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Why do We Need to Bother with Diversity, Equity & Inclusion?

Making diversity, equity and inclusion a central part of your business isn't just the right thing to do, it's the best thing to do to ensure that your business prospers! In this article, Kevin Bazeley @ IDEEA Limited shares his thoughts on the business case for ensuring that DEI is the foundation on which you build your business!

Why do we need to bother with inclusion, diversity and equity? That is a question I hear pretty often.

In high-level terms, there are 3 reasons for your organisation to invest in a programme of activity to boost your inclusion, diversity and equity.

The first is, in some respects, the most difficult to define. You want to create an inclusive organisation because quite simply it is the right thing to do! Now I guess you could say that is just an opinion and not based on fact and different people can hold different opinions of what is considered, the right thing to do. Also, how many times have you seen organisations that have failed to act in some way, even when that act was seen as the right thing to do?

The second is because legally, you are obliged to end discrimination, bullying and harassment in the workplace and society because of legislation like the 2010 Equalities Act. Having legal protection for people from marginalised communities is incredibly important to encourage good behaviour and to provide routes for recompense when organisations fail.

But legislation is a stick to beat you into compliance. It is a threat and as with any threat it is viewed with fear, mistrust, and derision. If you only provide the bare minimum of inclusivity to meet your legal requirements what sort of message does that show your employees? It is a grudging admission that you are only doing this because you are legally obliged and if you were legally able to, you would do less.

So yes, being an inclusive employer is the right thing to do, whatever the right thing to do is! Being an inclusive employer also means you are not going to fall foul of the law and have expensive and damaging litigation. But the final reason to strive for an inclusive workplace is the main reason that you as a business or organisation should be considering. It is the no-brainer that ensures that by default you end up doing the right thing and avoiding all that legal nastiness.

The best, and most compelling argument for creating an inclusive workplace is the business case, the carrot! As a business or other organisation, you are there to generate better revenues, reduce costs, and increase productivity. All of those will come through to your bottom line as better profits for your owners & shareholders and or better services for you, not-for-profit organisations. If owners and managers get to understand the business case then it becomes an easy choice for them to get behind an effective DEI programme and reap the rewards that offers.

As you can imagine with DEI we are talking about human factors and so, as you would expect, many business case benefits revolve around people. For most businesses, people are their greatest resource but also their greatest cost. Anything which ensures you get the best help, that they are best motivated that you hold onto them longer, and that they are most productive adds value to your organisation.

It starts with hiring the right people. You should never be hiring for diversity; you should be hiring to get the very best candidate for the role. What you do to hire the very best candidate is where having a great DEI policy and inclusive hiring environment comes in. The wider you can cast your net, ensuring you look for candidates from diverse backgrounds, the greater the chance of that candidate who is THE BEST! If you clearly show what a welcoming and inclusive working environment they will have, then diverse and talented people will want to join you.

Once you have hired them your inclusive environment then ensures that the incredible talent you have hired stays with you. The skills they bring, the skills they learn on the job and the values they share with your inclusive organisation remain. Your return-on-investment increases and the constant costs of high turnover of staff not feeling welcome fall.

Your inclusive hiring policy ensures you get an ethnically and gender-diverse organisation and repeated studies show that companies who are more gender and ethnically diverse out-perform their peers by between 15 & 35%.

Inclusive and diverse teams are proven to deliver greater innovation and better decision-making. Teams that match the diversity of the market you are working with understand that market better and deliver better results. Customers and suppliers with strong inclusion ethics want to do business with organisations with matching values. Diverse teams that feel they are included and belong have better productivity. Mental health is a huge issue. Mental ill-health costs the UK economy well over £100 billion. Individuals who are included, made to feel welcome and that they belong, and able to be their authentic selves, are less likely to have issues with their mental health.

With so many factors adding to the business case, investing in DEI in your organisation is not just the right and legal thing to do, it’s the profitable thing to do!

To learn more about creating and growing your authentic organisation, visit our learning hub at Gen-A Academy today and equip yourself for success!

This article was written by Kevin Bazeley @ IDEEA Limited


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