How diverse is your workplace?

Take a handful of job adverts from any job board or recruitment agency and words that jump off the page and are repeated over and over again are those that promote the nature of the company. Words such as “dynamic”, “innovative”, “friendly”, but very rarely does “diverse” grace the description. However, diversity is becoming an increasingly required, or at least preferred, attribute for those looking for a new place of work. Can your company compete?

Diversity is a controversial issue in the workplace, you only need to have seen the reaction to this year’s Oscars to understand that this is a far-reaching and complex problem. With many A-list actors and industry figures calling for greater nomination diversity after all 4 acting category performer nominees were white, talks of boycotting and reform have been rife in recent weeks. While only time will tell if changes will be made in the film industry, your industry could change today, with your help, of course.

There has been much in the news recently regarding ‘blind recruitment’. That is, companies are being encouraged to remove candidate names from job applications in order to un-bias themselves from potential recruits. It has been noticed that minority, ethnic-sounding names are not as well-received on job applications as their ‘white’ counterparts. Depending on the size of your business, blind recruitment may not be a feasible option, but the concept can be adopted nonetheless. It goes without saying that employers are looking for a good fit within the team they are hiring for, but experience should go alot further than the name on the CV. Don’t disregard someone with relevant experience on paper without at least offering an interview. Opening up your company to the possibility of a different viewpoint could offer a new approach, new way of seeing things and could work wonders to evolve your business.

Race isn’t the only way in which diversity can be embraced in the workplace. The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discriminatory behaviour towards certain groups, not only on grounds of race but also, age, gender, sexual orientation and disability.

According to the Office for Disability Issues, there is a 30% gap between the number of disabled people of a working age in employment (46.3%) and non-disabled people of a working age in employment (76.4%); representing over 2 million people. If you can make changes in your workplace to accommodate those with physical disabilities, look into it now to ensure you’re not missing out on the best candidates.

Many high profile companies are implementing a stand against discrimination, with the BBC, for example, adopting corporate diversity targets that need to be hit by March 2017. These account for age, gender, disability and ethnic background. MI5 is another case in point when we look at their 180 degree turnaround in relation to their LGBT workforce. Only 25 years ago the organisation operated a blanket ban on recruiting openly gay men and women, however, fast forward to today when they are topping Stonewall’s list of 100 gay-friendly employers. Ensure you’re promoting a diverse workplace in 2016 and beyond.

Benefits of a diverse workforce

Development – In any given friendship groups, while you may share similar interests, there are still different tastes and individualities that make your friendships worthwhile. The same principle can be used for a dynamic and ever-changing workforce. People with different backgrounds can bring a fresh and innovative approach, bringing new ideas and better results.

Reach – Everyone wants to feel like they can relate to the products or services they are buying. If your customers see that they are reflected in your brand they will feel much more likely to trust your brand and feel valued as a customer.

Attraction – It also follows on to say that, the more trust and inclusion presented outwardly, the more likely external hires are going to want to work for you too. This inclusivity is not only vital to creating a comfortable working environment, but – and perhaps more prevalent to employers – essential in closing any skill gaps by hiring those from all walks of life. Pulling from the widest possible talent pool opens up your business to jobseekers that bring not only the experience you require but additional experience that you didn’t even know you needed!

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