Why diversity matters in the workplace, and how to foster it

Organisations who embrace diversity and inclusion offer positive working environments that enable employees to thrive and grow. These businesses are also more successful at attracting quality talent and financially outperforming their peers.

The evidence is there, with a McKinsey study revealing that ‘ethnically diverse companies are 36% more likely to outperform those that are less inclusive.’

The business case for D&I is stronger than ever, and in our experience organisations who are ramping up their D&I efforts are benefitting from:

An increased ability to recruit a diverse talent pool

Removing discrimination and bias from the recruitment process means that quality candidates will not be rejected on the basis of their gender, age, skin colour, or other, regardless of whether or not they possess the right skills and experience.

Higher employee retention

According to Deloitte, diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee.

Fresh perspectives and innovation

A team consisting of a group of individuals from a range of backgrounds and representations bring fresh perspectives, experiences and opinions to the table. Diverse organisations also tend to be more innovative. According to Edu Me, ‘Inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders’. Inclusive teams draw inspiration from their cultural differences and as a result they are better at generating creative ideas.

Improved performance

High performing organisations are made up of a unique blend of skills and experience, with numerous studies demonstrating that diverse teams outperform homogeneous teams. Inclusive environments breed teamwork, co-operation and results as people work together towards the achievement of common goals. Moreover, research indicates that diversity drives better decisions and problem solving, with inclusive teams being known to make better business decisions twice as fast.

Based on recent research and conversations the CY Partners team have had with scientific organisations and customers working in the chemical and life science industries, we’re seeing many implement the following incentive programmes to bring diverse groups together:

Appointing specific D&I ambassadors

Organisations wishing to embody a positive and diverse culture are appointing D&I ambassadors. This is a role that is growing fast in savvy organisations who are aware of how an investment in D&I enhances their ability to attract and retain the best talent.

A D&I ambassador could be someone who organises social events for example, catering for the broad range of interests of their diverse teams.

Examples of events and activities could include:

  • A pottery or cookery class
  • A spa day
  • A hiking trip
  • A book club
  • Opportunities to volunteer in the community
  • A cinema visit to see a cross cultural film
  • A visit to an art museum
  • An arts and crafts class
  • A scavenger hunt
  • A lunchtime training workshop
  • Language classes
  • A trip to an exhibition
  • A gaming night

Encouraging open communication

Open and honest conversation and collaboration can successfully help organisations to achieve a culture of equality. Managers should be encouraged to sit down with their teams regularly and ask them how they could be made to feel more valued. All employees need to feel heard and understood, so it’s important to create a safe space for them to air their concerns and contributions. Failure to do so can negatively impact the employee’s trust in management and the company.

Actively promoting inclusive behaviour

From where we stand as a specialist scientific recruiter, organisations who fail to foster inclusive behaviour are risking alienating their people. We’re finding that the following ideas are effective in helping organisations to build an inclusive environment:

  • Integrating the company’s D&I investment into the company vision, values and goals.
  • Running regular D&I training sessions, seminars and meetings, where employees are encouraged to share their achievements, stories and ideas.
  • Creating anti-discrimination and equality policies.
  • Celebrating occasions, national holidays and awareness days that matter most to underrepresented groups.

Making employee engagement a priority

Organisations should routinely facilitate feedback from employees and use their input to shape their D&I efforts. We suggest polling your workforce to unveil the changes they’d like to see brought to fruition. Regular team meetings can be used to empower, motivate and help your team to forge deeper connections with one another by encouraging them to share their achievements and suggestions.

Recruitment strategies for building a diverse workforce

Diversity in the Workplace Statistics from 2021 revealed that 57% of employees think their company should be doing more to increase diversity.

Here at CY Partners, we’re passionate about helping the organisations we work with embed diversity and inclusion into their recruitment strategy to ensure they have the best chance of recruiting high quality talent.

We recommend using the following tactics:

Target a diverse talent pool

Utilise a range of platforms and recruiting channels to access a wider selection of candidates. Don’t rely solely on the company website, or any one platform, and utilise social media to reach a more diverse audience.

Be proactive about promoting your diversity and inclusion credentials

Make your D&I efforts more walk and less talk by taking appropriate measures to engrain them in the company culture and ensure that they are embodied by all. Be proactive about promoting your business as an inclusive employer who values differences and people from all walks of life.

Evaluate current policies

Determine the degree to which your organisation’s existing policies enable discrimination and readdress them to ensure they are cultivating an unbiased workplace that awards everyone the opportunity to work fairly.

The organisational policy must appeal to diverse candidates. This means it should detail how the company understands, acknowledges and celebrates holidays from different cultures and religions, and how it encourages flexible working hours which enable candidates to continue to support their local communities. Furthermore, the policy should emphasise the steps the company takes to make everyone feel welcome, and how it encourages employees to speak up if they believe that any aspect of their employer’s approach to D&I is hindering their progress.

Set diversity targets and measure progress

These could include, for example:

  • Doubling the percentage of employees of x representation of its 500-person workforce
  • Appointing x no of diversity ambassadors and/or mentors
  • Instating a diversity council or advisory board
  • Investing x amount of money in D&I initiatives and causes
  • D&I training and inclusion goals, for e.g making it compulsory for leaders and managers to attend x number of D&I training events per year
  • Increase the number of women in technical roles to 50% by x date

Of course, diversity targets are purposeless if they are not tracked. Thus, it’s crucial that organisations measure important metrics such as representation and retention and leverage the data to help them achieve their goals. The data should also be shared with leaders to build accountability.

Appoint a diverse recruitment team

If you really want to form a stellar workforce made up of a headcount of various gender, races and sexual orientations, you need to ensure that the individuals responsible for recruiting truly understand what this looks like and means.

It’s clear that in today’s turbulent business environment, organisations who embrace and leverage the differences of their employees are the ones who succeed. By investing in D&I, your organisation will benefit from happier employees, the continual arising of new ideas and stronger commercial results and profitability.

If you’re interested in talking to our team about how we could help you develop an effective strategy to infuse D&I into your organisation, or how we could help you meet your scientific staffing needs in 2023, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us here.

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