The Future is Investing in Diversity

Updated: Aug 10, 2020

Future-focused companies are investing in diversity. Yes, the future of cutting edge organisational and business development is increasingly rooted in the solid acknowledgment and investment in diversity and inclusion - but WHY?

Diversity and inclusion is at the heart of people and business development processes. Amongst the challenges that businesses in the UK face, are concerns around recruitment and staffing.

The changing face of recruitment means that full recognition of diversity and inclusion must be realized with companies, that seek to build a competent, future-focused employee base, that delivers quality and attracts and retains candidates from a wide range of backgrounds.

The benefits of diversity are real. Generation Z is entering the workforce. This group of diverse, emerging talent, will present game-changing issues for a multitude of businesses.

It is the first group of talent that has spent its whole life in the technological age. Growing up, living, and learning with digital, means that they are global in their interactions, their career aspirations and life outlook.

Concepts of self-identity and freedom of expression are of great importance to this new cohort of professionals.

The ability to identify culturally, through gender and sexuality is part of the fabric of life for this generation.

They are more likely to have strong social interactions with people of different cultures and faiths than previous generations. They are more likely to have been socialized through interactions and relationships that have honed their skills in embracing culture, diversity, and inclusion.

How then, can a business attract and accommodate a diverse group of emerging talent that expects investment in their diversity?

Investing In New Opportunities For Diversity And Inclusion

There are countless opportunities to build diversity and inclusion in business processes and operations. It is within these opportunities that companies begin to cultivate and embody inclusive processes and build diversity into business.

Diversity is the norm for Generation Z and they are entering the workforce! These bright, ambitious young people want, need, and demand diversity and inclusion. They want to work in environments where they can express themselves and contribute to the growth, innovation, and effectiveness of the business, without feeling excluded.

They expect to fit into the workplace environment, without fear or favour, and be able to journey on with their careers, fully supported by leadership, without gaps to access.

Embedding diversity and inclusive processes help to support employee development. It not only enables recruits to feel welcome within the workplace but also supports them to progress within the business, in a fair and equitable manner.

No longer can companies maintain piecemeal diversity initiatives, hoping to placate employees, in the hope of appearing to 'value' diversity and inclusion.

Investing In Diverse Talent Acquisition

UK businesses are starting to acknowledge the benefits that a diverse workforce brings.

Recruiting diverse talent is an investment that benefits business. It helps to attract talent from all backgrounds. It supports a range of human capital that is rich in social, personality, and creativity, which helps to enhance the skills that a business has at its disposal.

There has been an explosion of visible diversity in television advertisements and other branding activities. There has been a noticeable increase in televised documentaries and dramas, targeted at minority ethnic communities and other marginalized groups.

There are real benefits to investing in diversity

This is a welcome affirmation that Black communities and other communities of colour, women, and people of different sexualities, do indeed matter.

It serves to provide visual role models for women and minority ethnic groups and expose culture to the masses. It helps to attract a wider range of potential employees of all ages and aligns customers and clients to a brand.

However do such activities, go far enough? Are companies embedding diversity into the fabric of their business processes? Do these advertising pursuits building real diversity and inclusion into business or are they merely seeking to 'appear' more welcoming, diverse, and inclusive?

Recent diversity reports suggest that some corporate sector businesses are failing in inclusive talent attraction processes. More critical, commentators suggest that some companies are deliberately engaging in practices that inherently fail to attract, recruit, and promote diverse candidates.

Diversity and Inclusion: A Business Investment Activity

Diversity improves employee, customer, client, and financial outcomes. There are documented links between increased performance and agility and diversity and inclusive business processes.

Business investment in developing an inclusive workforce, at all levels, improves outcomes for the business and those that invest in them. This includes shareholders and potential partners.

The connection between cultural and gender diversity and improved business results has been established. However, The Hampton Alexander review on Gender balance in the UK's FTSE 350 companies uncovered tokenistic gestures to gender diversity balance.

The Chair of the government-commissioned review, Sir Philip Hampton, called on consumers to boycott companies that were "so clearly out of touch"

Whist the review made grim reading, it was not totally surprising. Many companies still employ obsolete procedures within recruitment and talent acquisition processes.

investment in gender diversity
Investment in gender balance in leadership roles

Given the reluctance of many companies to attract and promote women to leadership and C-Suite roles, this is an area in which many companies should focus attention and resources. Investing early in racial and gender diversity is crucial to developing skilled and motivated talent to join companies.

If women feel that they will be marginalized and restricted in realizing their ambitions, company image and profits will suffer. Companies will eventually lose traction in the market and talent will be lost to more inclusive competition.

Investing in diverse recruitment and retention processes, help to facilitate an inclusive environment, in which employees from a wide range of backgrounds are able to flourish and contribute to the development of the organisation.

It enables a company to attract and retain talent, that can help to shape decision making. It also allows a company to think 'outside the box', manage homogeneous group think around issues of diversity.