A workplace encouraging diversity, equality and inclusion can help make it more successful, keep employees happy and motivated, and prevent serious or legal issues arising, such as bullying, harassment and discrimination. Furthermore, the business benefits of diversity, equality and inclusion in a workplace helps to better serve a diverse range of customers, improve ideas and problem-solving, and attract and keep good staff.
According to Deloitte, diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee. Gartner found that inclusive teams improve team performance by up to 30 percent in high-diversity environments. In a BCG study, companies with diverse management teams had a 19 percent increase in revenue compared to their less diverse counterparts.
Although diversity and inclusion (D&I) offers clear benefits, it’s difficult to implement. A major issue is that many companies believe they’re already promoting a diverse and inclusive culture. However, only 40 percent of employees agree that their manager fosters an inclusive environment.
What is equality in the workplace?
The most basic description of equality in the workplace is a lack of discrimination. It is the fair treatment of people regardless of any protected characteristics, such as race, gender, disability, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or age.
It’s important to note that an equal workplace isn’t just one without discrimination – true workplace equality means that all employees have access to equal opportunities. Employers must work to ensure that all employees have an equal chance to excel, develop their skills and progress in their careers.
It’s critical to remember that ‘equality in the workplace’ isn’t a box-ticking exercise. In fact, it’s almost impossible to say it’s ever ‘done’. Working towards equality means making sure you have an inclusive and safe work environment, provide equal opportunities, equal pay and above all – accept and celebrate everyone for their differences. This should be a constant priority not just for workplace leaders, but for everyone in the workplace.
When it comes to diversity, inclusion and creating equality, it can help to take a close look at different elements of your workplace, rather than looking at it as a whole. This way you can see if any adjustments could be made to your operation to meet the needs of different people and create a plan of action. This means in the hiring process, encouraging a safe working environment, helping employees to educate themselves on discrimination, and celebrating the differences in your team – not just accepting them.
What does diversity mean in my business?
Diversity is the range of people in your workforce. For example, this might mean people with different ages, religions, ethnicities, people with disabilities, and both men and women. It also means valuing those differences.
If you have a strong employer brand built on diversity, new talent will start to emerge. Once you’re viewed in the public eye as a progressive company, you will attract people from every sector of society. When you have more applicants from more backgrounds, you have a greater pool of talent to choose from.
Not only does better diversity open up new talent, it also helps you retain the best talent you’ve got on the books. People want to work in a company that has values that reflect theirs. With society becoming ever more inclusive, and young talent in particular being acutely aware of inclusivity, your teams need to reflect the society in which we live so you can retain the best talent.
A 2013 report by Deloitte concluded that when employees think their organisation is committed to and supportive of diversity their ability to innovate increases by 83%. Diversity of employee results in diversity of thinking, with a 2018 Deloitte report saying that “research shows that diversity of thinking is a wellspring of creativity, enhancing innovation by about 20 percent. It also enables groups to spot risks, reducing these by up to 30 percent. It is evident that diversity in the workplace creates more innovative business outputs. By bouncing ideas off each other, a diverse team can generate more creative, innovative ideas. Skills diversity also comes into play here. Good diversity management is key to future business success.
People who come from different backgrounds can add new experiences, talent, and skills into your team — all of which improve company performance. A recent study by decision-making platform Cloverpop found a direct link between inclusive decision-making and improved business performance. Teams that were geographically, gender as well as age diverse made better business decisions 87% of the time. Valuing diversity and employing people from different backgrounds with different perspectives can massively improve business output.
An inclusive workplace means everyone feels valued at work. It lets all employees feel safe to:
- Come up with different ideas
- Raise issues and suggestions to managers, knowing this is encouraged
- Try doing things differently to how they’ve been done before, with management approval
All evidence proves that organisations focused on building a more inclusive culture attract and retain a wider diversity of talent. The inclusive culture then empowers diverse talent to think differently and share their experiences and perspectives, which in turn is a key driver for innovation, development and engagement.
Inclusive cultures enable our colleagues to do things differently, working in ways that suit them, with flexible working patterns to ensure their life-work balance is healthy and that they are able to deliver their best for their organisation.
With big companies now having to publicly disclose their gender pay gap data, and the drive for more inclusive workplaces increasing, introducing diversity drives into hiring decisions can improve your chances of acquiring the best staff. If you have proven success in hiring diverse candidates into senior roles, it can have a visual impact on those checking your company out before choosing to apply for a job.
It can also improve integration for new starters if they can see diversity throughout the business. Word travels fast in the modern world — especially through social media and review channels like Glassdoor. Get your diversity right, and your employer brand will strengthen significantly.
When you introduce people into your teams with different social, geographical and cultural
backgrounds, you instantly get a new knowledge-base for potential new markets. The business economy is becoming increasingly globalised. Whether you’re looking to open up your markets to working-class Welsh communities, translating your core message into Hungarian, or expanding operations to New Zealand, hiring a more diverse team will give you the core skills you need to push your business forward.
Why pay through the nose for a questionable standard translator when your in-house copywriter writes in three languages? Why employ separate language telesales operatives when you can hire staff who are multilingual? There are other advantages too. Having multiple nationalities and cultural backgrounds within your business can make it more appealing, modern and relatable to the outside world.
If these were not incentives enough, don’t forget that your business has a legal obligation to support certain equality and diversity objectives. In the UK, the 2010 Equality Act replaced a whole raft of legislation, including the Equal Pay Act 1970, Sex Discrimination Act 1995, Race Relations Act 1976, Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, Employment Equality (Religion & Belief) Regulations 2007, Age Discrimination Act 2006, Equality Act 2006 Part 2 and Sexual Orientation Regulations 2007. If you want to find out more, visit https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/. In the U.S., obligations include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. If you want to find out more, visit: https://ca.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/0-376-2317?transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default)&firstPage=true
Therefore, having a workplace that emboldens diversity, equality and inclusion will lead to a positive impact on the success of your business.