Did you know that 78% of large UK businesses pay men more than women? Or that 2.6% of people on UK tech boards belong to ethnic minorities? What about the fact that only 16% of people with Autism are in full time paid work?
It’s clear that even now, inequality and a lack of diversity is still a reality in UK workplaces, and this needs to change.
First of all, there’s four important terms that need to be understood. EQUALITY - this means ensuring that ALL people are given the same access to the same opportunities and rights, regardless of their differences and characteristics. Then there’s EQUITY, which means taking account of people’s DIFFERENCES so everyone is given fair ACCESS to these opportunities and rights. And DIVERSITY - this means EMBRACING everyone's differences and unique qualities, and finally - INCLUSION - which means ensuring that everyone is involved, and no one is left out.
So why are these things important in your workplace?
Well, everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect inside - and outside - of work. It’s a basic human right and it also has huge benefits for your organisation. People who are treated fairly, whose opinions are taken on board, and whose skills are embraced, make a crucial contribution to the success of the team and the business.
Embracing diversity is key. It means questioning any stereotypes or biases we may hold and allowing our opinions to change. It means seeing each person as an individual with a unique mixture of skills, talents and ideas - and understanding how valuable this is. When we truly value variety in our workplace, we open up a world of possibilities.
We start to notice the range of skills, talents, perspectives and approaches that are offered by our diverse team - each with their own background and set of experiences - and the business becomes more innovative, creative and better at problem-solving.
It also helps the organisation to gain a better understanding of the needs and desires of your customers, and it enables the team to tailor and market your products more effectively, especially when members of the team are in the same demographic as your target audience.
It’s crucial for all organisations to respect and appreciate the people who work for them. If you do, it increases staff commitment, improves staff retention, increases the return on training investment, and it creates a supportive culture where everyone can thrive. This healthy environment leads to much more job satisfaction and much greater financial success!