Celebrating different perspectives - Why diversity matters (Webinar)

Celebrating different perspectives - Why diversity matters (Webinar)

On 27th January 2021 Morgan Hunt delivered a webinar on diversity and inclusion titled 'Celebrating different perspectives - Why diversity matters'. We were joined by diversity and inclusion experts Carmen Morris, Amarjit Singh Basi and Hannah Manyewu to outline the benefits of diverse and inclusive workplaces, the challenges facing the implementation of D&I and how these challenges can be overcome. See a summary of the webinar below or watch the full recording at the bottom of this page:

Diversity and inclusion have been at the forefront of many people's and organisation's minds since the events of 2020. The Black Lives Matter movement shone a light on the importance of equality for all people in all areas of life. The need to be treated equally is vital within the workplace, as it's a place where people spend most of their days and lives.

In our webinar, our speakers outlined that there are many benefits to be gained from creating diverse and inclusive workplaces. Fostering these kinds of professional environments helps people feel more comfortable. As a result, they are more engaged in their work and with the people around them. Collaboration improves, as does their productivity and effectiveness. As a whole, job satisfaction increases, barriers that in the past made work difficult are reduced and the performance of all employees is boosted.

It's hard to argue against improving the wellbeing of your employees, but there are many benefits to organisations too. Improved employee effectiveness and productivity improves the overall performance of the business. Many studies have shown there is a strong positive correlation between diversity and inclusion and business success. Beyond this, D&I practices foster strong and supportive cultures that people want to work in. It makes retaining talent and attracting skilled people to your organisation much easier.

But how do you begin improving diversity and inclusion? It has to start with senior leadership and management. Boards must authentically buy into the need to improve and understand the challenges that the least privileged people in their organisations face. This requires leaders and managers in an organisation to speak to the people affected and take the time to hear about their lived experiences, the barriers they face and any areas of improvement they have identified.

But the role of leadership doesn't stop there. Next, they must put what they have learnt to action. Improving diversity and inclusion is about creating a change in culture which must be driven from the top down to be authentic. Representing marginalised groups within management is an important step that ensures all perspectives are heard and considered.

Leaders and management aren't alone though. Setting the culture requires buy in and support from all functions of the business. Management must take ownership of this process and invest in the development of staff at all levels. Through this, employees throughout the organisation will gain the knowledge and understanding to make this change in culture effective and, most importantly, permanent.

In the past year we have seen an increase in the number of diversity and inclusion job roles. The creation of positions with this specific focus signals a promising commitment to improvement, however it is important that these appointments are not just tokenistic. These job roles must be thought out and organisations should at least have some understanding of their areas of improvement or what they want to achieve. Otherwise, businesses risk destroying any credibility they have in wanting to promote diversity and inclusion.

For people in these roles, there are a number of factors that will determine their success. Most importantly you should have a direct line of communication to the board or senior leadership team. If this doesn't exist, it is unlikely your role will have the impact that is needed to create change within the organisation. D&I advocate Hannah Manyewu suggests that your definition of success should be based on achieving results through others. Your aim should be to mobilise internal groups across all functions, build momentum and interest in improving D&I and ultimately hold leadership accountable.

Recruitment is also critical in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces. Hiring people from different backgrounds shows a commitment to improving the diversity of the workforce and brings in new perspectives and ideas which can help an organisation thrive. To practice inclusive recruitment, businesses should understand their employer brand and how it is perceived by potential applicants. Through this you gain insight into how you may have to improve how you communicate your employer value proposition to appeal to a diverse range of applicants. Fair and unbiased recruitment methods such as psychometric testing and blind application reviews are also useful tools to make the hiring process as inclusive as possible.

Since last year we have seen a lot of progress, but it is just the beginning. It is important to acknowledge that change doesn't happen overnight, but organisations must begin taking the steps to create more diverse and inclusive environments. Our speakers Carmen, Amarjit and Hannah hope that in the next year we will continue to see more leadership and executive roles filled by people with diverse characteristics, increased publicly visible commitment to the cause and real accountability to change through evidence and case studies.

Find out how you can improve internal diversity and create inclusive workplaces. Contact Clare Keniry, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Morgan Hunt – [email protected].

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