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The Unexpected Value of Diversity and Inclusion In Business

In this episode of One Next Step, Tonia Benas, BELAY’s Talent Acquisition Recruiter and D&I Committee Co-Chair, and Beth Thompson, BELAY’s HR Generalist, join us to talk about the importance and value of diversity and inclusion in business.

They’ll also explain BELAY’s journey to developing their own D&I Committee.

We’ll recap the episode here.

What is Diversity and Inclusion?

In a podcast episode with Dethra U. Giles, we learned that diversity and inclusion are related, but they’re not the same thing. Diversity is the act of having a variety of people on your team. Inclusion takes it a step further by fostering an environment with processes that nurture, leverage and celebrate these differences for the improvement of the organization.

Diversity and Inclusion have to become part of your culture, not just a box to check off because embracing diversity and inclusion is just the right thing to do. If companies want to attract top talent, that talent needs to feel included and have a sense of belonging — both of which are major drivers of engagement.

When the team is more engaged, they are more productive. When they feel like they’re valued and their voice matters, they buy into the mission and bring more value to the company.

This is not only a way to attract better talent to your organization, but also make your communities, businesses and relationships you’re in better.

BELAYS's Stance on Diversity & Inclusion

At BELAY, we make room at our table for everyone. We don’t mean that in hollow lip service, shake-hands-and-kiss-babies kind of way.

We mean it because we live it. And we mean everyone.

We are a motley crew of impossibly talented, endlessly passionate, and uncomfortably generous eclectic souls, all united by one common denominator: We live to serve.

So we are intentional about having a workforce that’s representative of everyone we serve with inclusion across race, gender identity, age, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, ethnicity, perspective, and experience.

We encourage our employees to bring their best, most authentic whole selves to work every day.

Here are some questions for you and your team to ask yourselves.

    1. What is your overall impression of diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
    2. What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of your business when it comes to D&I?
    3. What is one small thing you can do to begin building a more D&I-aware workplace?

How to Foster Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are about race, but it’s about other issues, too. It’s about the diversity of thought, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, pronouns – and more.

Understanding the experiences of those around you helps us to grow and become more appreciative of one another. If your employees can bring their authentic selves to work, they will naturally be working from a place of strength.

Two of our top core values are God and Team. At BELAY, we truly hold to the idea that we’ve all been created in God's image and therefore deserve to be valued.

All of those things matter and are important. All of us came from different places with different experiences. With D&I, we seek to learn about those experiences and each other.

If you achieve that level of engagement through inclusion and belonging, you’re not going to have to worry about retention. If your employees can bring their authentic selves to work, they will naturally be working from a place of strength.

Building A D&I Strategy For Your Organization

Champion others who bring different experiences and perspectives. Diversity and inclusion start by just having conversations. This reveals where the pain points and gaps are that need to be addressed. After that, it’s important to be allies, do your homework, and champion others that bring different experiences and perspectives.

Inclusion and belonging are major drivers of engagement. Even if you don’t have all of the answers, it’s important to get started and communicate throughout your company so there is buy-in.

You can certainly reach out to other companies to glean ideas, but you have to figure out what works best for you and cater to your specific organization.

Start with the low-hanging fruit and then reassess going forward to ensure inclusion and belonging. It’s important to navigate how to make sure that once people are there, they feel wanted and included.


Learn More About Workplace Diversity and Inclusion

In the bonus content of this episode, we learn about some of the essential things a company must do to be successful when it begins to incorporate diversity and inclusion into its culture.

This episode’s resource is BELAY’s D&I Strategy Worksheet — a guide to work through to give you your tangible first step in your business's diversity and inclusion journey.