Inclusion & diversity is about empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes us all different. These values should be embraced to maximise performance and create a true representation of our society inside the workplace.
How does diversity and inclusion improve an organisation?
A diverse workforce brings a wealth of experience, skills and talents to an organisation. Think about the rich, dynamic culture that could flourish in an open, receptive workplace. One where people can enjoy a sense of belonging and have the confidence to share ideas and foster innovation. Companies that promote equality and inclusion are set for economic growth, shown to increase their financial targets. There is research showing this from Gartner:
‘75% of organisations with frontline decision-making teams that reflect a diverse and inclusive culture will exceed their financial targets. Gender-diverse and inclusive teams outperformed gender-homogeneous, less inclusive teams by 50%, on average.’
Having a varied workforce can, therefore, help you serve your clients better and drive your business forward.
What is the difference between d&I?
Variety in the workplace acknowledges the differences between people, some of those differences we are born with and cannot change. Anything that makes us unique contributes to it. This can be a religion or belief, your sexual orientation, or your gender, age, and nationality.
Whereas creating an inclusive working environment that is ethnically diverse and where different kinds of people can thrive, is essential for encouraging full participation and driving innovation and growth.
Organisations and business leaders should adopt codes of practice to support and encourage equality. It is important to champion D&I if they are to be successful in attracting and retaining talent.
A short video explaining diversity in the workplace
What is the importance of workplace diversity training?
“Always remember that you are absolutely unique - Just like everyone else.”
Most organisations have policies in place to combat discrimination in the workplace. Many of us feel that great strides have been made in ensuring equality of opportunity. And yet the examples in the media and statistics produced by many organisations point to discrimination persisting.
Did you know that only one third of companies in the FTSE 100 have a female CEO or Chairperson? Plus, only 8% of partners in Law Firms are from an ethnic minority background.
Clearly the fact that people believe they do not and should not discriminate is not reflected in the figures. Why should it be newsworthy if we have a black female CEO? Our workforce should consist of the best people.
What does diversity and inclusion in the workplace mean to you?
Say your company took time to write an inclusive job advert and advertise widely to encourage a diverse range of applicants. However, would they continue to shortlist the CVs and people who 'fit the mould'? Don’t let your organisation become a place where everyone looks the same or doesn’t reflect your customer base. If you do, your products and services will be less likely to meet your customers’ needs.
We all have a role to play to make our workplace varied. For instance, do you always ask the same colleague when you need help? Is there anyone who you didn’t call, or ask that you should have? Maybe you missed a great idea or opportunity. Sometimes a different perspective is just what you need.
A diverse talent pool that celebrates different ideas and choices leads to:
- Better decisions
- Increased innovation
- More debate and discussion
- A happier working environment
- A creative, open culture
- A workforce that better represents your consumers
- Employee retention
- Compliance with legislation
These are the models of practice that underpin D&I and equality at work. The bottom line is - strategically, ethically, and financially, it makes sense for organisations to be diverse.
In our free course we asked some people what it meant to them, watch the video to find out what they said.
Our assumptions can cause blind spots which make us less broad-minded and limit our own and others’ opportunities.
Did you know that:
- 67% of the British public admits to feeling uncomfortable talking to a disabled person?
- That gay and lesbian job seekers are 5% less likely to get an interview?
- That 34% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the UK choose not to disclose their sexuality at work?
Another worrying statistic is that 80% of employers admit to making decisions based on regional accents.
It is natural to make assumptions and even form judgements about people on a first impression. However such assumptions and judgements can stem from what is called an unconscious bias.
Unconscious bias affects the choices and decisions we make and the way we communicate with others. Our brains are constantly being inundated with information. So, we filter by letting certain information in and letting the rest out. When we meet a new situation, we try to categorise it based on our past experiences and our filtering of information.
But our filters may not be accurate – they may reflect our reality, but not someone else’s. Unconscious bias can affect the choices and decisions we make and the way we communicate with people at work.
If we don’t speak up and confront issues they can grow over time into something more serious. You can talk to those involved and have a quiet word. Nipping an issue in the bud keeps things simple, less formal, while making a point. It is doing nothing and allowing unacceptable behaviour to continue that causes difficulties over time.
How should companies prioritise d&I?
Your strategy should begin with goals at the organisational level to accomplish your D&I objectives. Use a goal setting model that will allow you to monitor goal progress and gives the flexibility for pivots.
Companies like Google and Facebook publish an annual report. This details what progress they have made with their D&I goals, as well as areas for improvement.
Before you jump in, why not conduct a survey with employees? This allows you to identify and collate the ideas and experiences of your workforce. Look for trends in the results that can guide your goal setting objectives.
Create a D&I policy
There is no legal requirement to have a written policy. However having one shows that your organisation takes being a diverse employer seriously. A formal policy will also encourage employees to take D&I seriously and ensure they treat each other equally.
Check out Josh Bersin's company framework
Training should be provided particularly for line managers to help them understand how to maintain a culture of equality. They in turn can advise their teams on correct practices. This could be using the right language and ensuring that facilities are accessible and appropriate to everyone.
Logicearth has created an exceptional course which we are giving full, free access to. It trains organisations in the correct D&I procedures and supports it's promotion in the workplace.
This is just one of the many courses we have created as part of our compliance series - Comply by Logicearth. Other topics include GDPR, IT Security and Health & Safety. Talk to us today about your compliance needs.
Links in this article:
Gartner - D&I Build High-Performance Teams
Logicearth - Free Inclusion and Diversity Course
The Guardian - Unconscious Bias
Josh Bersin - Why D&I Has Become a Business Priority
Comply by Logicearth
Get full free access to the course here, and share it with your team. You can also download the files and upload it to your website or Learning Management System.