As our communities continue to grow more diverse, we also see dramatic changes in the fabric of retail as an increasing percentage of the workforce is populated with individuals of different identities, traits, cultures, and backgrounds. Awareness has heightened as the world continues to shrink and the demographics of the workforce change, and retail companies are taking on additional initiatives to further embrace diversity and inclusion.
Diversity can mean different things to different people, but in general terms, diversity involves the full range of human differences and should not be limited by narrow definitions. This often includes attributes such as race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical abilities or features, religious or ethical values, national origin, and political beliefs, but can also include other factors as well. By blending the characteristics, behaviors, and experiences that make each of us who we are, we give further meaning to our unique identity.
Inclusion, on the other hand, builds upon involvement and empowerment, where the inherent worth and dignity of all people are recognized. An inclusive environment promotes and sustains a sense of belonging. It values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and way of life for the entire team. It unites and integrates all people by providing equal access to opportunities, ideologies, activities, and resources.
Diversity & Inclusion Matter
The retail community has largely accepted that diversity and inclusion matter—that focusing on diverse teams, actively mitigating bias, and embracing inclusive habits ultimately benefit the business. We’ve come to recognize the value of an employee population that respects and embraces our human differences and better understand the unique contributions that variety adds to the retail culture. This creates a positive and nurturing work environment that maximizes the potential of all employees.
There will always be those that are resistant to change and refuse to accept that the social and cultural landscape of retail is evolving. Poor attitudes and personal biases can quell ideas and innovation, and slow progress. Perceptual, cultural, and communication barriers need to be overcome if diversity programs are going to be successful.
But despite these challenges, change is not only necessary—it is inevitable. As far as we’ve come, there is still much more to learn. We need to continue to modify our way of thinking to deal effectively with the issues of communication, tolerance, adaptability, variety, and change.
Diversity not only encompasses how we perceive others, but also how we perceive ourselves. We need to build a culture of respect where both attitudes and actions will encourage mutual understanding, creating an environment where people of all attributes and backgrounds can be valued and successful in the workplace and throughout our communities.
Embracing Our Differences
The benefits of embracing our differences and working together far outweigh the challenges we face. We must implement a strategy that best fits the needs of the business, creating an environment that assesses people for who they are, taking us out of our comfort zone, and establishing a plan that best brings ideas to actions. It’s time to get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations, learning more about our differences and ourselves.
This survey is intended to do just that. Some of these questions may be considered difficult or uncomfortable to answer. Some will explore areas you likely didn’t expect. But if we want to continue moving forward, it’s important to ask tough questions. Our hope is that you will dig deep and answer honestly. Your responses will help feed the ongoing conversation.
Please Share Your Opinions
This is an opportunity for you to become a valuable part of this necessary discussion. We realize that this will take a small investment of your time to complete, but we also feel that it’s essential that your voice is heard and your opinions are shared. The best way to influence change is to speak up, and your insights can and will make a difference.
We anticipate that it will take approximately 20–25 minutes to complete this survey, so get comfortable, strap in, open your mind, and start your engines. In addition to the questions, we have also provided areas where you can expand upon your answers.
The identities of all those participating in the survey will remain strictly confidential, and we strongly encourage your open and honest responses.
Once the responses are gathered, a summary article and an analysis of the survey results will be made available by LPM.
Ready to get started? Let’s do this!