Today, more employers are prioritizing diversity, inclusivity and equality initiatives to help their teams succeed. Diversity and inclusivity encompass a large group of themes, such as gender, race, age, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, background and schooling.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at what it means to have a diverse workforce, the benefits of an inclusive workforce, and tips on recruitment.
For more expert support in improving inclusion and creating an inclusive culture, get in touch with one of our experts.
What does it mean to have a diverse workplace?
When we talk about diversity in the workplace, we’re referring to a business that employs individuals with a varied set of characteristics. Hiring the same type of employee over and over can lead to limited output, can reflect badly on your business and potentially lead to a claim of discrimination.
Diversity and inclusion aren’t limited to just the nine protected characteristics, it includes;
- Cultural diversity: This groups an individual’s religion, traditions and beliefs.
- Socio-economic diversity: This groups an individual’s income, community, or education.
- National origin diversity: This refers to where an individual is born or raised.
Employers in the UK have a legal duty to protect their employees from discrimination and provide equality of opportunity in the workplace. You are also responsible for taking decisive action in the event discrimination exists in your organisation. Failure to do so can lead to potential litigation.
The benefits of diversity in the workplace
Making your workplace diverse and inclusive has many benefits for your business. The importance of diversity isn’t always obvious to companies, so we’ve outlined a few below.
Diverse teams boost creativity
Diversity within your team can help boost creativity and innovation. It allows team members to think outside the box, and use aspects of their own backgrounds to find a multitude of solutions.
If a team isn’t diverse or inclusive, you may find that you have one solution that’s ultimately based on one cultural voice. Diversifying your team removes this problem. As you create a more diverse team, you’ll start to get a wider range of perspectives. This will help with problem-solving and can increase your workplace’s productivity.
Recruit from a larger talent pool
It goes without saying that the more you embrace inclusiveness, the more you can recruit from a larger talent pool.
If you’re a company that only hires one particular gender, you’re limiting yourself solely to the skills of the individuals with that particular characteristic. Whereas an organisation that doesn’t put this limitation on themselves has access to the skills of everyone in that characteristic. Not only this, potential employees can see that your business is embracing diversity and inclusivity and this may attract them to your company over another.
Understand your customer base better
Having a lack of diversity and inclusion within your team means that you’re potentially missing out on reaching a huge portion of customers. This could be because they aren’t being represented through a lack of understanding.
For example, around 14 million people are disabled in the UK, this demographic in particular has a spending power of £247 billion a year. If a company doesn’t hire someone on the team with a disability they may not truly understand what it is a person with disability needs or what their everyday struggles are. Companies that do hire individuals with a disability will have a better understanding of what a disabled demographic may need, and help a business make accommodations that they are receptive to.
As having a diverse and inclusive team will help you understand your audience better, it is without a doubt that it will improve your company’s decision-making.
Knowing the differences between big decisions and the ones that can be made autonomously might seem a little overwhelming, but hearing from your team will help you decide what your next move should be. By listening to the voices of your team, you will help break the cultural wall and create a safe space to gain insights into what a particular demographic needs. This will go a long way in helping you make a rational and well-informed decision.
Evidence of Higher engagement
With mutual respect comes a more engaged employee. Employees are more motivated to reach new goals and produce better work.
Improves business reputation and reduces turnover
Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace will help build your company’s reputation, both with your employees and your prospective or current clients. A business that curates an inclusive environment will make its employees feel welcome and happy while at work, and in turn, improves the work they produce.
Diversity in the workplace helps reduce staff turnover. When employees feel comfortable at work, they are less likely to want to leave. Having a diverse team means that your staff will feel more secure in their roles, and ultimately know that their voices are being heard within the team.
Tips for recruiting a diverse workplace
Some employers may want to create diversity within their workplace but don’t know where to start.
Gain insight into the areas that need improvement
It goes without saying that you need to identify areas within your business that need improvement. This will help you highlight missing skills, and build initiatives that help you achieve your diversity goals. Examples include, if your business is already male-heavy, you may want to focus on hiring those who don’t identify as male.
Measure the success of your initiatives
Once you’ve built your initiatives and put them into action, you need to measure their success. When you’re putting the initiatives together, create metrics that you can easily track. For example, you could measure
- Employee satisfaction with the organization’s commitment to its diversity and inclusivity policies.
- Satisfaction with new hires.
- Employee retention.
- Employees’ performance.
When you’re looking at what needs to be improved in your business, look at your recruitment process. Ensure that the employees who are carrying out the recruitment process are trained to spot and report unconscious bias.
Use blind CVs
We all want the candidate screening process to be bias-free. Utilising anonymous CVs or blind CVs will help remove unconscious bias from the recruitment process. Companies can utilise software that removes information from CVs that may cause a bias, such as a candidate’s name, address and education.
Offer workplace policies that appeal to candidates’
To attract and retain diversity within your workplace, look at what you’re offering candidates and employees who work for you. From here you can identify areas where you can improve your offerings. For example, you could review what your time off or holiday policies are, and allow employees to have time off to celebrate certain religious holidays.