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Over the past decade, leading companies have been making efforts to increase diversity and inclusion within their organizations. While diversity and inclusion movements first stemmed from social and political changes, we’re now seeing its many benefits within the workplace. In fact, according to a study conducted by McKinsey & Company, “companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians.” As organizations create environments that foster inclusivity and diversity in both background and thought, many are seeing improvements in productivity, sales, and employee engagement. 

While there are federal laws that protect employees from facing discrimination, it’s often not enough. Together, organizations are creating a blueprint for what diversity and inclusion should look like in the workplace. In order to create an environment that’s inclusive and intentional, organizations must first evaluate their current status when it comes to diversity. There are five levels of diversity and inclusion that allow organizations to identify where they are currently and where they want to work towards in the future. 

Levels of Diversity and Inclusion 

Level One: At this level, organizations have made no effort to address diversity and inclusion in the workplace. These topics are often absent from conversations, goal-setting activities, and is not present within the company’s strategic plan. At a personal level, top leaders within the company may know what diversity and inclusion matters are, and may know what it’s like to be a member of an underrepresented group. However, for many, these values are not guiding principles in how they make decisions or lead their company. 

Level Two: Organizations at this level are focused on diversity and inclusion as a way to remain compliant with laws and environmental pressures. Organizations at level two are often unaware of their blind spots, unconscious biases in the workplace, and are seemingly uninterested in their employees’ experience of diversity and inclusion in their day-to-day experiences. 

Level Three: At this level, organizations have already identified where they are with D&I efforts and have begun to take steps to improve their standing. This might include conducting interviews with employees, re-evaluating a strategic plan to include D&I efforts, or rewriting mission and vision statements to become more inclusive. 

Level Four: This level is beginning to show results from efforts made in level three. Diversity and inclusion has been implemented within the organization and the company can see improved outcomes in all aspects including employee morale, productivity and creativity. At this level D&I strategy is proactive, practical and fully integrated in day-to-day activities and long-term planning.

Level Five: This top level includes organizations that are thought leaders and demonstrate best practices throughout their industry and beyond. These organizations present ideas that are forward-thinking and connect businesses matters to D&I efforts. 

At RiskVersity, we understand that initiating diversity and inclusion efforts can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. That’s where we come in. If you’re organization is ready to take the steps to become more inclusive, please contact us. We’re here to help. 

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