Why is diversity important in the workplace?
Research shows that DEI policies are lacking in UK workplaces, particularly in industries like manufacturing, logistics, and transport.
For organisations that want to encourage a diverse and inclusive environment in the workplace (and reap the associated benefits), there are tangible steps management can take:
- Conduct regular internal reviews.
- Develop diversity training.
- Introduce anonymous recruitment screening.
- Upskill your existing workforce.
If you want to find out what these policies mean in practice and how effective they can be when implemented correctly, you’ve come to the right place.
Just remember: progress is a process, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Taking these steps will keep you on track as you push for a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
How diverse is the UK workforce today?
While diversity and inclusion has come on significantly since the 1990s, there are clear imbalances within the British workforce today.
The reality is…
- Only 19.7% of board seats in the UK are held by women.
- Employees from ethnic minority backgrounds earn over a quarter less than their White peers.
- Almost a quarter of LGBTQ+ employees reported negative reactions or bullying from workplace peers because of their identity.
- Working class employees with the same educational attainment and experience earn 16% less on average than middle class employees in the same role.
- People with disabilities are over a third less likely to be employed than non-disabled people.
But still, the question remains: why is diversity important in the workplace? In other words – why should companies like yours put in the work to make a change?
For one thing, truly inclusive teams are more innovative, make better decisions twice as fast, and are almost twice as likely to capture new markets.
And, in a world where representation has the power to attract the most qualified talent, it’s becoming increasingly important in recruitment.
Implementing effective diversity, inclusion, and equality policies
If your current DEI policies aren’t having the desired impact, the following three should help you make progress.
1. Conduct regular internal reviews
To start with, find out how your current diversity and inclusion policies are working. This can be as easy to action as putting together a survey and distributing it to employees regularly.
But you need to make sure you’re clear on what you want to get out of your review…
You might want to know how people feel about your current DEI initiatives and ask for recommendations to improve. Perhaps you want feedback on particular policies, for example your social mobility policy. Or, maybe it’s important for you to find out whether the individuals in your teams do feel safe and included.
Make sure you carry out your reviews on a regular basis so you can map your results over time. This will help you figure out what action to take in the short term, measure what’s working, and keep consistent.
2. Develop diversity training
Education is essential to effective diversity and inclusion. So, make internal training a priority in your workplace. Even if you already have a policy in place and would consider your environment diverse, you can never learn too much. It really is the best way to put a stop to any issues and prevent prejudice from becoming a problem.
Your regular review should help you determine what training will be of most benefit in your workplace.
However, there’s one topic that we would recommend for any company: unconscious bias.
Tackling unconscious bias at work
If you want to challenge and eliminate bias in the workplace, addressing the problem of unconscious bias is a must.
Unconscious bias can influence hiring decisions and employee attitudes to new team members. And, as the name suggests, it’s something many people are unaware of.
There are five types of unconscious bias all employees should know about:
- Affinity Bias: Favouring someone who is similar to you, or who you connect with.
- Halo Effect: Focusing on one single attribute of a person that you personally appreciate, rather than the whole picture.
- Horns Effect: Being influenced by a negative trait and allowing that to influence your perception of someone.
- Attribution Bias: Assessing others’ achievements as a result of luck, and their failures as a result of their skillset, experience, or personality.
- Confirmation Bias: When you look for confirmation of preconceived opinions.
By tackling the topic of unconscious bias in the workplace, you can effectively extinguish discriminatory attitudes of all types.
3. Introduce inclusive recruitment screening
Across industries, diversity and inclusion initiatives are best introduced early. So, to create a truly diverse and inclusive organisation, you need to start with the initial recruitment process.
With an inclusive screening process, you get access to larger talent pools, and both conscious and unconscious bias is removed. That way, you get the right people for the job, no matter their background or identity. In other words, candidates are judged solely on their experience and suitability for the role.
And there are several ways to achieve this.
As the talent partner of choice for the UK’s leading manufacturing, logistics, and transport companies, we can offer our client partners fully anonymous shortlists.
By removing the names, genders, ethnicities, and social and economic backgrounds of shortlisted candidates – we make it possible for hiring managers to compare and contrast based solely on experience and competency.
Our diversity trained consultants are also experienced at uncovering talent that is less represented or visible on the market.
Plus, our talent searches aren’t led using the natural algorithms of traditional search tools, which will always highlight the majority demographic way before highlighting the minority.
In short, we have several tools that allow us to effectively eliminate bias and prejudice. The result? A hiring process that promises fairness, from the very start and for all colleagues.
4. Upskill your existing workforce
Occasionally, when we’ve mapped the market for a client partner, we’ve discovered that diversity currently doesn’t exist for a particular skill in that area.
In that case, it’s not possible to make the recruitment process truly inclusive. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of options.
Take a look at your existing teams and see if there’s anyone from an underrepresented group who you could upskill internally. As well as offering them the opportunity to advance their career, you’ll also add long-term value to your own business.
Plus, you’ll be taking an active role in redressing the balance for that niche. Diversity and inclusion is as much about opportunity as it is about action.
Why is diversity important in the workplace: diversity and inclusion in practice
There are plenty of ways for British companies to make their workplaces more inclusive. All easily actionable and highly effective, we have seen these policies make a significant impact on organisations of all sizes.
Want to know more?
Find out how an external recruitment provider can add value to your company’s DEI initiatives. Get in touch today:
Call us: 0151 209 2050
Email us: email@example.com