What does the word ‘diversity’ mean for you and your business?
Diversity and Inclusion is a common topic of conversation among employers, hiring managers and recruitment professionals, yet for some, it still seems to be a case of ticking boxes.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace shouldn’t be just a hiring fad, or a PR effort. With the provable benefits of a diverse workplace more visible than ever, we’ve spoken to leaders within our network about what true diversity looks like, and how businesses can make a tangible impact.
Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace
Creativity and Skill
Diversity and inclusivity can have a tangible positive effect on a business. Having a working environment filled with employees from different backgrounds, skill sets and experiences means that there will be a well of innovative and creative ideas to draw from.
Diversity and inclusion policies are often important factors that many people look for when an accepting a job offer. Those that see your business has employees from all backgrounds are more likely to accept the offer and feel more welcomed.
Understanding Your Customers
Having a team that’s diverse and inclusive will not only benefit you internally, but almost importantly, it will benefit your customers. This is because employees can promote the business effectively because they have similar backgrounds with the intended target audience.
A 2018 study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that diversity ultimately increases the bottom line for companies by 19%. The study found that “increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance.”
Read: What Real Sustainability Looks Like and Where to Start
What Diversity Looks Like for Your Business: Tenth Revolution Group
Diversity, reflecting the term itself, can look different in every business.
Tenth Revolution Group are global leaders when it comes to addressing the skills gap, and this understanding is crucial for them.
As Caroline Fox, Global EDI Strategy Lead at Tenth Revolution says, “diversity looks different all over the world."
"We acknowledge that minority communities in one location might be the majority elsewhere, so we find it most effective and responsible to adopt a “Think Global, Act Local” approach, so that actions we take are relevant to the places we take them in.”
For businesses that are growing quickly, the transition to a hiring process that treats a diverse workforce as a priority can be challenging. Similarly for larger institutions, investing in a new or updated process can feel complex.
“Although it can be daunting to admit your shortcomings,” Caroline says, “burying you head in the sand isn’t the answer and isn’t going to progress you any further. When taking any steps towards improving diversity, address the cause rather than the symptom to avoid implementing short-term fixes that won’t actually have a long-term or positive effect on your employees.”
“By creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, you’ll experience knock-on effects to many different aspects including employee wellbeing, motivation, dedication, pride, and productivity. Plus, if your morals and actions align with others, it means more clients and customers will want to get on board with what you have to offer.”
Read: Interview with Julia Reynolds, Found of Rey-House
A Spotlight on Diversity and Women
International Women’s Day is celebrated around the globe annually on March 8th to commemorate the cultural, political and socioeconomic achievements of women – but it’s also a time to address some of the challenges women still face in the workplace.
According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2021, as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt, the time required to close the global gender gap has increased by a generation from 99.5 years to 136.6 years.
Women in Marketing: Building a diverse business
Marketing is a sector that owes a huge amount to the brilliant female leaders within it. Previously, we reached out to our agency network and asked for one piece of advice they’d give to a new generation of female marketers. Here are some of their responses:
“Be part of the team, collaborate and build positive relationships. You don't have to come in and change everything in order to prove yourself. Learn from everyone around you, and don't burn bridges or dismiss staff as unimportant - often it's the receptionist or runner that knows the most about what's going on and know the people who can help you!” – Gemma Daniels, Hydra Creative
“It would be no different to the advice I would give any marketer - male or female. Stay curious, ask for advice, think creatively about solutions, and experiment with your style.” – Sue Benson, The Behaviours Agency
Download: The Best of the Network
What Diversity Looks Like for Your Business: Social Buff
Social Buff are performance marketing experts and members of The GO! Network.
For Social Buff, what diversity looks like is simple: ‘Inclusion of all ethnic backgrounds, sex or beliefs.’
So what’s the first step for addressing a lack of diversity within your business?
“It always starts with Culture,” Social Buff advises.
“To make an instrumental change, focus on two key areas – your existing team and new employees coming into the business. With your existing team, assess whether you offer fair opportunities and progression to everyone, regardless of sex, race or beliefs.”
Take a moment to evaluate how your company stacks up against others in your industry when it comes to diversity and inclusion. What are the obstacles that need to be addressed to improve the situation?
“Once you’ve acknowledged a lack of diversity, you’ve already taken the first step.”
Diversity can often be treated as a ‘cultural issue’, but there are tangible steps that can be taken and implemented.
"Invest in minority background initiatives, such as graduate programmes, charities, training or recruitment. Additionally, you can then implement a diversification strategy that creates organisational and cultural change over time."
Download: Against The Grain - Marketing Done Differently
What Diversity looks like in 2022
With so much research done that shows diverse businesses perform better, any company not prioritising the problems will struggle to survive against the modern workforce who demand it. As the workplace continues to evolve, and with proven value to be gained, there’s no time like the present.
If you’re looking to engage in more diverse initiatives with your business, our network of partners and expert agencies can support on everything from gender inclusion to recruitment and hiring. Get in touch here.