When it comes to defining Diversity there are a multitude of definitions on the intranet but there is always a common thread, difference. Difference in the sense that we as human beings are an amazing complex of skills, life experiences, characteristics and backgrounds. It’s not about equality it’s about maximising and celebrating the differences that we all bring to our world of work.
If you take it to its positive outcome, it is about employers enabling employees with varied diversities to be able to make a contribution to their work place goals and targets. Their experiences add a richness and creativity that makes for a rewarding and engaging workplace to be.
So what is the link to business performance?
If your diverse workforce is motivated, able to contribute each of their uniqueness, feel that what they contribute is valued and their voice is heard then it would follow that you have a more engaged workforce.
When researching this blog I scoured the internet for some data to support this statement. I came across a variety of data some of which applies to the US and some to the UK and whilst I have included a mix here I cannot think that US vs UK would be too far different.
There are senior leaders in the UK and US who increasingly are speaking out about Diversity and Inclusion in fact Bernard J. Tyson (Kaiser Permanente) said, “We’ve evolved from equality to equity. Equality says everybody gets equal. Equity says no, everybody gets what they need. Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg jolted the gender debate when she invited more men to talk about gender, arguing “that's what it will take to make change at the top”, and finally Susan Wojcicki of YouTube said that “diversity is necessary for preventing homogeneity, falling behind, and losing their competitive edge”.
So let’s say that you have a diverse workforce, all contributing of their best, motivated, and creative and engaged in what they do, able to achieve a balance of work and home life what might be the impact on the bottom line?
Judith Leary-Joyce in her book Becoming and Employer of Choice identifies 5 key areas that support the business case for generating an employment culture where all staff can engage. Maximising the benefits of a diverse workforce and their impact on the bottom line are now well documented but it is useful to look the key areas here:
I expand on this for pages, but I think you get the picture.
In a future blog I will look at some initiatives that organisations have taken to increase diversity and inclusion with some reflection on what has worked and what has not.
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