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Why Diversity and Inclusion is Important for your SME

11 May 2021
In recent years the news seems to be flooded with stories relating to inequalities in gender, race, disability, etc. Just recently the issue of the gender pay gap has reached a crescendo. With consistent media attention towards equality, diversity and inclusion, it’s certainly a good time to address this within your organisation.

Diversity and inclusion within the work place does not have to simply come from a place of benevolence but it can be used to gain a competitive advantage over your business rivals in several ways, a few of which we’ve explained below.

Innovation:

When an organisation is made up of different people from different backgrounds, the opportunity for new innovative and creative ideas can flourish. Every person working within an organisation brings with them a set of their own beliefs and views. It is in the organisation’s interest to have as many different perspectives as possible to enable innovation and creation of ideas and products that they could not have envisioned without them.

Understanding your Customers:

Understanding your market is one of the cornerstones of any worthwhile business plan. Having a diverse organisation enables it to be far more in tune with its customers’ needs by having voices within the organisation that have had the same experiences and beliefs as their target market. For example, in 2019 there were  14.1 million disabled people in Britain and the total spending power of families with at least 1 disabled person is estimated at £274 billion a year (Scope) However in 2020 there were only 4.4 million disabled people employed (Scope). It stands to reason that by employing a workforce that is more diverse, they will be better able to meet the needs and requirements of their audience, which will result in a product or service more suitable to their needs.

Employer Branding:

Being seen as an attractive place to work and attracting the right talent to your organisation is vital to ensure ongoing development and growth and by embracing diversity and inclusion, this can be achieved. Being an organisation that champions diversity and inclusion displays to potential employees that you are a dynamic place to work, with a culture that values and supports its people. As well as attracting the best talent, this positive image could help to attract other organisations that see your business as a valuable, ethical partner.

Employee Retention:

An organisation that is seen to be promoting inclusion within its own people practices demonstrates to its employees that they are valued and respected. When people feel like they are being listened to, they are more likely to buy into the ethos of the organisation. When this happens, it brings employee turnover down and pushes up their productivity.

Diversity and inclusion is not simply something that should be promoted because it is the right thing to do. It has real tangible benefits to every organisation that truly believes in it and implements practices that helps to utilise the diversity that everyone can bring. By embracing inclusion, an organisation is able to get the best out of their people, increasing staff retention and productivity. Therefore the question shouldn’t be why diversity and inclusion is important for your SME, but whether or not you can afford to ignore the benefits that diversity and inclusion brings.

Find out about the BS 76005 – Valuing People Through Diversity and Inclusion framework.