Magazine article Management Today

Crash Course in ... Diversity in the Workforce

Magazine article Management Today

Crash Course in ... Diversity in the Workforce

Article excerpt

You've always prided yourselves on being an Equal Opportunities organisation, but a visitor points out that your people look remarkably similar to each other. Are you discriminating against some groups without even knowing it? And could you be missing a trick? How do you achieve a truly diverse workforce?

Comply or else. The need to comply with legislation is far from the only reason to take diversity seriously, but it's a good one. 'Last year, the legal cost of discrimination to British business was pounds 320 million,' says Aaron Reid of Birmingham Professional DiverCity. 'The burden of proof has also changed; the employer now has to prove that they didn't discriminate, not the other way round.'

Think opportunity. 'Diversity is about innovation and creativity,' says Dianah Worman, policy adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. 'If you bring many different perspectives to a problem, you end up with more creative solutions.' Adds Steve Williams, director of diversity at Acas: 'You want the best person for the job, full stop. So you want to recruit them from the widest possible pool. If you don't embrace diversity, you risk losing out.'

Make your own business case. Look at how diversity could benefit your business directly. It could help you reach markets that aren't buying your products or services. 'Diversity shouldn't be about political correctness, it's about marketing and recognising changing demographics,' says Reid. Getting accreditation is also increasingly a requirement for procurement contracts. …

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