How Can a DEI Program Help Avoid a Toxic Workplace?
There’s nothing more harmful for an organization than a toxic workplace. Most employees have experienced one throughout their careers. There could be a lack of enthusiasm or general malaise among the workforce; leadership may communicate poorly or not at all. There could be behind-the-back sniping, gossip, and dysfunction. High employee turnover could make the workplace look like the revolving door entrance to a mall.
The result? No one wins. A workplace environment poisoned by mistrust and dysfunction is one in which current employees don’t feel comfortable, new talent doesn’t want to join, and the overall bottom line suffers.
Today’s Toxic Workplaces
Here’s some bad news: in the uncertain and tumultuous modern business environment, these types of workplaces can easily fester. In this Forbes article, Dr. Aimee Harris-Newton identifies a few problems that can disrupt as companies grapple with the post-pandemic return to work, including:
Psychological adjustment after a year-plus of isolation and distancing
Conflicting political beliefs regarding vaccinations and mandates
“Pandemic PTSD” and its aftereffects
In an era of mistrust and confusion, those feelings can quickly enter the modern workplace (both virtual and in-person) and cause some of those significant problems to grow. As an endgame, more and more talented employees just aren’t putting up with toxic environments anymore. It’s one of the main reasons behind the mass exodus of “The Great Resignation,” as employees fed up with these harmful working environments are taking the opportunity to reassess their careers and, frequently, leave their jobs (helped on by a robust hiring market). Toxic workplaces can quickly become ones that their best and most talented employees move on to greener pastures.
How DEI Programs Can Help
The good news? Putting an effective DEI program in place can help to avoid the development of a toxic workplace. Here’s why:
Diverse organizations are better at adapting to change. In this fast-moving world, rapid changes are often the spark for turmoil within an organization. Diverse teams help to stop that tumult. A recent Bersin and Associates research study shows that diverse teams are nearly twice as likely to be change-ready – critical for stability in the modern workplace.
Diverse organizations are more stable. Constant turnover is the red flag for a toxic workplace. Diverse organizations are the exact opposite of that; research from the Corporate Leadership Council showed that employees from diverse organizations are 19% more likely to stick around at their jobs.
Diverse organizations make for more collaborative teams. The more collaborative teams are, the more harmonious the organization. Diversity and inclusion are key to collaboration; as shown in a Changeboard survey, diverse teams are 29% more collaborative, and per the Deloitte Review, inclusive workplaces improve decision making by up to 20%.
Diverse organizations are more profitable. The bottom line is another key to overall harmony in an organization – and diverse, inclusive businesses are usually successful ones. They have 2.3x higher cash flow over a 3-year period (per Bersin and Associates) and are 33% likelier to be profitable (per McKinsey).
Diverse organizations are psychologically safe. Diversity and inclusion programs help to build psychological safety—educating people on what it is, how to create it, and how to drive inclusion in everyday environments. It’s a critical way to actively combat a toxic environment.
Looking to avoid the mistrust, dysfunction, confusion, and uncertainty that comes along with toxic workplace culture in this unsettled era? Developing a robust DEI program (featuring a bridge-building tool like GlobeSmart) is one of your most effective options to keep your modern workplace on track.
Looking to champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace? Let GlobeSmart be your first step.