In a world where diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of discussions, FTSE 350 businesses are making significant strides to foster diversity within their senior teams.
Recent data indicates that these companies are paying more attention to diversity among their senior team candidates than ever before, with notable increases in the representation of ethnically diverse directors and women in board seats.
According to the latest statistics, the percentage of seats filled by ethnically diverse directors in FTSE 350 companies has risen to an impressive 22 percent.
Furthermore, in the pursuit of gender balance, the data shows that 54 percent of new board seats have been taken by women, demonstrating a clear commitment to progress in this area.
But what exactly is driving this newfound emphasis on workplace diversity, and what benefits does it offer for these organisations?
Unlocking the Power of Workplace Diversity
One of the most evident advantages of promoting workplace diversity is the ability to gain invaluable insights from individuals with varied backgrounds and experiences. Impact, a renowned expert in experiential learning, delves into the ways diversity can enhance a business’s operations and how it can be effectively integrated into the workplace.
The Advantages of Workplace Diversity
Building a diverse workplace involves employing individuals of different genders, ethnicities, age ranges, sexual orientations, and education levels. Here are some of the key advantages of embracing a diverse and inclusive workplace:
Diversity Boosts Creativity and Decision-Making
In a world where creativity is vital for standing out from competitors, having a diverse workforce can provide a significant advantage. Dominic Fitch, Head of Creative Change at Impact, emphasised that “people from different backgrounds can offer fresh, innovative perspectives and ideas to help solve day-to-day challenges.” He further stated that diverse teams tend to make smarter choices, as studies indicate they outperform non-diverse workforces up to 87 percent of the time. Ultimately, a diverse team is more socially aware and can tackle tasks in a creative and efficient manner.
Diversity Promotes Open-Mindedness
Effective communication and collaboration are essential ingredients for a successful business. In a homogeneous workplace, where everyone shares similar experiences and backgrounds, there is often little room for opposing opinions and fresh outlooks. However, a diverse group encourages diverse viewpoints, leading to greater openness to alternative solutions and exposure to new ideas. This not only improves organisational efficiency but also fosters a better company culture.
Diversity Enhances a Business’s Reputation
Prioritising diversity at the forefront of a company’s agenda can enhance its reputation among employees, candidates, clients, customers, and vendors. A visibly diverse workforce allows more people to relate to and form a stronger bond with the company, as they see themselves represented. A positive reputation can attract a larger clientele, as consumers are more likely to support organisations that align with their values.
Creating a Diverse Workplace
As a manager or business owner, it is essential to actively promote a diverse workplace culture. For those looking to nurture workplace diversity, here are some key strategies to consider:
- Diversity Recruitment Processes: Implement unbiased recruitment processes that focus on candidates’ skills and competencies, rather than their ethnicity or gender. Consider using software that filters out candidate information related to demographics.
- Diversity and Inclusivity Training: Invest in training programs that promote diversity and inclusivity awareness among your team. This equips employees with the tools and knowledge to create an inclusive environment.
- Review Outdated Policies: Regularly review company policies to ensure they align with evolving societal norms and diversity priorities.
- Celebrate Cultural Diversity: Acknowledge and respect the cultural diversity of your employees by incorporating cultural holidays and festivities into the business calendar, allowing everyone to celebrate their heritage.
Workplace diversity is not just a buzzword but a strategic imperative that can positively impact a company’s creativity, decision-making, reputation, and overall performance. FTSE 350 businesses are leading the way in recognising the value of diversity, and as they continue to make strides in this direction, the business world is taking note of the benefits that come with embracing diversity and inclusion.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.