Diversity & inclusion in the workforce: What is it and why you need a strategy

By Mark Baggs, Head of Global

male and female different coloured shapes to represent inclusion and diversity

Diversity and inclusion is something we’ve heard a lot about in the past decade. From events in the media, to several studies done highlighting the lack of it in many sectors.

10 years ago, diversity and inclusion was merely a box ticking exercise. Fast forward to 2021, there is now inexplicable evidence that the more diverse a business is, the more successful it is.

What is diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

A workplace that is diverse and inclusive, is one that makes everyone, regardless of what they do, feel equal and supported in the workplace. This includes everything from ensuring those with different public holidays are acknowledged, to having policies which improve employee wellbeing. An effective diversity and inclusion strategy goes beyond what is required legally, instead is purely for the purpose of contributing to employee wellbeing and engagement. 

Why is having a diverse workforce important?

A diverse and inclusive workforce not only benefits profits for business, but also office culture and employee wellbeing. Here are some further details of how businesses and employees can benefit from a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Increased productivity

A more diverse team is generally more representative of the wider population, and therefore more likely to be more accommodating of the way different people work. As a result, this helps to improve productivity as employees can work more effectively as their requirements are being met. This in turn, improve decision making, and enables effective team collaboration. As part of a strong diversity and inclusion strategy, it is required to take into consideration the needs of the team. As a result, organisations are always aware of the best ways of working that garner optimal results.

Increasing innovation

To inspire and evoke innovation, studies have shown that innovation is more effective when employees feel and know that their voice will be heard; when they feel valued. A successful diversity and inclusion strategy will enable people to express their opinion, regardless of their viewpoints, age, experience and identity etc. This helps organisations improve their innovation, as increasing perspectives and ideas are shared, helping improve the businesses adaptability, and ability to reach and appeal to new markets.

Further to this, organisations can gain a deeper insight in the current market as a non-linear way of thinking is encouraged. Studies have in fact shown diverse management teams were more innovative than less diverse teams. After surveying 1700 companies of varying sizes and differing country locations, it was found companies with above-average diversity produced a greater proportion of revenue from innovation (45% of total) than from companies with below average diversity (26%).

New perspectives

We touched on this briefly in the points above but having a new perspective on the different aspects of the organisation can have benefits of every level. From employee culture to business strategy, through to customer service and marketing. A more diverse workforce, with different perspectives means you’re able to appeal to a wider audience.

The more diverse a group of individuals, the greater level of adversity they may have been faced with collectively. These challenges can help improve problem solving and adaptability of a business. 

Increased talent pool

When you take steps to attract more people with a diverse background, including ages, ethnicity, gender etc, you increase your chance of finding the best talent.

A study from Glassdoor found 72 percent of women, 89 percent of black respondents, 80 percent of Asians, and 70 percent of Latinos said workforce diversity was important to them. A significant majority of white respondents also said workforce diversity is important when searching for an organisation.

Improve employee engagement

When employees feel included, they’re more engaged. Employees that feel valued and engaged are more likely to go beyond what’s expected in their role in the organisation. This in turn, means higher profits, increased collaboration and employee retention.

Further to this, employees working in inclusive workplaces have shown to have better physical and mental health and take less leave. Plus, it has been proven it increase feelings of trust amongst employees and leaders. Just 21% of HR and engagement leaders deeply trust company leaders. As a result, encouraging inclusivity can help increase trust by making everyone feel accepted and recognised.

In summary

It has long been known that inclusivity and diversity amongst a workforce positively impact all areas of a business and employee experience. However, now there’s undeniable evidence that those not adopting it, are falling behind their competition.

Those that have a more diverse team, have better problem solving, can generate better ideas, reach a wider audience and overall, perform better.

If you would like help in building a diverse global team, contact a member of the team today.

TOP