Rightly so, diversity has climbed the agenda for many companies over the past few years. Lots of progress has been made but the fact is, organisations still have a long way to go to see the impact diversity can have on the performance of a business.
At our Club Sandwich event earlier this month we heard from culture and communication professionals from different businesses, industries and backgrounds – and everyone agreed: Organisational practices aren’t fit for purpose when it comes to creating diverse and inclusive places to work.
But there was hope! We also spent time thinking about the things that we can do to shake things up and unlock the true power of diversity:
1. Make the business case
There’s a common belief that diversity is the right thing to do. Many diversity goals in businesses have been put in place as a hygiene factor; something to comply with. We need to help organisations see that diversity is a business priority – for survival – not for political correctness. This study by BCG shows that there is an undeniable link between diversity and innovation. In a world where we need to encourage creativity, experimentation and a little bit of rebellion to thrive – it’s a no brainer, isn’t it?
2. Put the right organisational practices in place
Break down the employee journey and look at how each touchpoint encourages diversity. For example, does your recruitment process only invite applicants from certain universities (do you even need a degree)? Do you offer flexible working for everyone? Do you have an equal pay and reward system? Look for opportunities to make simple but impactful changes.
3. Build a culture where diversity opens doors
Organisations have a responsibility to put the right practices in place, but we all have the responsibility (and gift!) to create an environment where diversity thrives. There is no point in investing in practices if we’re only going to diversity down in our personal actions. Here are some of the practical ideas to make it happen:
Invite different perspectives
Next time you work on a project or need to solve a problem, invite new and unexpected perspectives into your team or process. Diversity isn’t just about gender, race or age. Look for different careers, industries and education.
Be open and inclusive
Think about how you can encourage people to be themselves and speak up openly.
Make meaningful connections
Build a vast network and share experiences. Talk about diversity all the time – It’s not just for a dedicated week a year, keep the conversation going.