People are the heartbeat of a business, without which their values would be nothing more than cold words on a page. So every organisation seeks to hire the best people to keep their business running and this is where D&I comes into play.
Businesses serves a variety of customers and those customers are usually reflective of society. As we all know, society is made up of a vast array of people of different creeds, colours, personalities and cultures.
In order to provide the best service possible for its customers, a business should ensure that it is also reflective of society. Not least because this means it’s likely that the views and needs of all of its’ customers are represented but because it’s the right thing to do.
If that’s not convincing, let’s look at the data: Research from McKinsey shows that the most ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform the least ethnically diverse companies. Diversity also impacts a company’s ability to retain its people. 57% of employees want their company to do more to increase diversity, so prioritising diversity and sharing these efforts with our people are important to retention strategies.
Diversity is also important to new hires. According to Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers
said that a diverse workforce is an important factor for them when considering companies and job offers.
Finally, one of the key things to note for any organisation is that diverse teams make better decisions, they outperform individual decision-makers up to 87% of the time when it comes to making business decisions.
When we think about diversity in the workplace, most people think we are only referring to gender and race. While they are important factors in making a business more diverse, they are not the only factors.
The Equality Act 2010 set out details of the groups that are protected by equality legislation, known as protected characteristics, these groups are age, disability, gender reassignment, religion or belief, race, sex, sexual orientation, marriage, civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity. It is important for all organisations to be mindful of these groups when considering diversity and inclusion.
But what if you sit outside of these groups and you don’t agree that any of these matter? What if you think that the most important thing is just getting the job done? Well, then ask yourself this one question: could I do my best work in an environment that I felt restricted me in any way because of who I am?
The answer is probably no and one of the reasons we can’t do our best work, under those circumstances, may be that being the subject of bias can invoke feelings of anxiety,
stress and depression and other mental health conditions and physical conditions. The question is: how can we provide our best performance if we are experiencing poor mental health, no matter how mild or severe?
Diversity and inclusion matter to an organisation’s people so that they feel comfortable working in a place where they can be themselves and perform to the best of their abilities. It matters because we should all understand that being a diverse and inclusive organisation enables and encourages creative thinking and challenges group thinking. This, in turn, helps us to be assured that we are making sound decisions that incorporate the latest innovations and help us to best serve all our customers.
On a more basic and human level, we need to ask ourselves what kind of place we want to work in? We spend a large portion of our time at work and so it accounts for a significant portion of our lives. We want to make sure that this is time spent in an environment where we can be ourselves, where we can be happy, where we can create and make mistakes without fear of judgement.
We need to be in a place where the difference is embraced and respected so that everything we bring to the table is appreciated. This is something that we all want and therefore diversity and inclusion are crucial.