- Workers from underrepresented demographic groups on science teams are more likely to view the attitude of their team and team expectations negatively, a Michigan State University and University of Michigan diversity and inclusion study found. Researchers said these team members might, hypothetically, include foreign-born black women or gay men. Lead research author Isis Settles, U-M professor of psychology and Afro-American and African studies, found that these teammates had lower satisfaction with the team and held negative views of team authorship and data sharing. However, employees of all demographic backgrounds on diverse teams had more positive perceptions overall than those on more homogeneous teams, the study showed.
- Researchers said they examined two categories of diversity: demographic (race, nationality, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation) and scientific (education, career stage and team tenure). Settles told MSU Today that to create successful demographically and scientifically diverse teams, it requires more than recruiting from underrepresented groups. Even diverse teams can struggle with sharing credit and their differing perspectives and positions in the hierarchy, she said.
- The researchers asserted that resolution requires improving inclusion, collaboration and fair procedures, and making sure team policies are clear, discussed openly and transparent to eliminate power imbalances. Kevin Elliott, MSU professor and a study's co-lead author, told MSU Today that teams must be aware of the experiences of all members, especially those representing demographic diversity.
Despite growing support for inclusive policies and diverse teams, workers from underrepresented groups have reported on their mistreatment in the workplace for years. A 2017 Harris Poll found that more than a third of tech workers left their jobs because of being mistreated; hardest hit of all were women, African Americans and ethnic minorities, who cited unfair practices involving people management, job assignments and promotions, bullying, sexual harassment and stereotyping. Although the poll focused on tech workers — whose industry struggles with achieving D&I goals — underrepresented workers across industries often face similar barriers.
A 2018 Catalyst study found that employers often undermine employees of color; 58% of women of color said the discrimination and bias they experienced at work keeps them from sleeping well. Some respondents felt like quitting their jobs and believed they needed to one-up their white colleagues.
The universities' research and this past data make a strong case for inclusion as the second component of the diversity equation. Inclusion goes beyond diversity, which often focuses on numbers and percentages, and involves adopting values and taking actions that support every workers' career growth, encourages their contributions and ideas and rewards their achievements.
For talent professionals making the case for more inclusive policies, several studies have shown that a diverse, inclusive workforce drives innovation and a high return on investment.