Why do Diversity and Inclusion matter?

 

 

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28 Mar 2019

Why do Diversity and Inclusion matter?

Diversity and inclusion are vital to a thriving organisation and there is plenty of evidence that organisations exhibiting these characteristics perform better. Recruiting people from a range of different backgrounds presents new opinions, novel ideas, increased performance, innovation and improves an organisation’s ability to hire. While diversity and inclusion have been on the radar for organisations for a significant period, it is only in the last year that we have seen the impetus for true inclusion which has grown significantly, with high-profile initiatives such as the gender pay gap reporting in the UK, pushing the agenda forward significantly.

Given the ubiquity of the war for talent, diversity and inclusion are quite rightly at the centre of the talent management agenda of many prominent and innovative institutions today and this is the same for public sector organisations. They must look like the countries or communities they serve, or at the very least, have an in-depth understanding of these communities, and show an appetite to work in partnership with them. The increased emphasis on shifting the demographics and generational differences is key. There is a need to be more comfortable talking about diversity and inclusion, and recognise that greater diversity benefits all.

Another reason why diversity and inclusion in the workplace matter, is to have a better understanding of our customers. An organisation that represents their customers will mean better designed products and services that suit customer needs, giving a significant competitive edge.

So how does an organisation go about being naturally more inclusive?

While correlation does not equal causation (greater gender and ethnic diversity in corporate leadership don’t automatically translate into more profit), Mckinsey & Company, in their business and economic research on diversity and inclusion state that there is a correlation between the companies that commit themselves to diverse leadership, and them being more successful. More so, companies that are more diverse, are believed to be better able to attract top talent and improve customer orientation, employee satisfaction and decision making, further leading to a virtuous cycle of returns. It is infinitely important for organisations to ensure their people’s views are heard, and not singled out. It is all about making sure the mix works and ensuring cultural capability, not just being invited to have a seat at the table, but voicing your opinion at the table. Organisations that can provide this environment and break the barriers that exist regarding workplace equality, not just a general commitment to increasing diversity, are those who provide the structure, and the processes to allow for equality, diversity, and inclusion to be part of their DNA.

Improving representation of diverse talent, as well as utilising inclusion and diversity as an enabler of business impact are particularly challenging goals and requires slow thinking to best set out how to achieve these goals. But despite this, there does seem to be a trend of companies implementing this who are now reaping the tangible benefits for their efforts.

From a Penna perspective, diversity and inclusion are engraved in all of the core values of our business, relating to the work we do on organisation development, to the development of our client and candidate products and service. Achieving all this, is underpinned by up to date training and information, ongoing dialogue and conversation to ensure we understand and respect each other in the workplace and that we constantly strive to do better for and with each other.

 

Josh Bembridge,

Associate Consultant