Workplace Opportunities for Diversity and Inclusion

Updated: Sep 14

Opportunities for diversity and inclusion are plentiful. The implementation of inclusive processes, through committed resources and structured activities, can result in whole organisation benefits.

This means that the recognition and delivery of activities to support diversity and inclusion are important. It will support best practices, people development, customer service, and increased business growth.

There are many opportunities to develop organisational diversity and inclusion

Planning for organisational development around diversity and inclusion can, in some cases, mean making changes to current processes. It can help to enable the development of a focused and authentic strategy.

Rethinking diversity and inclusion, as an organisational improvement strategy, is useful for any development initiative. By rethinking and reinventing the way leaders perceive diversity, an organisation can develop processes, both internally and externally focused.

These will help to understand the needs of diverse groups, whilst embedding diversity to achieve elevated business results.

Let's be clear... a supportive work environment is key to providing employees with the kind of policies, processes and initiatives that enable them to develop new skills and achieve outstanding results. Diversity and inclusion is a key fundamental in creating such an environment.

The Key To Developing Diversity and Inclusion, Lies In Understanding.

Acceptance and respect for one another is fundamental, not only across society in general, but also within a competent and confident workplace environment.

The ability to embed diversity and accommodate difference in a workplace, operational framework, is crucial to employee and customer satisfaction.

It is crucial to develop knowledge and understanding of diversity

A well-developed understanding of different cultural backgrounds, religion, spiritual and political beliefs is necessary for effective people management. in an effective workplace environment.

It helps to build confidence and competence around diversity and inclusion, whilst supporting and the development of highly efficient and well engaged individuals and workplace teams.

Increasing understanding develops knowledge and skills to engage competent and inclusive behaviours amongst staff and stakeholders. It also helps to develop a workplace environment that is fluid and receptive to competing ideas.

Developing knowledge of the complex needs of gender, families, people of differing abilities, cultures, etc, helps to develop and promote an inclusive workplace. Diversity is complex and includes practically every difference one can imagine.

Differences, however, can be the precursor of challenges within the workplace and can lead to the inability to effectively manage multiple teams of diverse individuals. This can present challenges for managers, within some organisations.

Many leaders still feel that diversity and inclusion is a 'nice to have' and fail to understand the ways that it impacts on key business results and promotes a positive and engaging business image.

Here are 6 points of focus for leading and rethinking diversity and inclusion as a 'whole organisation' opportunity.

1. Diversity and Inclusion is NOT The Sole Responsibility Of HR

Diversity must become a 'whole organisation' operational process. The tendency to place the responsibility for diversity and inclusion within the HR function, has been tried and tested. In most instances, it has failed.

Many diversity and inclusion initiatives focus on recruitment and learning and development. They are largely initiated to solve a problem, as part of a risk management strategy or to manage reputation when an organisation has fallen foul of diversity and inclusion…. Or when they have acted erroneously.

Sadly, many leaders do not fully appreciate the importance of diversity and inclusion, and are only pushed into action when the business has acted in a discriminatory manner and they find themselves in an employment tribunal.

Many leaders lack understanding of how to engage fully with diversity.

What is limiting to diversity and inclusion strategies within most organisations is the placement of the function solely within HR or corporate social responsibility activities.

By giving over responsibility for equality, diversity and inclusion solely to the HR function, leaders effectively negating full accountability for diversity and inclusion within your business.

Diversity and inclusion is a whole organisation activity and responsibility. It should not be viewed as just another HR function. Certainly, this does not negate the usefulness of HR, as an important function in the development and purposeful action in developing diversity and inclusion.

HR is a very relevant and functional department of any business. However, the habit of assigning the diversity and inclusion portfolio solely within HR, nullifies its significance as a 'whole organisation' business and people process.

A commitment for diversity and inclusion should be an accountability for every business function and each individual employee. It should be based on verifiable actions, rather than policy alone.

Companies want to be seen as embracing diversity and inclusion. This however, is very different to actually BEING diverse and inclusive.

2. Create Opportunities for Diversity and Inclusion

Creating opportunities to embed diversity and inclusion, rather than merely solving problems, is the way to go!

By recognising diversity, and beginning to think in an inclusive way, companies are more likely to grow and attract positive attention towards their business brand.

Opportunities for inclusion start within the workplace

Creating opportunities for diversity starts from within. It begins with a commitment to review your organisation and make the necessary changes to build inclusion.

This process will require an evaluation of your organisation, its values, its employees, and its processes.

Many companies appear to be diverse. They employ diverse groups of people and ensure that this is a visible element of their marketing and public image. However, this does not mean that they are truly diverse. Nor does it mean that they are inclusive.!

Employing people from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds is favourable in any business. However, the need to create and embed inclusive processes is the pinnacle of the process.