Sometimes amongst employers, there may be an unconscious bias of only recruiting people who are like-minded or from a similar background to themselves. While this may seem like a good way of building a cohesive workforce, ultimately it will have its drawbacks.
The way to build a forward-thinking company is to recruit people based on what they can offer, rather than because of their age, sex, religion, marital status or any other characteristic. Although it is the law to promote equality in the workplace with the Equality Act 2010, there are many business benefits to creating a diverse, inclusive workforce.
Increased creativity and productivity
Employees from different backgrounds will bring a variety of solutions on how to achieve a goal. Naturally, people from similar backgrounds will have a similar view on how to solve a problem – but it may not necessarily be the right one!
The more ideas brought forward will increase the likelihood of finding a solution that works. Having managers from a range of backgrounds can bring in new skills and processes to benefit the organisation.
Enhanced employer brand
Talented people looking for jobs will be far more attracted to firms that are free from discrimination. Potential employees will want a guarantee that an employer will treat them fairly, regardless of their gender, race or ethnicity.
Diverse employers are also better placed to retain their top talent. If it becomes apparent to an employee that they’re unlikely to progress within a company due to reasons other than their ability, then they’ll have little option but to move on – along with their experience and skills.
Better reputation with customers
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to hide a lack of diversity and inclusivity for businesses. One example is the gender pay gap – any employer with more than 250 employees has to publish the discrepancy between what they pay men and women in their organisation on average.
It’s led to some embarrassing publicity for some major firms, including Barclays and easyJet.
Having a more diverse range of employees will help a business cater for their customers better. In 2014, the nearly 12 million disabled people in the UK were estimated to have a combined disposable income of around £80 billion. Figures from 2017 reveal that only 3.4 million disabled people are in employment.
Organisations that employ disabled workers should be able to provide a better service to suit their needs, and give the organisation a significant competitive advantage. The same would apply to customers in other demographic groups.