Valeria Uribe
Nacional Director
Pan American Development Foundation PADF
/
Expert Contributor

Promoting Equality, Inclusion and Diversity in the Workplace

By Valeria Uribe | Wed, 03/16/2022 - 17:00

Promoting and supporting diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace is very important to achieve your organizational goals, and with higher success rates.

In Mexico, according to a survey administered by the Professional Career Center by OCC Mundial, only 40 percent of companies have a culture of labor inclusion in which they design and implement policies focused on hiring vulnerable populations, such as older adults, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and individuals from the LGBTI community. Respondents from human resources departments who participated in the survey said that discriminatory hiring practices persist and that discrimination is still prevalent at the recruitment stage. Given that many companies still do not have inclusive recruitment and hiring practices, what can be done to ensure equality, inclusion, and diversity in the workplace?

Gender Equality

Mexican workplaces continue to struggle to improve gender equality and diversity inclusion.

Only 47 percent of working-age Mexican women are part of the labor force, compared to the 67 percent average of countries within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the approximately 60 percent average in Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Brazil.

Some companies have made great strides to ensure gender equality within their workforce and across the different levels of management. For example, Ogilvy has developed a gender strategy and agenda through which it has been promoting equality in the workplace. Over 50 percent of its workforce are currently women and most of the director positions are occupied by women, including the position of CEO.

Diversity

McKinsey’s research on diversity shows that companies with greater gender, cultural, and ethnic diversity outperform employers with a more homogenous workforce. The research found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity outperform other companies by 21 percent. A diverse workforce can move companies and organizations forward by generating greater innovation, bringing fresh ideas and strategies, and ultimately increasing financial performance.

Diversity committees can be a helpful mechanism to foster unique talents, contributions, and perspectives of employees. For example, Ogilvy’s Diversity Committee, made up of core functional employees, is dedicated to providing equal opportunities within the company. Aligned with global best practices, the committees have been successful in incorporating diverse talent throughout all levels of the company.

Companies like Ogilvy are also committed to advancing diversity within their industries. Through a designated department on sustainability practices, Ogilvy provides sustainability criteria for diversity and inclusion to other companies, thereby contributing to improved diversity practices overall. Beyond diversity in the workforce, Ogilvy is also changing the way it approaches advertising and incorporating a diversity lens into its core business. According to Chief Strategy Officer and Managing Director of Ogilvy Consulting Cesar Olguin, “We must minimize the damage of advertising narratives on society, such as the roles of men and women, gender issues, age, the concept of Mexican national identity, socioeconomic status, and origin.” Olguin went on to state that “the brand that is desirable is not necessarily the aspirational one, it is the one that represents your reality.”

Inclusion

Disability is a natural type of diversity found within society and inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workforce is a social responsibility. Businesses can and should take steps to ensure that people with disabilities are included and represented in their workforce.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), there are approximately 1 billion people with disabilities across the globe (15 percent of the world's population) who, despite challenges to their inclusion, have an incredible potential for economic and social impact.

The MVS Radio Foundation supports Mexicans who are hearing impaired or deaf to improve their quality of life through labor inclusion programs. The foundation provides information and training to companies on how to include hearing impaired and deaf employees into their workforce. Fernanda Espinosa, the director of the foundation, shared that companies that hired people with disabilities have had positive results; teams have become more integrated and united, and employees have a greater commitment to values, learn to be more inclusive, and acknowledge the value of diversity. Similarly, Espinosa mentioned that the Citi Express hotel chain has hired 40 young people with hearing impairment throughout the Mexico, and that it has had a positive impact on the company.

Companies seeking to improve their inclusion practices can begin by voluntarily adopting Mexican Standard NMX-R-025-SCFI-2015 on Labor Equality and Non-Discrimination. The standard is a mechanism that recognizes workplaces that have established labor equality and non-discrimination practices for the integral development of the company and its workers.

Regardless of our gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, origin, disability, or other characteristics, we all deserve equal access to decent work. Equality, diversity, and inclusion are not only essential components to protect and promote labor rights, they also are key to better business outcomes. To learn more about how your company can improve its practices:

Photo by:   Valeria Uribe