The business case for diversity and inclusion By Chris Wright
While it may seem obvious that being inclusive is important, whether legally or holding a firm belief around doing good in society, there is often one perspective which gets overlooked; the business case.
Take a look at these key stats for starters. Failure to address diversity and inclusion issues can:
- Reduce innovation potential by up to 40%
- Reduce business interest from customers by up to £1.8bn across the UK economy annually
- ¾ of Diversity + Inclusion consumers move business elsewhere if service providers do not accommodate their needs sufficiently
- 83% of workers leave their employer because they fail to understand their needs
Proactive solutions can be considered from an employee and an employer perspective. On the employee front, this does not just mean agreeing to a policy or a series of initiatives which no one really follows through, but rather using our individual and collective talents to drive a business forward. For instance, a wheelchair user is likely to be well placed to assess access within, to and from buildings. Employees with a mental health disorder who are willing to disclose and accept their situation they many be able to advise on how employers can help mitigate the worst effects of their condition, which may also benefit the physical and mental well being of the wider workforce. Examples could include yoga and meditation among others. We all need to be aware that in reality, our lives as a whole affect our behaviour and ability at work, hence the need for broader discussions around inclusivity and work-life balance.
Flexible working is an interesting point. Taking my own experience into account, running my own business enables me to mitigate some of the physical effects of my disability as I can plan my work schedule and day according to how I feel (within reason). Employers should surely be thinking about how they can engage with diverse talent pools, a rich breadth and depth of experience from all walks of life and the ability to add a competitive advantage to businesses through ingenuity. Rigid structures and cultures (ways of thinking) are often part of the problem as opposed to engaging with the problem and understanding how organisations can access talent outside of the confides of their own processes.
Talman HR and their partners can help in situations like these, we have a range of innovative solutions which deal with real-life considerations and demonstrate the business case for developing a truly inclusive workforce.
By Chris Wright MSc, Assoc CIPD
Director, Talman HR Limited
Tel: +44 (0)7903 193099