Diversity and inclusion is the focus of many publications, with many tangible benefits and added value provided to business owners, however there are still misconceptions about the topic.
Whether you’re a company director, marketing manager or web designer change and acceptance is successful when, it’s driven by many. Therefore we should reinforce the importance that managers, senior leaders and stakeholders buy into the idea. They will witness the benefits both personally and from an organisational performance perspective.
Diversity and inclusion encompasses so much more than many realise. According to the Equality Act 2010, there are 9 protected characteristics namely: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
With so many elements to this topic, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s easier to exclude certain groups than others, and to help businesses be proactive about D&I and to help reinforce their strategies, various programmes and initiatives are invested in with the aim to become more representative of a specific group. These are the programmes that most people are familiar with, for example, women in leadership programmes.
Diversity isn’t simply about the protected characteristics; it includes diversity of style, culture, backgrounds, thoughts, experiences and it’s about embracing all individuals and encouraging individuals to bring their ‘whole’ self to work.
IBM’s global study (Perception is Reality, 2014) of over 33,000 people from 28 countries revealed, that organisations’, with a strong diversity and an inclusive climate, employees felt three times more confident in the performance of their organisation. A company’s ability to collaborate were found to be twice as high compared to organisations with weak diversity climates.
Consequently, these employees are more likely to remain loyal to their companies.
For businesses, diversity focuses on unlocking performance, driving engagement and valuing differences. Different attitudes, thoughts and styles all contribute to innovation and ultimately a better experience for your customers, providing the tangible benefit of superior customer service.
According to the IBM global study, diverse and inclusive companies are twice as customer focussed and four times higher in demonstrating innovative behaviours in comparison to organisations with weak inclusive and diverse climates.There will always be ideas that get rejected and people who don’t want to be part of a collaborative team. You will never please everyone. Diversity by default does not imply harmony. Diverse and inclusive environments are dynamic and energised. They create competitive collaboration and IBM’s global study found, that employees working in organisations with strong Diversity climates were half as likely to resign from their job within the next year. Therefore, a lower staff turnover will cost companies less financially.
Misconceptions aside, there are several benefits and ways that diversity and inclusion can add value to your business namely: improved financial performance, innovation and creativity, high levels of employee engagement as well as a workforce that reflects your customers. In essence, diversity and inclusion is beneficial for society collectively. Together, we can generate a global safe haven of acceptance.
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Content written by EDIT Development team
For more information contact Sonia Bate