It seems you cannot put on the news or read a newspaper lately without observing some reference to equality, diversity or inclusion. It is an important and timely subject that all organisations need to take seriously. This is not simply about ensuring compliance with your legal obligations, such as those outlined in the Equality Act 2010. Rather, it is about creating a working culture that is truly inclusive, allowing people, irrespective of their background or personal characteristics, equal opportunities.
No two people are the same. Within society, there is diversity in a wide range of areas, including ethnicity, gender, religion, social background, disability, personality type and experience. Workplaces are seldom places of open prejudice or genuine malice, but tension can arise due to misunderstanding or ignorance of others.
Fundamentally, it is common decency to treat all people with dignity and respect, but there is also a strong business case for stronger diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace. An inclusive culture can have a positive impact in many areas:
The Recruitment of Talent
An inclusive organisation attracts people from a wide variety of backgrounds. If your organisation (or indeed your industry) is perceived as being unwelcoming to a certain group, these people may be reluctant to work for you. This means your business may miss out on valuable skills that can help your business grow and achieve its aims.
The same applies to keeping staff. If members of your team do not feel happy or comfortable in work, they may become less productive, stressed or may seek opportunities elsewhere. It’s important to ensure that your organisation has a flexible and inclusive culture, where everyone feels valued and appreciated. A happy team is usually a productive team!
Creativity and Innovation
Organisations with diverse teams have a wider pool of talent and experience. This can allow for new perspectives, ideas and creative solutions to problems.
A team, which is representative of society, is better placed to understand and empathise with the diverse needs of customers and clients. Being empathetic to customer needs is an important way to build effective relationships and help the business develop.
An inclusive and diverse workplace, therefore, brings a range of advantages and, by offering staff training, these benefits may be realised.
The Development Zone can help you with this. We’ve got a wide selection of courses relating to many aspects of equality, diversity and inclusion. March’s Course of the Month, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, focuses on this theme and encourages learners to consider the diversity in their own social circles. It reflects on the dangers of discrimination and how an inclusive culture can help us in our interactions with our colleagues, our customers and people in general.