Updated: Feb 17, 2019
In a competitive market, businesses are always on the look-out for strategies that can give them the edge over their competitors. Now, it has become clear that adopting a diversity & inclusion programme in your workplace can do wonders for business. A diverse, inclusive work environment makes more than good social sense, it’s good business sense too.
More than just a ‘Nice Idea’
While the concept of diversity and inclusion was initially seen as the right thing to do, it is now understood to be much more than that. While constructing your team with people from diverse backgrounds is still the right thing to do, the research has shown time and again that the benefits to a solid diversity and inclusion programme in business are wide-ranging and very tangible. Benefits of a diverse workforce include a greater breadth of life experience, education and training, different ways of thinking and problem solving which can lead to increased innovation, and vibrant, diverse work environment where staff feel valued and worthwhile for the differences they bring to the team. When staff feel accepted for who they are and valued in their place of work they are much more likely to give of their best and go the extra mile.
The Research has shown...
The research has shown that more diverse teams perform better than their counterparts. A study carried out by McKinsey revealed that ethnically diverse businesses are 35% more likely to do better than their peers. Deloitte Australia found that in team-based assessments, diverse teams did 80% better than less diverse teams. It’s about more than recruitment. To achieve these benefits involves embedding and supporting a culture of inclusiveness in the business. When this happens, companies have reported significant business gains. They have higher cash flow, are more able to deal with change and have more innovative teams. This carefully crafted environment results in teams which are 3.8 times more likely to coach people into high performing roles and are more likely to identify and nurture leadership talent. The evidence is clear, fostering diversity & inclusion in your workplace is very good for business.
Think Broad !
When we talk about diversity and inclusion programmes in the workplace, there are many facets that you may want to explore. It is not just about gender equality, although this does play a part. If you would like to adopt a diversity & inclusion programme it pays to think broad. There are many groups who are under-represented in the general workforce, by welcoming them into your business you can tap into their experience and expertise in a way that your competitors have not. This can lead to a direct advantage for your business. Many industries are dominated by people from a certain demographic, that may be made up of gender, race, religion and age. Take a quick glance at the people on your team, have you inadvertently hired a predominant demographic? There may be a wealth of people in your area of that profile with the relevant skill set for your industry. Yet, by making a conscious effort to recruit people from less well-represented groups, you can give your business a competitive advantage thanks to the fresh dynamic.
It Flows from the Top Down
Let’s be clear, diversity & inclusion in business doesn’t just happen. As leaders in our industry, we are the ones who must make a conscious effort to champion the values of a diverse and inclusive workforce. Changing decades of policy and habit is not easy, it takes hard work and dedication. Although we may not like to admit it, there are prejudices alive and well in all workplaces. It may exist under the radar and be difficult to spot, but if you are not putting an emphasis on diversity & inclusion in your work environment, the opportunity exists for stagnant, rigid ways of thinking to remain. However, when the people at the top lead by example, guiding others into new ways of thinking, the whole organisation can benefit.
Ask for Help
If your company has been in existence in Ireland for a long time, chances are that traditionally your workforce hasn’t been diverse. That’s ok. We need to accept where we were in the past, the factors that have brought us up to now and set out a clear roadmap for where we want to go in future. Just because diversity & inclusion isn’t something you have much experience with, doesn’t mean that it’s something you need to shy away from now and in the future. The reality is that no one group has all the answers when it comes to diversity & inclusion. The whole idea behind D & I is that with a broad base of varied opinions and perspectives we can make more informed decisions, we can think more creatively, and discover new ways to approach difficulties. For this reason, it is completely understandable that an organisation might put their hand up and admit that they need help to improve their diversity & inclusion practices. Thankfully, help is at hand. I am delighted to work with people and groups who champion diversity & inclusion in a range of industries. My own company, PhoenixRize works with businesses to devise diversity & inclusion strategies tailored to their specific needs. I also help them to implement these strategies, monitoring progress and overcoming challenges along the way. Through PhoenixRize your business can host workshops for both management and staff so that everyone develops new practices to embrace a more diverse workplace. When there is so much to gain from implementing a solid diversity & inclusion programme in your business, why not get in touch so that you can start paving the way for a more inclusive, forward-thinking work environment your staff will love? Would you like to be a Diversein Contributor? See how