11 Feb Diversity and Inclusion Benefits to the Bottom Line of UK Business
It goes without saying that we all deserve to work in an environment where no discrimination, harassment or bullying exists. The reality, however, is very different. What’s more is that people may not even realise their actions are limiting others’ access to opportunities. Bias is what disallows (sometimes inadvertently) people of a certain gender, race or religion from applying for a job or gaining a promotion.
Diversity and inclusion is a topic that’s relevant for all workplaces, regardless of the number of employees, and irrespective of whether these people work in an office, a factory or a warehouse. And every single company should set and achieve the same goal – to ensure that everyone is given the same opportunities and the same fair treatment.
The modern business landscape
Nowadays, building a diverse workforce is a major factor of success in the modern business landscape. Organisations which seek, celebrate, and embrace diversity and hire employees from a good mix of ethnic backgrounds are more likely to outperform their competitors.
However, it’s not just about building a heterogeneous workforce. If a business wants to truly reap the benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, it’s important to understand diversity’s strong points, and learn how they can help organisations grow. For that reason, we decided to interview our Business Developer, Ryan, and ask him a few questions about how businesses can benefit from diversity and inclusion in the UK:
E: Let’s begin with the basics. What is diversity and inclusion?
R: I read a quote that said diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance and that pretty much summed it up for me.
E: What makes a diverse workforce so valuable?
R: I worked in tech for a long time and one of the most interesting roles I had was working on Hackathons or innovation marathons as I called them. A lot of organisations needed to spend a lot of money to solve a specific problem because internally they couldn’t come up with a solution. The single biggest reason why a lot of organisations struggled to find a solution was because internally their teams were not diverse and as such lacked diverse problem-solving.
E: How can a business benefit from diversity and inclusion in terms of creativity and innovation?
R: Innovation is essentially being able to think outside the box and it helps if you have lived in different boxes. Allowing diversity into a business plan can be the secret to succeeding and achieving greatness. You’ll never know which mind holds the next great idea, so hiring diverse employees is a sure-fire investment that will pay off in the long term.
E: Is it true that cognitively diverse teams solve problems faster than teams of cognitively similar people?
R: Research has shown that the best performing teams are diverse teams so whether it’s problem-solving or otherwise, diverse teams outperform teams that are not.
E: Does inclusion have an effect on employee performance?
R: No one wants to live on an island isolated from the rest of society and the same applies in the workplace. The jobs that benefited the most from me as an employee where the ones that made me feel wanted, respected and valued. I felt part of the team and as such always wanted to make sure I gave 100% everyday with a smile on my face
E: Let’s face it – business leaders are goal-driven and measure by ROI on decisions. Can we state that a diverse workforce increases economic growth?
R: The first question I ask business leaders when it comes to D&I is why it’s important to their organisation. If the answer is “because it’s the right thing to do” then I know they already have a major problem. D&I is a must because research shows by sourcing from a larger & more diverse pool, it actually raises the quality of the end product and raises the quality of talent overall.
E: When a business looks to expand overseas, language barriers and cultural differences often act as an obstacle. However, if a company hires employees with different backgrounds, it might help to do business on a broader scale. What do you think about D+I benefits for UK businesses that are constantly addressing evolving markets?
R: A business should reflect the market it serves on a local, national and international level. Forward-thinking organisations tend to have community engagement programmes which help them understand the area as well as how to best attract talent from that community when it comes to recruitment.
E: Employee retention and engagement seems to be one of the biggest problems of modern business that leads to high employee turnover costs. Can diversity and inclusion activities help in this area?
R: A common mistake organisations make is around creating employee networks for specific demographic groups and failing to supporting those initiatives sufficiently. As obvious as it sounds, employee engagement helps not only to understand you workforce but also to identify the best retention methods and as such must be prioritised.
E: In April 2018, all large UK organisations were required to publicly disclose their gender pay gaps. Do you think that public awareness of D&I policies encourages businesses to take action? Or do they still tend to neglect existing issues?
R: A lot of organisations were already talking about the need to close the gender pay gap before it became mandatory. Organisations that care about D&I shouldn’t wait until there is a spotlight on them to act and a good example is the ethnicity pay gap. Organisations should be working hard to make sure their companies are diverse before they are required to disclose data on the ethnicity of their employees.
E: Is there a tendency for organisations in the UK to get stuck in the talking phase, and lack the follow through to tackle diversity and inclusion?
R: I think a lot of organisations want to do the right thing, talk a good game but because they don’t truly understand the value of D&I, they do not prioritise it or have a budget that reflects the importance of the project.
E: How can The Equal Group help companies which want to tackle diversity and inclusion head on, but don’t know where to start or have the resources in house?
R: At The Equal Group, our approach is always to start by having an open conversation so we have an understanding of your organisation, what you are currently doing and where you want to get to. A lot of companies tremble at the thought of admitting that they need help and it makes it difficult to know where to start. Our offering starts with an audit of your organisation which produces an easy to understand report showing the current success of your D&I efforts. This gives us a platform to explore what to do next so the most important thing The Equal Group can do for your organisation is give you the starting point to do better.
These are just a few of the countless benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Do you agree that it’s absolutely crucial to embrace diversity early on, and keep the policy into the future? If you’re ready to take the next step towards building a stronger and more successful business then please book a free consultation with one of our diversity and inclusion experts by filling in the form on our website: https://theequalgroup.com/contact-us/
About The Equal Group
The Equal Group offers data-driven diversity and inclusion consultancy and tech which helps companies identify bias within the workplace and the necessary action steps to disrupt it. TEG works together with universities that specialise in the D+I field and thus have experienced specialists on board.