Emma Marriott, Senior Strategist, highlights why leaders need to ensure a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Diversity is the range of human differences including, but not limited to, race, gender, identity, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic background, physical ability and more – all protected characteristics.
Inclusion is the way in which we embrace all these differences – recognising the impact of people being themselves and bringing all they are to the workplace.
Studies have shown consistently that firms with more women on boards, for example, deliver greater results financially and productively. Similarly, when people feel welcomed, safe, and supported at work they perform optimally and thus deliver greater results for their organisations.
Do you create an environment where people feel safe to discuss their differences and be all who they are? Or are you still working in a way that shows no interest as to who your people are, just what they can do for the company?
Your people are your greatest asset.
To get ahead and gain competitive people advantage, I urge leaders to create environments that embrace difference. Educate your leadership team to understand all that their teams are. People don’t want to discuss their differences all day but do want to feel safe and respected for who they are. Would your team feel welcome to discuss which church they go to? Perhaps discuss their civil partnership with their same sex partner or how they are navigating the sexual transition of their child?
This is what leaders need to do:
- Educate leaders to respect difference and to support effectively.
- Understand that personal matters can cross borders to the workplace.
- Embrace diversity of thought and the impact different thinking can have in making your business better.
In summary, allow your team to embrace diversity. When you are inclusive you attract the best.