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The Business benefits of Diversity . Besides it being both a legal requirement and an ethical approach to employing people there are good business reasons why an employer should explore all avenues to find the best person for the job and have a staff which is as diverse at least as its customers.

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The Business benefits of Diversity

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The business benefits of diversity l.jpg

The Business benefits of Diversity

Besides it being both a legal requirement and an ethical approach to employing people there are good business reasons why an employer should explore all avenues to find the best person for the job and have a staff which is as diverse at least as its customers.


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GET THE BEST CANDIDATE

  • If you truly want to get the best candidate then making sure suitable people know about and are encouraged to apply for your job regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, disability or faith means that you will get the best of all worlds in terms of quality applicants.


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Diversity Image = positive image

Would you notice if you walked into a small shop and all the customers were women while all the shop assistants were men? Or if all the assistants appeared over 50 but all their customers were teenagers? Might you think this a bit odd? You probably would. Would you use their services if you were different to all the staff? We are used to seeing a range of different people while out and about. Any concentration of one type of person can stand out, especially if you are not one of them. Although it can be harder to spot, the same is true for businesses. Its workforce influences how the business is perceived to the world outside. You need to be seen as attractive and welcoming to all


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Be open to all

Who is employed and what they are like says something about the business to customers, suppliers, contractors and potential recruits, as well as to existing employees and to trade unions representing them. If a company’s workforce is uniform in sex, age, ethnic background, or any of the other characteristics people tend to notice about one another, then that can make a difference to the impression a business makes.


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The UK Background -1

  • There are almost 61 million people living in the United Kingdom, slightly more women than men. Nearly 31 million of us are working or actively looking for work (most of the rest are under 16 or are retired). These days, the number of women either in, or looking for, paid work is getting closer to the number of men: 14.1 million women compared to 16.7 million men. 70% percent of women between the ages of 16 and 59 are in paid work outside the home, compared with just 56% in 1971. This includes a majority of mothers with children under 16, whether they are married or living with a partner or on their own.

  • Around 3.5 million disabled people are in employment – around one in eight of all working age people in employment. This represents an employment rate for disabled people of 50%, whereas the working-age population as a whole has an employment rate of about 80%.


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The UK Population - 2

  • The working population as a whole is getting older. Compared to 1971, a higher proportion of the population is aged 30 or older and this is set to continue to grow in the future. The 2001 Census gives the latest definite measure of the UK ’s ethnic diversity, and showed that 7.9% of the total population, or 4.6 million people, are from ethnic minority groups. Indians were the largest minority group, followed by Pakistanis, those of mixed ethnic backgrounds, black Caribbeans, black Africans and Bangladeshis. The remaining ethnic minority groups each accounted for less than 0.5% but together accounted for a further 1.4% of the UK population. 11% of the UK population were born outside of the UK.


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UK Population 3

  • The most recent British Social Attitudes Survey shows that 45% of the UK population identify themselves as having no religious belief (though they may hold non-religious beliefs, such as Humanism). 47.5% of people say they are Christian, while 3.3% are Muslim, 1.4% Hindu, 0.5% Jewish, 0.2% Sikh, 0.2% Buddhist and 1.4% other non-Christian religions.

  • The majority of people are heterosexual or ‘straight’ and they are attracted to the opposite sex. HM Treasury Actuaries estimate that 6% of people are attracted to people of the same sex (lesbian women and gay men) or both the same and opposite sex (bisexual people). In addition there are a number of Transgender people.


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CLIENT DIVERSITY= STAFF DIVERSITY

  • a workforce which reflects the diversity of your customers is important for business, your staff should be better able at anticipating and meeting different clients needs, while people often feel more comfortable if they are able to talk to people they feel will be respond to them easily .


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Extra knowledge and insight

  • if you have a wide variety of staff then you have a greater amount of knowledge and experience to draw from when looking at the range of goods / services to offer, the right approach to take with different customer groups, plus be able to relate and empathise with a wider number of clients.


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Positive and balanced workforce

There are benefits which the majority of people in any equality group can bring to a business and which when combined together can generate a positive and balanced workforce and culture. The key benefit of diversity is that between them staff from diverse backgrounds can offer a range of information and support to clients from all different backgrounds and needs


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Gender balance

  • Men and women usually work better together as a mixed group, they tend to bring different positive attributes and are able to bring the experiences and interests of both genders of consumers.

  • People from LGBT backgrounds can add to this mix, and bring the experiences and interests of LGBT consumers to the organisation. They may also be able to help you avoid giving unintentional offence to LGBT people.


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Examples of diversity benefits to employers – the Met

  • The Metropolitan Police – who carried out research with their staff who include women and men, people from a wide variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds and from different faiths, gays and lesbians as well as some people with disabilities.

  • They asked all their staff to inform them about their other interests, activities and skills outside of work. This led to an appreciation by the Met that they had an enormous range of in-house knowledge, experience and skills which could be drawn on when needed.

  • This included a wide variety of languages which they could use for translation, interpretation, examination of evidence, material and interviewing witnesses etc.

  • They were able to draw upon the breadth of experience of particular areas, cultural groups and in depth knowledge of sports and activities which is of use in many different ways.


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Brent Council street furniture working group.

  • I was involved in this group of experts from different departments at Brent which drew up the design and location requirements for street furniture. It was a diverse group of expertise but it was only when someone who was a member of their Disability section joined us that we became aware not only of the issues of street furniture for people with disabilities, particularly blind people but they were able to point out ways in which these issues could be addressed at minimum additional cost – such as having a raised plinth to alert people with sight disability that they were about to make contact with a sign but also to inscribe basic information in brail on relevant furniture. Our previous discussions had not included these issues not out of prejudice but from ignorance and once included we were able to produce a brief to the contractors that addressed all problems at essentially the same cost and became of benefit rather than threat to all those people living, working in or visiting Brent with visual impairment


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Further Areas of Business benefit from diversity

  • Strategic Planning and development

  • Research

  • Marketing and promotion –Employing the best staff

  • Value for money

  • Product / service design

  • Resource


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Strategic Planning and development

  • When developing your organisation’s strategic and action plans including policies and procedures – it is beneficial to include all staff in the process and where possible customers

  • With a diverse staff base you can ensure that all perspectives are taken into account, including expanding into new markets ( including international) and developing new product / services or uses for your existing ones


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Research

  • When researching your needs, your opportunities and threats, your current and future markets you need to draw upon not just research and research specialists but ask & include your staff for insights / awareness / links into these areas


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Marketing and promotion

  • Diversity improves such areas as

  • Design – concepts / appropriateness /innovation

  • Images – relevant / different

  • Text – cultural/generational reference,translation

  • Outreach - contacts

  • Targeting different groups

  • Knowing how and where to reach them


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Product / service design

  • Different backgrounds, cultures, ages, gender and experiences impact positively in innovative new product development and adaptations for different markets especially niche ones


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Resources

  • Again the human and physical resources available and useable by an organisation are increased with a wide variety of staff from different backgrounds, different experiences and skills.

  • They also are able to help source resources from and for alternative markets


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