Diverse Directors: Insight into the benefits of workplace diversity

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FTSE 350 businesses are paying more attention to diversity amongst their senior team candidates than ever before.

The percentage of seats filled by ethnically diverse directors has risen to 22 per cent. When it comes to gender balance, it has been found that 54 per cent of new board seats have been taken by women, showing that companies are moving in the right direction.

But why is workplace diversity becoming such a priority? One of the most obvious benefits is that organisations can gain precious insight from people with varied backgrounds and experiences.

Impact, a world-leading expert in experiential learning, looks at ways in which diversity can enhance a business’s operations and how it can be implemented effectively.

The advantages of workplace diversity

Building a diverse workplace means employing people of different genders, ethnicities, age ranges, sexual orientations, and education levels.

With a squad of workers from all walks of life, you can truly promote team development and ensure that your company is as efficient as it can be. Here are some of the advantages of embracing a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Diversity boosts creativity and decision-making

In a world where creativity is crucial to stand out from competitors and other businesses, having a diverse workforce by your side can act as an important ace up your sleeve.

Dominic Fitch, head of creative change at Impact, said: “People from different backgrounds can offer fresh, innovative perspectives and ideas to help solve day-to-day challenges.

“This is because they see the world in their unique way and may be able to come up with solutions or suggestions that you might struggle to think of yourself.

“Pulling from a wide range of experiences, a diverse team is more likely to make sound, educated decisions. In fact, according to studies, they tend to make smarter choices than non-diverse workforces up to 87 per cent of the time. Ultimately, with workers from all sorts of backgrounds, you will have a more socially aware team that can pick up tasks in a creative, efficient fashion.”

Diversity promotes open-mindedness

Communication and collaboration are some of the most important ingredients in a successful business recipe.

In a company full of people from similar experiences, education, and upbringings, there’s little consideration for opposing opinions and outlooks. This is because colleagues may often be on the same wavelength and – through no fault of their own – fail to explore more original ways to carry out a task.

Instead, being part of a diverse group means sharing different viewpoints, which can encourage people to be more open to alternative solutions and expose them regularly to new ideas. As well as benefitting the organisation’s efficiency and performance, it can also help foster a better company culture in which team members can thrive.

How to create a diverse workplace

As a manager or business owner, it is your responsibility to encourage a diverse workplace culture. But where to start?

Currently, 47 per cent of employers in the UK don’t have an inclusion and diversity strategy in place. If you’re one of them or have plans to nurture your workplace diversity even further, here are some tips to take into consideration:

Diversity recruitment processes One of the first steps you can take as a business is to introduce a recruitment process that allows an unbiased selection of potential candidates. This doesn’t mean that you should focus exclusively on setting up interviews with people from different backgrounds.

Instead, evaluate candidates fairly and equally based on their skills and competencies. The reality is that, at times, unconscious bias can step in the way of assessing applicants on their qualities only. A good start to nip the problem in the bud is to use software that filters out candidate information, including ethnicity and gender, meaning you can concentrate solely on people’s suitability for the role.

Conduct diversity and inclusivity training

If you are already investing in training to enhance your team’s knowledge and skills, think about adding programmes to promote the importance of diversity and inclusivity. This will provide your people with the right tools and knowledge to facilitate an inclusive environment.

In fact, there may be instances where a non-inclusive workplace is the result of colleagues being oblivious to actions that might upset or affect others. Training sessions can prevent these situations by raising awareness. They can also help managers and seniors understand each team member’s needs, making sure everyone has the opportunity to participate in business activities and enjoy their time at work.

Refresh any outdated policies

As society continues to evolve and diversity begins to receive more attention, now is the perfect time to review your company policies. If you’ve been open for quite some time, there are bound to be policies that are a tad outdated. So, it is a good idea to look over your current approaches and update any policies that have remained stuck in the past.

Allow employees to celebrate their culture

Events such as Christmas, Easter, and birthdays are well-loved occasions here in the UK. But in a diverse workforce, there may be other festivities that individuals wish to celebrate based on, for example, their religious beliefs. A great way to promote inclusivity is to put all cultural holidays on the business calendar. This doesn’t mean the whole company needs to throw a party on the day, but it will encourage and make it easier for employees from diverse backgrounds to celebrate their culture.

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