Why is diversity so important?
The focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace has never been so heightened. But why is diversity important?
Research is demonstrating that having a diverse and inclusive workforce encourages collaboration, forsters a wider variety of ideas and improves a company’s profitability.
According to McKinsey’s report, ‘Diversity Matters’, which examined data for 366 public companies across a range of industries in the UK, Canada and the US: Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
The financial profitability stems from employees being committed and invested in the business. To have the best chance of employees being fully engaged with business objectives, deliver new perspectives, skills, and aspire to become future leaders, they need to be embedded within a supportive culture with which they can resonate. With regards to gender balance, having women in senior positions inspires women to join the workforce and junior females in the business to progress.
The rewards from a truly diverse and inclusive culture can be significant for business growth and profitability. Therefore, it is important to note that diversity and Inclusion is not just an HR issue to tackle. Although HR may lead the project, a whole business needs to get behind this, from top to bottom to be successful. A well-implemented strategy is crucial for fair treatment and organisational flexibility.
Below are some diversity and inclusion strategy ideas that all businesses can be considering.
Diversity & Inclusion strategies
- Ensure that diversity and inclusion are part of the whole business strategy including all senior management and stakeholders.
- Assign responsibility for the diversity and inclusion strategy, ongoing performance and metrics to senior management
- Train all staff at all levels on diversity and inclusion. This could include subjects like gender coding, identity & mental health or unconscious bias.
- Integrate diversity and inclusion strategies in all ‘people’ related activities including recruitment, performance, management, leadership assessment, and training.
- Build employee networks like community outreach groups
- Standardise recruitment – this could include anonymous/blind candidate applications review, gender-neutral job advert writing
- Consider “culture add” rather than “culture fit” when growing the team.
- Understand and acknowledge global notable dates and celebrations
- Strengthen, update and potentially add new business policies
- Set smart objectives and measure progress such as TIDE benchmarking
- Creating an externally visible scorecard to measure progress and showcase metrics
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