Why diversity and equality should matter to your business31/01/2018
Diversity and equality issues have been hitting the headlines recently. Whether it is about what large ‘men only’ groups get up to at a charity dinner, the ongoing debates around equal pay at the BBC or the wisdom of appointing Phil Neville as the head coach of the England Women’s football team - diversity and equality is something a lot of us are talking about at the moment. But what does this all mean for business? And why should you care?
It doesn’t matter whether you employ two people or two-thousand, diversity and equality are relevant to all workplaces. UK legislation – covering age, disability, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation among others – sets out minimum standards. An effective diversity and equality strategy goes beyond legal compliance and seeks to add value to an organisation and contribute to employee well-being and engagement. The aim is simple - to make sure that everyone has access to the same opportunities and receives the same fair treatment.
Apart from legal compliance and a sense of ‘doing the right thing’, why should you put a strong diversity and equality plan at the core of your business? I think there are four compelling reasons:
- Diversity helps your business to attract staff and to grow. In the UK, the working population is aging and there is an increasing number of women and ethnic minorities entering the workforce. Selecting your workforce from the widest pool of people enables you to find the best skills and experience to match your job requirements
- Diversity helps your business to develop and be innovative. Wouldn’t life be dull if we all did and thought the same things? We need different views and experiences in our workplace to challenge the status quo - to help us generate new ideas and innovative ways of working
- Diversity helps your business to connect with more customers. If you want to get close to your customers and better understand what is important to them, then it pays to have a workforce that reflects their demographic. A diverse workforce helps your business to reach out to a much wider customer base.
- Diversity helps your business to retain staff and keep them engaged. Recruiting and training new staff costs your business money. If people see that your business treats staff fairly and provides access to equal opportunities then they are much more likely to want to work for you and stay with you. And, the chances are, if they are happy and engaged they will work much more effectively and help to keep your customers happy and engaged.
Penny Davis is an HR expert specialising in developing teams, change and transition management and scaling SMEs for growth. If you think she could help your business, then get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org