Why Equality, Diversity & Inclusion is important in the workplace
21 Dec 2023
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is vital for any business, bringing people from different cultures and backgrounds together. When executed properly, EDI brings a balance of different viewpoints and experiences together, and builds a positive workplace where everyone feels safe, respected and valued.
What is Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace?
EDI in the workplace focuses on the efforts employers take to create an environment that is inclusive of individuals with different backgrounds, perspectives, experiences, and identities.
The UK Equality Act 2010 gives legal protection to nine characteristics, of which can act as a legal framework for an EDI policy. These are:
● Gender reassignment
● Marriage and civil partnership
● Pregnancy and maternity
● Religion or belief
● Sex and sexual orientation
● Socio economic status
However, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), “an effective EDI strategy goes beyond legal compliance and seeks to take an intersectional approach adding value to an organisation, contributing to the wellbeing and equality of outcomes and impact on all employees.”
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion - what’s the difference?
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are all interconnected concepts, but it is important to remember that they are not interchangeable nor are they mutually exclusive.
● Equality is about ensuring every individual has equal opportunity and chances in the workplace.
● Diversity is acknowledging people’s differences, from their backgrounds to their identity.
● Inclusion is the act of embracing and valuing these differences, with the core belief that inclusion builds a stronger, more inclusive world (and workplace).
Just because a workplace is diverse, doesn’t mean it is inclusive - more needs to be done to ensure everyone has equal opportunity and inclusion is practiced throughout.
The benefits of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at work
Better innovation and creativity
According to Josh Bersin’s research a diverse and inclusive workforce is 1.7 times more likely to innovate and lead in their industry or market.
When a company fosters a safe and inclusive workplace, with team members who have a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures, different viewpoints, experiences and skill sets are brought to the table. All of this leads to better problem-solving and decision-making.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace helps improve overall employee wellbeing. Our identity is encoded through nationality, race, gender and more - all of which influences our self-esteem.
When EDI policies ensure everyone has fair and equal opportunities - and rewards inclusive attitudes, social connectivity and belonging - discrimination, prejudice and harassment is reduced. This in turn has a positive impact on self-esteem, and helps businesses move towards Psychological Safety
at work. Moreover, an inclusive workplace can help to reduce stress, improve mental health
, and increase productivity, which ultimately benefits both employees and employers.
Attracting and retaining talent
From a business perspective, one of the biggest benefits that comes from Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is that it helps companies attract and retain people. After all, it costs money to hire new employees - if a business has a high staff turnover and people are constantly being replaced, it impacts profitability.
Additionally, having a diverse and inclusive workforce can help organisations attract a wider talent pool. A study by PRnews revealed that 86% of candidates said diversity was an important factor when looking for a job.
Research by McKinsey stated that companies with a diverse workforce are 35% more likely to outperform their industry competitors financially.
A diverse and inclusive team has in-depth insights, improved consumer knowledge and better decision making from the top. All of this helps to increase overall profitability.
The importance of EDI in the workplace
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion helps to attract and retain talent, promote employee wellbeing, create a positive brand image, promote equality, and reduce discrimination.
Creating a culture of diversity and inclusion leads to a positive work environment that benefits everyone involved.
Take a positive step today and find out about becoming Disability Confident here.