Creating a diverse workforce is good for society... and for business
1 Jun 2021
Put a brainstorming group of like-minded employees together and the result is likely to be they all come up with similar ideas. That’s because their thinking patterns are much alike.
Mix it up a bit and bring together a diverse group of people and guess what: the result is likely to be different and much more innovative.
It’s just one of the ways creating a diverse workforce can benefit your business.
But what is meant by diversity? It’s generally acknowledged to include:
- culture or ethnicity
- sex or sexual orientation
- educational background
- ability and disability.
On Employability Day look at the colleagues around you: would you describe it as a diverse and inclusive group? Your workplace should be one in which everyone feels included for who they are and what they bring to work every day.
The effect of the pandemic has been felt by many already disadvantaged sectors, with disabled jobseekers now more than twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people; those over 50 making up one in four of all unemployed people; while the jobless rate for young black people has risen by more than a third to 35 per cent.
Diversity benefits employers, too.
But where to start? Recruitment is the obvious place.
- A workforce that reflects the sectors or areas your customers are from is more likely to understand their needs and come up with ideas to fulfil them.
- It will also increase morale, a desire to be more effective and mean employees are likely to stay with you for longer.
- And to go straight to the bottom line, a US study suggested companies with a more diverse workforce generated 19 per cent additional revenue than those with a less innovative culture.
Think about where you advertise: make the most of job sites aimed at particular sectors of the population and highlight the fact your company is diversity-driven. Demonstrate that by the make-up of your interview panel and by employee case studies on your website.
Communication is also key. Employees need to know that prejudice of any sort is not tolerated and to understand any unconscious bias they may have.
Managers must be aware of different cultures and their traditions and how these can be catered for.
There’s a further source of expertise you can turn to – your existing workforce.
Many companies have set up groups featuring colleagues from diverse backgrounds to advise on company policies and processes.
Ingeus’ own Diversity & Inclusion Group Chair, Evelkah Powell, explains more:
“Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is a prominent topic for more and more employers, with many striving to ensure it is embedded and implemented within the workplace. However, there is still too much variation in the commitment to EDI. When we talk and share ideas about improving EDI, we are really looking at the multidimensional and intersectional aspects of people who share differences amongst each other by understanding, accepting, valuing, and celebrating these differences - with respect to gender, physical and mental ability, race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion. However, what we often miss is that diversity is the core element we need to change and challenge our perceptions and biases around individual and group differences. EDI is an important topic that should be at the top of every employer’s priorities, because, as we become successful in achieving great diversity in the workplace, we inherently and unapologetically change the perceptions and social constructs and systems, as well as uncovering our own personal biases. Therefore, by incorporating EDI in the workplace, we are challenging structures, systems, and society to think, understand and learn how to celebrate differences rather than shying away or fighting against them. This is the end goal, but first we need to take the right steps to reach a completely diverse workforce.
Many organisations take different steps in their approach, such as the way they recruit, setting up mentorships and buddy systems, creating EDI groups and boards, creating safe spaces, signing up to EDI charters and so much more. They all play a healthy part in increasing diversity in the workplace. The major challenge of them all is consistency and sustainability. It is good to create and implement initiatives, but diversity should not be a tick box exercise, instead the impact should be evidenced by a workplace where every person feels comfortable, respected, celebrated, and where the commitment to diversity does not stop or become less important or valuable to anyone. The continued pursuit of EDI in this way, guarantees your workplace is already on its way to changing how we see differences.
So, what are the benefits? Benefits are quickly observed through increasing diversity; these include, but are not limited to, increasing creativity, productivity, commitment, trust and competitive advantage, and ultimately greater business success, such as increasing profit and winning new bids. Thus, “in an era when flexibility and creativity are key to competitiveness, diversity is critical for an organisation’s success” (Kelli et al., 2009).
At Ingeus, we thrive in ensuring our workforce is diverse and inclusive. Last year, we set up our Diversity and Inclusion Group with the aim of making real change within the business by engaging and working alongside senior leaders and colleagues to identify and challenge areas in the business where more can be done. Additionally, our new in-house Talent Acquisition team focus on changing the way we recruit by regularly measuring and reporting on progress, liaising with diversity networking, creating job adverts into gender neutral language using the gender bias decoder functionality amongst so much more. We’ve also strengthened our commitment by pledging support to established initiatives and expert ways of working such as Stonewall and Business in the Community’s Race Charter, as well as continuing as role as a Disability Confident leader helping other businesses with inclusive workforce planning. We continue to create innovative initiatives that will strength diversity and inclusion in our business, with a mission to ‘Celebrate, Educate, Innovate’.
While this is everyone’s commitment, our activities are spearheaded by our People and Culture Director, Juliet Mortiss: “At Ingeus, our mission is to enable better lives for our clients, employees, and all stakeholder, with no reference to bias, race, gender, ability or social status. At the core of our values is everyone is equal and deserves to receive the same exceptional experience, no matter who they are and where they live. We Believe in Everyone. We have such a critical role to play in our local communities and to support what is right and together, and for this reason diversity and inclusion is front and centre to what we do each day.”
With the growing globalisation of business, achieving diversity in the workplace is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart move to make.
To talk to us about diversifying your recruitment and workforce, contact us at: https://ingeus.com/uk/contact-us