Following Pride Month and the criticism of businesses that changed their logo to the Pride flag without any meaningful action or diversity-led policies, it’s time for organisations to understand the importance of diversity and inclusion in their hiring practices. But if your business has never really focused on equality and diversity, what are those benefits?
Here, we’ll delve into the benefits a diverse workforce brings to businesses.
You can understand your customers better
A lack of diversity can impact your clients and the output of your business in many ways. For example, hair companies may produce products for afro hair without really understanding the specific needs of that type of hair. Or, across many sectors, accessibility provisions may take into account physical disabilities but not mental ones.
When people from diverse backgrounds come together, they can offer viewpoints that may not be considered by a more homogenous group. We know from current political events in the USA that when these voices aren’t heard, decisions are made without considering their needs. This applies to businesses, their employees, and customers too. An IT consultancy firm or UK call centre will stand a better chance of attracting and delivering an excellent service to customers with a diverse workforce.
Attracting and retaining top talent
Boards and senior management teams in the UK are still overwhelmingly male and white. As we go down the ranks, diversity increases, but many businesses are still seas of uniform faces.
Predominantly white businesses may struggle to attract BAME workers, while research has shown that 40% of women qualified in engineering will leave their roles because of “unwelcoming social barriers” that include being perceived as incompetent, being sexualised, and being excluded from social events.
Inclusive measures are also important for those with both visible and invisible disabilities. We’re aware that people who require mobility aids will require ramps and lifts to access certain parts of our buildings, but what about those with arthritis or chronic pain? Are your offices designed with developmental disabilities like autism in mind, or are they potentially overwhelming? Factoring in the needs of people from diverse backgrounds will show that your business cares about diversity and equality and can help you attract and retain so much more talent.
Better staff well-being
Employees who are surrounded and managed by people who share similar characteristics to them are likely to feel more welcomed and included. If a company is dominated by straight white men, it can sometimes contribute to a ‘laddish’ culture that can exclude women, LGBTQIA+ people, and those from different ethnicities.
A happy workforce is already a major benefit to businesses, but it also brings with it plenty of additional advantages. Businesses with a diverse set of happy people have a lower turnover and higher productivity and can even be more profitable. It pays to be diverse.
Diversity should always be a priority for businesses. Offering opportunities for people from different backgrounds is important for societal change and social mobility, but it’s also critical to business success. So if your organisation doesn’t yet have an equality and diversity policy in place, consider these three points and make them a priority.