It is safe to say that one of the hottest topics over the past few years has been diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and quite rightly so. The discussion has been fuelled by the numerous studies which clearly show the benefits of promoting a diverse and inclusive environment.
A study by McKinsey shows that companies with racial and ethnic diversity were 35% more likely to generate above-average returns and those with gender diversity were 15% more likely to generate above-average returns. But it’s time for us to move beyond the traditional view of what diversity means. It’s much more than the colour of someone’s skin, what gender they identify with or who they choose to be in a relationship with. Everyone is unique and with that individuality has something different to contribute. If companies do not act to make people feel included, they will never be able to realise their full potential.
There will never be an endpoint for diversity and inclusion. It should be a constant effort for companies to foster an environment within the workplace where their staff feel valued and able to be themselves. Companies like Bruce Stevenson are already on the front foot and have been working to create an inclusive ethos and there are a few simple steps businesses can take to follow suit…
Create a role within the company for someone who is passionate about the subject and can advocate the subject and keep it on the agenda.
Education is the key here. To effect change we need to understand other points of view. Most importantly, employers have a legal obligation to protect people from discrimination within the workplace. Everyone is biased so unconscious bias training is extremely useful.
Have a clear company policy which shows your dedication to everyone being treated fairly. But having a policy is more than just words on paper – it needs to be brought to life and embedded into the company culture.
The business case for diversity and inclusion is clear. Employees are more productive and contribute more when they feel valued. But there is also the moral side of the argument, it’s simply just the right thing to do.
By Nick Smith, Renewable Energy Account Executive and Diversity Champion