How can you tackle diversity in the workplace?

August 4, 2022

Business spending on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives has skyrocketed in the last decade. It is estimated the global market for DEI reached $7.5 billion in 2020 and is expected to double by 2026. To justify these initiatives, many companies claim that diversity is beneficial for business growth.

Research has shown that diverse organisations foster better employee engagement and productivity and they allow for better problem-solving abilities as varying perspectives often approach business challenges in a new way.

The research that diversity in the workplace powers innovation and financial performance continues to stack up. Some studies have found that companies with pro diversity policies performed better. Research by Forbes tells us that decisions made and executed by diverse teams delivered 60% better results and inclusive teams make better business decisions 87% of the time. The reason for this is clear: more diverse companies have greater levels of innovation.

LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends report found that diversity is a key trend that has impacted the way organisations hire their people. According to the report’s findings, 78% of companies prioritise diversity to improve culture, and 62% of companies prioritise it to boost financial performance.

However, certain industries in particular, such as financial services, still have significant lack of a diverse workforce, mainly at senior levels. Two factors contributing to this underrepresentation are the rate at which employees leave a company and the rate at which employees get promoted. As well as this, research conducted by McKinsey has found that women in particular have been negatively impacted by the pandemic as it has intensified pre-existing challenges that working women already faced i.e. childcare responsibilities.

What can be implemented to tackle DEI at work?

  • Make organisational change last
  • Have policies that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace
  • Be aware of unconscious bias
  • Communicate the importance of managing bias
  • Promote pay equity
  • Develop a strategic training programme
  • Acknowledge holidays of all cultures
  • Make it easy for your people to participate in employee resource groups
  • Mix up your teams
  • Facilitate ongoing feedback
  • Assess and improve company policies
  • Track progress over extended periods of time

Employers are responsible for staff and any discrimination complaints. Over the last two years or so, there has been an increase in employment tribunals for protected characteristics such as race, age, and sex. Taking steps to prevent unlawful discrimination can include updating policies and regular inclusion and diversity training, this is essential for all organisations.

Positive and productive changes in organisations come with structural change at all levels, and these changes take time. We can assist you to avoid tribunal claims for discrimination and to create more inclusive workplaces.

How we can help

At BCR Law LLP, we work proactively to assist businesses to promote equality and diversity. You can consult us for expert advice on compliance, fair treatment of staff, developing and implementing bespoke policies, and defending claims. If you would like to discuss anything further, please do get in touch.

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