Spotlight on diversity in the workplace

Promoting workplace diversity and inclusion is an important factor when running a business. Creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for employees goes a long way to helping workers achieve their potential and only serves to add value to a company.

Here, we take a look at diversity in the workplace and consider how a business can implement an effective and successful workplace diversity strategy.

Defining diversity and inclusion

To understand and create a diverse workplace, we must first define the term. The Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘diversity’ as ‘the fact of many different types of things or people being included in something’. Diversity in the workplace can refer to many different characteristics that employees may have, including protected characteristics, such as race, age, gender and sexual orientation, as well as individuals’ experiences, skills, personalities and traits. 

‘Inclusion’ may be defined as ‘the act of including someone or something as part of a group, list, etc., or a person or thing that is included’. Inclusive workplaces are those with established fair policies that enable a diverse workforce to collaborate together in an effective manner. 

The benefits of a diverse workplace

There are a range of benefits associated with ensuring your workplace is diverse and inclusive. Diverse businesses are often more attractive to potential employees: candidates want to work for firms with solid employment practices. Diverse firms also speak to a wider market; and reflect demographics in a more accurate manner. 

Additionally, establishing inclusive workplace cultures helps to ensure employees feel valued and respected. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) speculates that culture affects organisational performance, and as such businesses will wish to put effort into molding their workplace culture into one that highly values diversity and inclusivity.   

Diversity strategies and management

The CIPD urges businesses to ‘examine their own people management practices and diversity data to understand where barriers lie’. Doing so will permit firms to take appropriate action and develop a coherent diversity strategy. 

Any strategy implemented should be backed by the business’s values and the behaviour of managers within the firm. A business may wish to create a written diversity and inclusion policy, although this is not currently a legal requirement. 

Businesses should seek to implement an effective diversity strategy to ensure fair people practices. Establishing workers’ roles and responsibilities and offering flexible working are also important factors to consider when implementing your diversity strategy. 

Business leaders must take into account that managing diversity and ensuring inclusivity requires ongoing work and improvement, and that guidelines may need to be drawn up in order to enable managers to appropriately handle the business’s diversity requirements. 

Creating a diverse workforce is crucial for promoting inclusivity and equal opportunities. You may wish to consider your own diversity strategy and how it affects your business.