In the wake of gender pay reporting and a number of high-profile scandals hitting the headlines in the last year, diversity and inclusion are quickly rising up the corporate agenda.
As well as the undisputed moral argument, companies are increasingly becoming aware of the fact that diversity is actually good for business.
But awareness needs action.
Dive In – the festival for diversity and inclusion in insurance kicks off next week and this year’s event marks the beginning of a two-year campaign which aims to encourage action across the sector.
Dive In highlights the business case for diverse and inclusive workplaces and provides inspiration for how to bring about positive change.
Awareness is critical, but it’s also important that companies understand that whilst diversity and inclusion are interconnected, they aren’t one and the same and each have their own meanings.
As Verna Myers famously said, "Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance."
Diversity is often described as the who or the what. It represents the full spectrum of human demographic differences -- race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status or physical disability.
Inclusion is more the how - creating a culture that welcomes and embraces diversity, where employees feel like they belong and feel respected. Where they feel valued and encouraged to fully participate.
So why does diversity and inclusion matter? Why is it #time4inclusion?
It can help you attract the best talent
People are the heart of any company, and attracting the best talent is pivotal for success.
By creating a culture that embraces diversity, inclusion and collaboration, companies become more interesting and appealing to prospective employees. This is particularly prevalent in an age where greater value is being placed on workplace diversity and is becoming an increasingly important factor when sizing up future employers.
It also opens up organisations to different types of people who perhaps wouldn’t normally consider them. When you focus on diversity, you aren’t limiting the type of talent you go after; you are willing to look in places that companies that don't encourage diversity would not.
It encourages innovation and creativity
They say two heads are better than one. But in fact, many diverse heads are better.
In an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing environment, organisations need to be nimble and quick to adapt and innovate if they wish to remain relevant and successful.
And for this to happen, creating a diverse and inclusive workforce is critical.
Bringing together individuals with different backgrounds and experiences promotes greater innovation and decision making. Through generating fresh and varied ideas, you’ll get perspectives and approaches to problem solving that will ultimately boost financial performance.
It could lead to greater profitability
Earlier this year, a study on diversity in the workplace conducted by McKinsey & Company gave some clout to this hypothesis.
Having analysed more than 1,000 companies across 12 countries, measuring their respective profits and longer-term value creation, McKinsey found statistically significant correlations between gender and ethnic diversity and profitability.
The study found that companies in the top quartile for executive level ethnic diversity are 33 percent more likely to outperform their bottom quartile peers on profitability. There was a similar trend for gender diversity, with companies with the most gender diverse executive teams being 21 percent more likely to have higher profitability.
Personal growth, satisfaction and retention
Attracting the best talent is only half the battle; retaining them and creating a sustainable workforce is equally, if not more important.
Part of this involves creating both personal and professional development opportunities for employees, as well as ensuring that they feel comfortable in their place of work.
Workplace diversity can help with this as it provides employees the opportunity to learn from and connect with a broad variety of people with different perspectives, knowledge and experiences, enabling them to obtain a more rounded view of the business world.
Furthermore, it’s important to reiterate that diversity and inclusion is more than age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexual orientation. It’s also about how different points of view are accepted and valued- therefore creating a supportive, nurturing and inclusive environment is key.
For further information on Dive In or to book tickets to any of the events visit their website.