The benefits of diversity in the workplace

CI Pride takes place this weekend – a day of celebration for the Channel Islands’ diverse communities, however they are defined. The theme this year is marriage in recognition of the introduction of same-sex marriage in both Jersey and Guernsey in 2017.

It is also a good opportunity to reflect on equality and diversity in the workplace. The islands have legislation in place but employers also have a responsibility to not only make sure the law is followed but also to create a culture that allows equality and diversity to flourish. After all, it makes good business sense.

The aims of equality and diversity are simple: to ensure that everyone has access to the same opportunities and the same, fair treatment. It sounds obvious to state that everyone deserves to work in an environment that’s free from discrimination, harassment, victimisation and bullying but, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

We all know that variety is the spice of life – and this couldn’t be more applicable than in the workplace. If you actively promote equality and diversity – and have a policy to match -then your business will thrive and people of all backgrounds can come together and achieve success.

Improving diversity in your workplace

Prosperous businesses don’t create their success story and then add in a diverse workforce as an added extra. Diversity shouldn’t be regarded as a bonus or an advantageous attribute; it should be a given. People should expect their workplace to be diverse and offer equal opportunities for everyone.

Why is it so important that you include diversity in the core plan for your business?

Diversity helps you to develop. Businesses can’t continue to grow if everyone within them thinks the same, acts the same and has the same interests. Diversity means that your business will be open to new ideas and new ways of thinking and you’re much more likely to succeed.

Diversity is changing the face of businesses. It’s also necessary to consider the pool from which you select your employees. The working population is aging in the Channel Islands and more women and ethnic minorities are entering the workforce. Gone are the days where the ‘middle aged white man’ is the epitome of business.

Diversity helps you to reach more customers. Does your workforce reflect your customers and clients? Does the workforce match the demographic that you serve? Workplace diversity means that your staff members can relate to every one of your customers. If you have a range of people with a range of opinions then it makes it much easier to target a wider range of clients.

Diversity attracts workers. If people see that your company accommodates a diverse workforce then they’re more likely to want to work for you. Offering benefits like a crèche for children and flexible working hours, plus being accommodating for religious holidays and cultural apparel, will open job opportunities to more people than you can possibly imagine.

Benefits of Diversity

  • You’ll be able to recruit the top talent if your job applications are open to everyone, and not just a select few people.
  • Staff members will feel empowered that they’ve been hired based solely on their aptitude.
  • Your business will see an increase in creativity because workers from different backgrounds will approach problems and projects in different ways.
  • Employing people from different cultures may mean that your business benefits from diverse language skills, helping you to sell products and services internationally and provide enhanced customer support.
  • Employee turnover costs will be reduced if people feel comfortable, valued and happy in a workplace with an ethical culture.

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