Companies and organisations have a moral and social responsibility to embrace diversity. There is also a strong business case for the employment of a diverse workforce that reflects the diversity of the community it shares and serves. Adopting and practicing diversity policies effectively in the workplace benefits the image projected by the organisation. People obviously have a greater attraction to work for companies with a caring and friendly attitude; reduced employment costs through improved retention in the workplace are also a major consideration.
What is the business case for recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce?
Employers are becoming increasingly interested in the concept of ‘diversity management’, and the establishment of a workforce that reflects the local community. Many regard it both as an ethical and an economic issue. It is clearly only fair that the various and diverse groups within the community are able to access jobs on an equal basis. However, adopting policies and procedures to achieve this is also expected to lead to an increase in customer loyalty, and, subsequently to higher income and profits.
As one employer put it ‘Successful companies are those that are able to monitor and meet shifts in societal expectations, to control risks and to anticipate market opportunities. Disability is part of this equation and an integral part of the strategy. Businesses that have the vision and the will to create an enabling environment for diverse parts of the community (including disabled people) will prosper.’
Abilities not disabilities: People with disabilities have the skills, knowledge and experience to perform many different types of jobs; and are able to demonstrate this. In addition – they are problem solvers by necessity; and their own experience of difficulties as users of services can be invaluable in the design and delivery of services for others. Older workers have a wealth of experience to offer companies. They tend to be very reliable and can often support less experienced staff.
Additional source of talent: Many people immigrating into Britain have the skills and qualifications needed by companies operating within a tight labour market. These can be easily validated by contacting the National Recognition Centre for the UK (NARIC). For many employers, young people and other under-represented groups offer a pool of untapped talent that can be a particularly useful additional resource at a time when unemployment is falling.
Reliable workers: People with disabilities and older workers are more reliable than others in terms of attendance, punctuality and remaining with the same employer. This can mean lower costs for employers.
Improved corporate image: A positive approach to employing a diverse workforce signals an ethical stand, and provides a positive corporate image. A stronger partnership will be developed with existing customers; and the customer base may be broadened and strengthened.
Improved staff relations and productivity: Adopting good practice in employing and managing a diverse workforce demonstrates that an employer is concerned for the development and welfare of all staff. This positive spin-off can lead to a more productive workforce overall.
There is also a legal case for adopting diversity management. Serious consideration should be given to compliance with current and future employment law. There are examples of some organisations facing huge legal costs and damage to their reputations through poor employment practice and procedures. We believe that companies have much to gain from not only complying with legislation but embracing the opportunities it offers.
Companies are producing real evidence of improved performance and enhanced profits with the development of services and products that have been influenced by employing a diverse workforce.
A good example would be a South East branch of Lloyds TSB that have changed from having mainly white counter staff to a mixture of races have seen volume sales of financial products rise by 30%
Diversity in the workplace is not a personnel or human resource issue; however managers in these roles are often seen as the key staff to influence the ethos of a company or organisation and effect change within their environments towards valuing diversity. We believe that diversity management is an issue for everyone in the workplace and should be led from the top.
Embrace Diversity - Believe in Success - Value Difference.