The facts speak for themselves. Diversity pays dividends and leverages competitive advantage. With that in mind, inclusive workplace culture shouldn’t just be high on the corporate agenda. It should pervade through every business objective. And here’s our A-Z of reasons why …

Abolition of the default retirement age, coupled with the increase in the state pension age means that the 50+ age group is now the fastest growing segment of the workforce (up from 21% participation in 1992 to 29% in 2013). (CIPD, People Management, Aug 2015)

By 2040, Europe can expect a shortfall of 24 million people in the active workforce if employment rates for women remain constant. Yet, if they match those of men, that expected shortfall reduces to just 3 million. (McKinsey)

Corporate reputation rests on many things, not least an organisation’s moral compass and social responsibility around diversity and inclusion. Can your business really afford to fall short of expectation?

Direct discrimination comes with hefty punishment, and rightly so. There is no ceiling on the amount of compensation a tribunal can award for discrimination, and many thousands of pounds in compensation is not uncommon.

Employee engagement may be hard to place a value on, but consider the price of a negative team environment. The LGBT community alone reports a drop of 30% in engagement levels as a result of unwelcoming and hostile attitudes to sexuality (Human Rights Campaign Foundation), with knock on effects on productivity, staff turnover costs and ultimately profit.

Female participation in work is up from 37% in 1971 to 47% in 2013 (CIPD Megatrends). Progress indeed, but it is imperative that policies and practices at work (such as flexibility) are adapted to continue to attract and retain women in the workplace.

Gender diversity at the top of the organisational tree is directly correlated with commercial success, according to results from a study by McKinsey. Among the companies in their data set, with every 10% increase in gender diversity on senior exec teams, EBIT rose by 3.5%.

Hiring a diverse team will enable your business to reflect the local and consumer demographic, resulting in a business that relates much more closely to its customer market.

Indirect discrimination carries the same limitless compensation as direct discrimination. Are all your policies as inclusive as they should be, or do any of them indirectly disadvantage particular groups?

Jobseekers have a powerful voice, especially with the prevalence of social media and feedback sites such as Glassdoor’s recent Diversity Hiring Survey states that 67% of active and passive jobseekers quote a diverse workforce as an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.

Keeping pace with change has never been more crucial. The world of work is changing rapidly and constantly. Migration is on the rise, and more companies than ever are trading internationally. It’s hard to see how a business in today’s world can succeed without diversity and inclusion strategy at its core.

LGBT employees still report a sense that they cannot bring their whole identity to work. 35% feel compelled to lie at work about their private lives; an exercise which they find exhausting, stressful and distracting. (Human Rights Campaign Foundation)

Monitoring is becoming more public. Take gender pay disclosure, which for larger companies will shortly be compulsory. The reports are likely to make for some uncomfortable reading, unless companies start addressing the pay gap immediately.

Nosedives in productivity are never good for business. LGBT employees who feel compelled to remain ‘in the closet’ at work reportedly show a 10% reduction in productivity. (Stephen Frost)

Over 10 million adults in the UK have some sort of disability. That’s the equivalent of the population of London – more, in fact! UK business just can’t afford to disenfranchise them, whether as employees or as customers.

Psychological contracts are critical, and to be competitive organisations need everyone who works for them to make their best contribution by feeling valued and respected for all that they are.

Quartile rankings – companies in the top quartile for racial / ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians. And top quartile performers for gender diversity show a 15% greater likelihood of financial returns above national industry medians. (McKinsey)

Retaining talent is a great way to cut costs. 26% of LBGT workers stayed in a job because the environment was accepting, compared with 9% who left because it was not inclusive. (Human Rights Campaign Foundation) The cost of replacing an employee will vary based on level and industry, but when you factor in lost productivity while recruiting, the cost of recruiting and training a new team member, and the effect on team morale, the ripple effects are far reaching.

Sickness absence figures are reportedly lower among people with disabilities than among their non-disabled colleagues, contrary to popular myth. (University of East London).

Teams that are more diverse have the opportunity to offer a wide variety of viewpoints, talents and ideas.

UK Government’s Older Workers Review estimates that an extra 3 years’ work per head would add £55 billion to UK GDP.

Vicarious liability means that as an employer you can be held liable for the acts or omissions of your employees, provided it can be shown that they took place in the course of their employment. Creating an inclusive culture and providing training around diversity can limit that risk substantially.

Women have skills that employers need, and unleashing the full potential of women in the workplace could be worth £23 billion to the Exchequer. (Women and Work Commission)

XpertHR states that employers who observe good practice in respect of religion and belief can build a more diverse, respectful and motivated workforce.

Younger workers will not enter the workforce at a fast enough rate to fill the anticipated 14 million vacancies created over the next 10 years. With only 7 million school, university and college leavers anticipated over the same timeframe, businesses will also need to rely on a more diverse recruitment strategy. (National Voice for Lifelong Learning).

Zero tolerance for any form of harassment, victimisation, bullying, or discrimination in the workplace is an absolute imperative. Diversity can be easily created, but unless it is managed with a culture of inclusivity, building ‘Noah’s Ark’ will only win short-term gains.


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