Diversity in the workplace is often considered in terms of age, gender, race, cultural background and so on. Yet is this also a limiting belief? To create a diverse working environment, it is not simply about hiring people who fit into different brackets of age, religion and nationality with an equal male to female ratio.
There is much more to diversity than this. Diversity and inclusion can boost results. By embracing all aspects of diversity amongst a cohort of people, we open the door to a far wider range of initiatives and perspectives.
Everyone is different, even if you share the same religion or background, just as everyone is at a different stage of their career. We all bring something different, even if it is a different personality, from humor to analytical, and it is this that is so important to team work. A variety of viewpoints and a wider range of experience helps in decision-making, problem-solving and the implementation of new practice, and represents the demographic of a client base.
The nine characteristics for diversity
- Gender Reassignment
- Marriage & Civil Partnership
- Religion or belief (including lack of belief)
- Sexual Orientation (LGBT)+
Why isn’t it all about working in harmony in a cross-border team? It is imperative for a company to be able to innovate and supply on demand. Staff need to be able to advise on, and deliver, the goods and services to this diverse range of customers. These target end-users may be corporate individuals or everyday shoppers.
Don’t forget to include me…
Added to that is the sense of inclusion: when gay people feel they should remain ‘hidden’, they are likely to be less productive than when they feel able to ‘be themselves’. Diversity opens a deeper talent pool from which employers can choose the best person for the job. When people feel accepted, with inclusion and equality welcomed, employee retention improves.
This little business went to market
How well your company performs, begins with your marketing strategy. Are the nine characteristics of diversity represented in imagery on your website and marketing materials?
Most businesses will illustrate their products on their website in an informative, appealing way. They are unlikely to display just a word and leave the customer in a void. Yet this is what many businesses still do when it comes to investing in diversity on their marketing material.
This little business went bust…
A business selling household goods such as furniture or bedding would appear out of touch with its target market if it shows all males on its brochures. Similarly, if a company is not seen to be disability or LGBT friendly, this section of society, together with their friends and family, are likely to go elsewhere.
I’m not religious
Everything is becoming more diverse and with a Muslim Mayor in London, it is interesting to examine the wider impact.
Religious festivals are a good example:
- Diwali (Hindu)
- Guru Nanak (Sikh)
- Christmas/Lent (Christian)
- Pesach/Passover (Jewish)
- Ramadan (Islam)
- Vesak (Buddhist)
…and I want to be included.
There is no requirement to be a Christian to enjoy Christmas and if you want to book annual leave to celebrate Eid, as with Muslims, there is nothing stopping you.Should organisations recognise that many people who do not want to celebrate Christmas, whatever their religious beliefs, may want to come into work? Can their business sustain this?
Greater awareness and understanding of different backgrounds is a good start. But do companies need to create a workable strategy for remaining open for staff to continue working during a religious holiday, instead of taking an enforced holiday?
Now that is food for diversity…
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