Main Content

Back to Blog List

The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 03 February 2023
  • Tiffany Carey

How Small Businesses can Foster Diversity and Inclusivity

Black History Month serves as a reminder for companies to focus on how to carry the lessons of history into the present and future. Businesses have a critical role in fostering diversity and inclusivity within their organizations. Earlier this year, Newsweek released its list of America’s Greatest Workplaces in 2023 for Diversity. The list, which included UPS, recognizes companies' growing emphasis on creating and implementing effective diversity and inclusion programs. In fact, it’s so important that according to a CNBC/Survey Monkey Workforce Survey, roughly 80% of workers say they want to work for a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I).

small group discussion with diverse participants

However, to begin fostering diversity and inclusion in your small business, it’s essential to understand they are not one and the same.

What’s the difference between diversity and inclusion?

The terms diversity and inclusion are often used interchangeably, but they do not share the same definition. Diversity is the practice of including people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds, different genders, sexual orientations, etc. Inclusivity is the policy of including all types of people, things, or ideas and treating them fairly and equally. It is possible to have a diverse workforce but not an inclusive one. Diversity without inclusion is like having a car without wheels; it’s pointless.

The benefits of fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Recent research by Gartner states that 75% of organizations with teams reflecting a diverse and inclusive culture will exceed their financial targets. A strong DE&I makeup means increased sales and creativity, improved team dynamics and collaboration, higher job satisfaction, and greater loyalty to your business. Additionally, businesses can access a larger pool of diverse talent by creating an open and welcoming environment where people are free to be their authentic selves and bring their unique perspectives to the table. This can help companies stay ahead of emerging trends, develop innovative products and services, and serve customers with varied needs and preferences more effectively.

Inclusivity helps employees feel that their voices are being heard and their identities respected, making them much more likely to be happy and engaged in their work. This can lead to improved productivity, higher job satisfaction, and fewer missed workdays due to stress or other mental health concerns.

Five companies with stellar diversity and inclusion programs

1. IBM: IBM's "Be Equal" is aimed at promoting diversity among its employees by providing mentorship programs, networking events, and other initiatives that foster an inclusive environment through “Be Equal Allies” who are any person actively promoting and progressing equality and inclusion in their everyday efforts for the betterment of others.

2. Target: In addition to its “Champion an Inclusive Society” program which revamped its DE&I strategy to align with a revision of the company’s purpose, “Target’s Growing the Circle: DE&I Forum” focuses on championing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive society at every level of the organization through education and recognition.

3. The UPS Store: The UPS Store advances diversity and inclusion from the top-down to build a better workplace by recruiting franchise owners through its Diversity Ownership Program. This program offers substantially discounted franchise ownership fees to eligible first-time buyers who are minority applicants. Its success scaled minority first-time The UPS Store buyers from 22% in 2021 to 40% in 2022.

4. Warby Parker: Along with their “buy a pair, give a pair” movement, Warby Parker’s commitment to social impact expands to further education, development, and advancement as part of their racial equity and inclusion strategy.

5. Squarespace: Website building and hosting company, Squarespace is growing its DE&I program with the addition of seven global Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which create supportive communities, events, and special programming for their members. 

How small businesses can begin to foster diversity and inclusion

By taking proactive measures, small businesses can foster diversity and inclusion through their policies and practices. Start by creating policies and processes emphasizing respect, inclusivity, collaboration, and understanding different cultures, beliefs, and abilities. From there, focus on implementing diversity and inclusion training programs and creating a safe space for open dialogue, both of which can help educate employees on the importance of inclusivity and how to create a culture that is respectful and understanding of different backgrounds.

Start now

The key to creating an effective DE&I for your small business is to start now. With thoughtful preparation, small businesses can become places of mutual respect and understanding that values every individual's unique contribution. Start by making small changes and slowly, over time, you will begin to see tremendous results.

Back to Blog List