Diversity & Inclusion – An all round winner for business!

For me, living in a diverse community isn’t a nice to have, it’s an essential. The same goes for where I work. Embracing individual difference is what makes life interesting and at the end of the day, what makes business successful. Let’s face it, advances in technology, communications and globalization isn’t achieved through just one approach, but through a mix of experiences, beliefs, challenges and skills. Diversity is quickly becoming the driver of growth around the world but often not recognised as such in the boardroom.

Just last month, we had over 50 people register for our East Midlands HR Network event hosted by the Diversity Manager at Eon in Nottingham. What was evident is the enormous benefits of embracing diversity and inclusion across the organisation.  – I’ve highlighted a few below:

  1. Embracing and leveraging difference: with the demographic and cultural mix of employees, the range of ideas and perspectives a business can draw on is endless – contributing to innovation and giving business the competitive edge
  2. Bringing your whole self to work: embracing difference in gender, sexual preference, disability, age and ethnicity means people feel included and accepted for being who they are. They are more likely to be motivated and productive plus great ambassadors for your organisation – helping make your business an employer of choice
  3. Identifying with stakeholders: the more your workforce represents the communities you aim to serve, the more tailored the products are and effective the service is – helping build customer loyalty and broader stakeholder networks.

So where to start? Eon’s Diversity Manager, Claire Jamieson, talked us through the challenges of integrating diversity and inclusion across the organisation. What was clear is that it is not an event, it is a journey. Embedding a meaningful transition is something that takes time and requires a great deal of patience and determination. However, there are some key areas to focus on if you’re looking to embrace diversity and inclusion within your organisational make-up.

Educate: raising the understanding of the importance and benefits of diversity and inclusion is essential. Starting with the leadership team, the whole organisation needs to gain a common understanding.

Evaluate: Identify your baseline data and create a benchmark for how diverse the organisation is and how comfortable people feel with bringing “their whole self to work”. This data will help inform your training and recruitment programme, plus highlight any critical areas to address immediately.

Communicate: communicating intentions for change is critical. Employees need to have a good understanding of any changes that will be expected of them. If policies change that impact expected behaviours, management style or decision making (for example), employees need to be involved and brought on board.

Embed: Having a diversity and inclusion policy in isolation is pointless. It needs to be built into all areas of the business, from recruitment, to performance management to succession planning etc, it needs to be considered, recognised and upheld.

We have experience of creating and embedding diversity and inclusion strategies; if you’re ready to start the journey of recognising and embedding diversity and inclusion at your organisation but don’t know where to start, please do get in touch penny@pennystrutton.co.uk