Employee experience is more than a buzzword. It’s a competitive differentiator necessary to attract and retain top talent. A strong workplace culture has become more important than things like office perks, which human resources (HR) has traditionally focused on when trying to elevate the employee experience. Company culture and employee experience have become a primary reason people stay with a job.

Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace plays a critical role in creating a strong culture and a positive employee experience. A diverse team drives innovation, business performance and profitability — all of which enable companies to invest further in their employees. Furthermore, talent mobility platform provider Topia’s recent survey “Adapt or Lose the War for Talent” found that a diverse and inclusive workplace is also vital for recruiting and retaining talent.

Here are five reasons making diversity and inclusion (D&I) a priority can help organizations create an employee experience that attracts and retains top talent:

1. Employees Are Craving It

Employees want a more diverse workplace. Four out of five respondents to Topia’s survey said they want companies to have more inclusive hiring practices, and nearly half of 18- to 38-year-olds said they wish they worked with a more diverse set of colleagues. Ignoring these desires is a surefire way to increase employee turnover and limit candidate interest.

2. It Spurs Creativity and Innovation

Plenty of evidence shows that diverse teams are more innovative, and employees themselves believe it. Nearly 80% of respondents to Topia’s survey said that building a team with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints leads to more creativity and innovation, and experts agree. This type of diversity creates a more energetic, collaborative and motivational work environment.

3. It Enables Agility and a Global Mindset

Globalization is here to stay, and the integration of global teams will only increase as companies and their employees recognize the agility that international mindsets can bring to an organization. Over 75% of survey respondents said that a global mindset makes for a better employee experience, which underscores the perceived value of this broader perspective and confirms employees’ desire for a more diverse experience.

4. Employees Crave International Experience

A majority of employees also want an opportunity to immerse themselves in another culture. Nearly 60% of survey respondents said they believe international experience is critical to career growth and mobility, and over one-third would consider moving abroad. Offering global mobility opportunities is crucial for creating a positive employee experience for people who seek career advancement and growth through exposure to diverse cultures.

5. Employees Want to Bring Their Authentic Selves to Work

An important component of a positive employee experience is feeling comfortable, safe and valued at work, yet one-fourth of respondents said they feel they have to hide parts of who they are, and 44% of human resources (HR) professionals believe their personal beliefs could limit their career potential. Cultivating an environment that welcomes and encourages diverse viewpoints is essential for creating a positive employee experience, especially as our work and personal lives increasingly overlap. People want to work in an environment where they can be themselves and devote their creative energy to their work.

Creating a Better Employee Experience Through Diversity and Inclusion

First, ensure that diversity and inclusion are core to who you are as an organization, and embed inclusive mindsets and practices throughout the company. Leaders set the tone here; it’s our job as training and HR professionals to create a dialogue with leaders and to implement D&I practices. Consider your hiring practices, promotional criteria, performance reviews and development opportunities. Do you make diversity and inclusion a priority?

Make it clear to employees that diversity and inclusion are key pillars of your culture and values. Having this conversation openly will make employees more comfortable and accepted, so they can shed the stress of secrecy and unlock their full potential.

Finally, make international opportunities available and open to a wider audience. Ensuring equal access and representation in your mobility program enhances employees’ growth opportunities and the organization’s agility and global mindset.

While these recommendations may require cultural shifts in many organizations, they are critical to foster the employee experience that your workforce is craving and create a competitive advantage for your organization.

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