inclusion and diversity

There has undoubtedly been a ramp-up in diversity and inclusion conversations. In business, we would argue that these conversations have become even more important – and rightly so.

Research from McKinsey shows that the more diverse a workplace, the better the results and the happier the employees are. Diversity and inclusion are intertwined but not the same. Having a diverse team is essential, but inclusion is the glue that ensures a culture and a set of values that drive cohesiveness.

Data supports diverse workplaces

McKinsey’s 2019 report shows that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams are likelier to have above-average profitability than those in the fourth quartile. In 2020, Glassdoor Diversity Hiring Survey revealed that 67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity an important factor when seeking job opportunities. These stats grow each year, exacerbated by the recent pandemic crisis. For instance, women make up 39% of global employment but account for over 54% of the job losses during the crisis.

Yet, diversity is only one piece of the puzzle. Without inclusion, your workplace lacks a sense of belonging, it doesn’t foster equity, and your employees don’t thrive.

Embracing diversity

There’s a tendency to focus on race or gender when considering diversity and inclusion. But we must also consider age, religion, culture, ethnicity, nationality, disability, education, sexual orientation and identity – every element that makes us who we are. At WES, we work to ensure that every team member feels safe to be themselves. Our employees must feel comfortable and confident in bringing their best selves into the workplace. Diversity is what happens when we are safe to be who we are.

The more diverse a team is, the more likely employers and employees will reap the benefits.

With diversity comes:

  • More creativity and innovation
  • Finding and retaining the best talent
  • New perspectives, better ideas and solutions
  • Quicker problem-solving and decision making
  • Improved productivity
  • Satisfied customers
  • Increased revenue
  • Happier employees

We’ve shared some of our views on diverse, supportive workplaces, e.g. autism-friendly working environments and workplaces that value mental health. But businesses can do much more to embrace diversity in their teams. The key to success is creating inclusive environments that support diversity. It’s not enough to only recruit the “right people” to your team. You must ensure the support mechanisms are in place for your people to thrive. We are exploring how we can do more at WES, and we’d like to share some ways to create an inclusive workplace.

Inclusion in action

Communicate and engage

Don’t assume you have all the answers. Talk to your team, as a group and one-to-one, to ensure everyone:

  • Has an opportunity to join the conversation
  • Can offer suggestions and feedback
  • Feels comfortable sharing their own needs for a supportive working environment.

Build a network

Develop a network of support groups such as LGBTQ+, race equality, women’s development, parents and carers, disability, menopause and mental health. Appoint Diversity Champions, who employees can contact and gain support. Provide a safe space for conversations and raise issues with senior managers.

Educate and train your team

Research training courses for your team and especially your senior managers. Diversity training could include topics focused on eradicating unconscious bias, racism, and gender bias. Managers may receive more in-depth training and behavioural insights.

Develop resources

Create an online bank of frameworks, action plans and toolkits that support your team in making positive changes. Allow employees to give and receive feedback, learn, educate others and find any other helpful information they may need. Ensure that you also have policies to create and sustain a safe and inclusive environment. Embed diversity and inclusion policies into your recruitment and onboarding processes.

Although diversity and inclusion should come together, they must be considered separately. Recruiting and developing a diverse team is the first step. But an inclusive working environment determines your employees’ productivity and engagement, as well as your company’s success.


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