An employer’s guide to diversity and inclusion in 2021

Diversity and inclusion has become one of the ‘hottest’ topics of conversation in the working world over the past year - and with good reason. Now more than ever, businesses are working to cultivate more diverse and inclusive environments for their staff. Even more importantly, employees are looking to work for companies that treat D&I as a priority, with 39% of job seekers being more likely to turn down an opportunity that seems to lack inclusion.

So if D&I is high up on your list of priorities, we’re happy to say you’re moving in the right direction. But if your company is relatively new to D&I, it can be a bit of an overwhelming process.

That’s why we’re here today giving you our guide to diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and inclusion: what does it mean?

In a workplace context, diversity is employing a wide variety of staff members from all different walks of life. It means making a conscious decision to hire a diverse workforce that includes people of different races, nationalities, genders, abilities, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, social backgrounds and more.

Inclusion, on the other hand, is all about how you integrate those people into the business; how you make them feel valued, seen and heard. Inclusion provides opportunities to all members of staff regardless of their race, gender etc. For example, you could have 60% female employees in your business, but if none of them are in senior management positions, it may signal that inclusion is being neglected.

Top 3 benefits of D&I

Having a strong D&I strategy is proving to bring about several benefits to businesses from performance, to employee happiness and innovation.

Here are 3 of the top benefits:

  • Accelerates business performance
  • Prevents groupthink
  • Improves employee retention

1. Accelerates business performance

There’s a strong business case for having a diverse workforce. Research shows that the most diverse companies are actually more likely to outperform less diverse companies on profitability.

2. Prevents groupthink

Having a diverse workforce equals having diverse opinions. With a diverse workforce, you’re more likely to encounter more varied outlooks and ideas. You just need to ensure you create an environment where people are encouraged to voice their own opinion instead of just following the status quo.

3. Improves employee retention

With employees feeling more represented and more included, businesses are seeing an improved rate of staff retention since staff feel happier and more valued. Research by Mckinsey showed 47% of employees were more likely to stay with an inclusive company.

3 ways to foster D&I in the workplace

1. Hiring

A diverse workforce starts with diverse hiring. Your hiring strategy should place a strong emphasis on attracting the right talent from diverse backgrounds. As part of the candidate attraction process, you’ll need to make sure your branding and messaging promotes diversity to appeal to the people you want to attract! If candidates don’t feel represented by your brand, you may lose out on top talent to your competitors who have a stronger D&I strategy.

2. Training

To build an inclusive workforce, you need to train your leadership team to become more inclusive leaders. The training should help leaders develop a deeper understanding of D&I and become more aware of their own unconscious bias. Training isn’t a one-stop shop, but an ongoing process of continuous development in an ever-changing world.

3. Processes

A strong D&I strategy will have processes in place that help to remove bias and ensure inclusivity is recognised, especially for key decisions, like considering employees for promotion. These processes might include always having three managers consult on the promotion, or perhaps a structured document is created to make sure certain criteria are met before promotion. These mechanisms all help in reducing bias and creating a more inclusive environment.

A continuous journey

With such strong benefits linked to D&I, it’s clear why it’s shifted up the priority scale for many businesses over the past couple of years. When done correctly, having a more diverse and inclusive culture has proven to boost business performance and employee engagement. But to get the optimum results, you need to strive for continuous improvement and show an ongoing commitment to the D&I journey. That includes reviewing your organisational processes, investing in your leadership team, and attracting the right talent.

Need assistance hiring diverse talent? Contact our team today to discuss your hiring needs on 01204 589 555

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