The terms ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusivity’ have an unfair reputation as business-speak buzzwords, whether due to virtue-signalling gestures by larger businesses or a fundamental misunderstanding of their importance to businesses.
Diversity encompasses the representation of disadvantaged and minority communities – whether due to socio-economic or ethnic background. Meanwhile, inclusivity refers to equal and equitable provisions that enable the professional developments of the marginalised, from ethnic communities to the disabled population. But why are they so important for a business?
A diverse and inclusive workplace is a much more appealing one to foster a long-term professional career in, for disadvantaged communities and staff cohorts as a whole. Implementing accessible infrastructure minimises physical barriers to entry, while equitable hiring processes and internal training programmes ensure that less-represented staff members receive key industry support.
Together, these interventions can significantly reduce staff turnover rates. Ensuring provisions are made and professional development preserved means employees are more likely to continue their journey with your business, saving you time and money on training new hires.
Employee Morale and Productivity
Lower employee churn rates have a knock-on effect on staff morale, as teams can continue to work well with one another in the long term, while individuals are recognised for their strengths. Providing for disadvantaged and disabled employees also demonstrates your company’s commitment to wider causes, ensuring that staff members feel represented – and even feel able to lend their skills and energy to your business.
Improved morale has a knock-on effect on overall productivity, where staff who feel ‘seen’, accommodated and provided for are more likely to give their all in their role. A combination of well-accommodated and longer-serving staff members ensures that existing teams continue to be productive.
Fostering a Skilled Business
Outdated hiring tactics and unconscious bias alike can lead firms to unintentionally narrow their prospects when it comes to onboarding new staff. This can have a limiting effect on the growth opportunities for businesses, while reinforcing pre-existing power dynamics and stunting organic, creative growth.
By conscientiously hiring from a range of experiences and backgrounds, you give your business the opportunity to grow and expand in a creative and equitable way. New hires from different backgrounds bring new ideas to the table, and make for a vibrant company culture unstilted by unconscious confirmation bias. A careful approach to diversity and inclusivity allows businesses to truly pick the best employees for the role, taking into account a wider range of criteria – leading to an overall more skilled cohort.
Starting the Journey
Knowing where to start as a business, whether a new enterprise or a well-established company, can be difficult if there is no pre-existing diversity or inclusivity framework. Consulting organisations like New Street Consulting Group exist to coach businesses through their development strategy, and the implementation of people-based directives; meanwhile, legal guidelines on discrimination and accessibility are a good place to start for understanding exactly where you stand as a business.