Are you addressing diversity?
Building a business case for diversity has never been so paramount in our current need for a multicultural workforce, but it is still far from resolved even in 2016.
Striving for greater diversity in the workplace – be it gender, race, age or sexuality, can give businesses a competitive advantage, with many studies demonstrating that with a diverse workforce comes the benefits of success.
But it’s far more than just a trendy buzzword that’s doing the rounds, it’s the key to fostering new ways of thinking, reaching out to a wider range of customers and growing a business.
Diversity shouldn’t tick the box of political correctness; it makes real business sense.
If an organisation has a diverse range of employees, they’re more likely to understand a broader customer base and retain staff in an increasingly competitive market.
Unfortunately, the simple fact is that we still have a long way to go when it comes to harnessing the true value of diversity.
Most recently research carried out by TUC revealed that the pay gap has continued to widen amongst black and white graduates, with black graduates leaving university earning an average 23% less than their white counterparts.
The TUC’s general secretary Frances O’Grady commented that “the Government urgently need to develop an equality strategy as a matter of political priority, with clear targets and adequate resourcing”.
The current state of diversity in the UK has long been raging in the media, with not a month going by without a new report or survey outlining gender pay gaps, race pay gaps, or the alarming decline of ethnic minority workers.
Many businesses have been outwardly claiming that they’re doing diversity the right way, but this isn’t call for praise, it’s a time for action.
Amir Kabel Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Green Park comments that “the glaring issue here is that it’s 2016 and the steps are STILL being taken, and they are having to be taken because the playing field is nowhere near level when it comes to diversity within the world of business. Yes, we said it – no-one is doing diversity right. Diversity shouldn’t stop in Human Resources and it should by no means start there either. The very essence of diversity should begin in the boards state of mind, a top-down approach is critical to ensure the attitude trickles down through the rest of the company and be the foundation of its culture.”
So with the government doing very little in the way of resources, it’s down to businesses to address it head on.
Become a Mentor
If you want to really adapt your workforce to be more diverse it takes action.
We can all talk about the issues facing diversity until the cows come home, but if we don’t take measurable steps then we’re really not doing anything at all.
Mentoring is nothing new in the world of business, but it can offer those from a diverse background and insight into your industry and what you’re looking for in potential candidates.
Whether you look to do this within your business, or by visiting schools and colleges, it can have a dramatic impact on your potential reach for future talent.
You can advise them on the skills they need, encourage progression, support them in both practical challenges they face and the emotional ones.
Not only will you be inspiring this pool of untapped talent, but you will be making your business the first on their list for employment, making you a desired organization among ethnic minorities.
Open Up to Apprenticeships
There have been a number of challenges faced in recent times with businesses struggling to attract diverse apprenticeship applicants, but by offering these opportunities to your own business, you can start to recruit talent from a range of diverse backgrounds, whilst breeding new talent.
At present only 9% of apprentice applicants comes from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
Therefore, by offering these early positions in your business you can nurture fresh talent and begin to resolve the diversity deficit.
These actions may mean heavy changes with your current business system, but it can open up a wealth of prosperous change. From higher growth and increased productivity, it’s time that you began these changes before you become obsolete to the multicultural organizations that are booming.