In our modern world, diversity is a term used more than ever. It has become somewhat of a buzzword and the majority of us are now well-accustomed to thinking about the term both inside and outside of work.
This is for good reason. Diversity is a critical part of our society and it is something that we should all be conscious of and actively promoting. Without diversity, there can be no real fairness, equity, or quality of life for many people in our world.
However, diversity has become somewhat of a diluted word for many people and the true meaning of the term can often be lost in its overuse. Some people may even feel disgruntled by talking about and exploring diversity, as they feel that it is an oversaturated field with too many cooks in the kitchen.
In this blog, we are going to help bring the real meaning of diversity back and remind you of its importance. We don’t believe that this term is one that can afford to be lost in the crowd of buzzwords and hot topics. It is a critical subject that deserves our attention, and this will always be the case.
So, without any further ado, let’s dive into exploring what diversity really means for our workplaces.
The Definition of Diversity
Often, we get confused about the definition of diversity. Many people see others who fit into categories of protected characteristics as being “diverse” people. They may talk about hiring diverse members of staff or including diverse people more appropriately in interviews. However, this isn’t really the right use of the term.
Instead, diversity refers to a picture of how a workplace is structured. A diverse workplace is one that appropriately and adequately includes a wide range of people, from different protected characteristic categories including:
Not only this, but a diverse workplace is one that offers a wide range of people equal opportunities and an inclusive environment in which they can thrive at work. It isn’t enough to have the numbers. The people behind those numbers need to have a certain level of experience before a workplace can be truly diverse.
The Diverse Mindset
For a workplace to be truly diverse, there must be a diverse mindset that pervades the company. Particularly so at the top in management and leadership positions.
Sometimes, the drive for diversity in a workplace can be somewhat of an empty goal. Some companies may take part in a diverse agenda for all the wrong reasons. They may simply want to increase sales due to “looking diverse” to the general public. When this happens, the diversity that we see tends to be fake and forward-facing. It is where we may see tokenism and positive discrimination taking place.
What we need, instead, is positive action and a genuine drive for inclusion, diversity, and equity in the workplace. People of all social groups need to be actively included and supported, right from recruitment to the end of their employment. It can’t simply be a case of hiring a good varied mix of employees and calling it a day. Diversity is also critically about how these employees are treated in the workplace.
The Benefits of Diversity at Work
When diversity is an empty threat and not carried out correctly, it does more damage than good. However, when the right approach and mindset are behind the drive for diversity at work, it can do an extreme amount of good for everyone within the workplace involved. Some of the benefits we can expect to see with genuine diversity in the workplace include:
- Increased staff performance
- Improved staff retention levels
- Better team engagement
- Improved relationships between colleagues
- Increased profit due to the external presentation as an equal employer and diverse company
- Benefits for staff well-being and morale
Diversity is something that can take a business to a new level. Treating everyone fairly and making a genuine effort to re-balance the scales of social equity keeps employees happy, the general public happy, and the higher levels of management happy too. You will know if you have reached good levels of diversity in your workplace if you see these results begin to flow in your direction.
How to Improve Levels of Diversity at Work
With that in mind, your next question probably centres around how to improve levels of diversity in your own workplace. It is important to be aware that this is a more challenging and nuanced process than many people think it is. There is more to it than simply hiring more BAME, older, and pregnant people and saying the job is done. To reach true levels of diversity at work, there is a lot of work to do, and a lot of this work centres around self-reflection and learning, which some people find difficult to do, especially at first.
Some of the ways in which employers can improve levels of diversity at work are:
Be honest and transparent about current EDI figures. You need to know where you are before you can know where you need to go and why. We have a guide on recording and monitoring EDI figures for you to learn more details about this. Publish these EDI figures and your commitment to change. This will show the world that you care about diversity and that you want things to change for the better. In turn, you’ll become a more desirable company for people with diverse backgrounds and identities to want to work with.
Take a good look at your recruitment and hiring practices. Diversity starts at the earliest level and inclusive recruitment is an essential practice for any company practising diversity. Tackle unconscious bias in your workplace, especially in those making recruitment, promotion, and firing decisions. There can be more exclusionary attitudes than you might imagine in your workplace. These can cause your EDI figures to fall without anyone realising.
Research, learn, and gain awareness. Diversity, as you can see from this blog, is a complex topic and to gain a full understanding of it, you will need to undertake more research and learning to get up to date. This is an ever-evolving topic too so there will need to be a continual process of learning and development.
Be an ally. Allyship is an amazing topic to explore when it comes to diversity in the workplace. One of the best things to do is to take a class, course, or workshop regarding this term and learn how you can best be an ally to members of different communities. Then, share this learning with the rest of your company and make sure that allyship is a consistent practice.
Create the right culture. An inclusive, fair, and equal working environment is the only place where people should work. If you improve your recruitment process and bring in plenty of great new employees, you will quickly see them vanish if the right culture isn’t waiting for them on the other side. Read more about creating an inclusive work environment on our site.
Where We Come In
Here at Aspiring to Include, we have all the resources that employers need to harness diversity in the workplace.
We know just how important diversity is and so we want to do everything we can to see it flourish in workplaces across the UK.
If you are an employer with the same mindset, check out our services for employers and see what we can do for you today. You will be posting jobs on our inclusive job board in no time and your new life of diversity can begin.
Everyone deserves an inclusive employer. Help us build you up to the right level today.
Feel free to contact us via our website or call us on 0345 872 4501. Alternatively, you can email us at email@example.com.