILO research is that in companies where high-level leaders, as well as managers and staff in general, are accountable on a daily basis for their actions for diversity and inclusionmale and female workers are 11% more likely to feel committed to the company.
This result was present in the work centers where, in addition to being accountable, the different levels worked as a team to find the best ways to be inclusive. That way, it’s also easier for them to report having better collaboration with their colleagues.
4. Impact throughout the cycle
The highest levels of inclusion, and its benefits, “only fully materialize when the measures are applied throughout the employee life cyclefrom hiring to development and retention”, highlights the report.
Another condition is that the policies are aimed “to create a strong sense of belonging and allow everyone to be authentic at work”. That is to say, that a community is formed, but one in which “individual needs are recognized, understood, attended to and, whenever possible, satisfied”.
According to the results of the ILO study, when there are already objectives and actions for the hiring and development of discriminated people, there are 8% more possibilities in which it is perceived that the opportunities and promotions are applied in a fair and transparent manner.
“When there is a diversity and inclusion policyrespondents are 9% more likely to agree that they are generally treated with respect and 18% more likely to feel supported to work flexibly.”
Other Necessary Items
Without allocating resources to the implementation of these actions, it will be difficult to have results, says the ILO. However, only half of the people surveyed say that the actions of Diversity and inclusion they are sufficiently resourced and “clearly identifiable in strategy and culture”.
It is also necessary to “strengthen internal capacities” to apply the four principles. Have case studies focused on small and medium businesses from developing countries is another step that is required.
And, from a distance, covid-19 has been a factor of change. “Two-thirds of those surveyed say that increased awareness of inequalities in societycaused in part by the pandemic, has contributed to more attention and action being taken” on this issue.
Two out of three people say that the way they experienced the pandemic increased their expectations of their company, now they believe that it is more likely to promote diversity and inclusion.