Supporting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policies in Your Workplace

by | 20 Oct 2022

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Diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI for short, is a policy introduced by workplaces to enhance employment opportunities and reduce discrimination. The business case for diversity has been around since the 1960’s and the benefits are tangible. So in many ways, it’s surprising that some 60 years on and we are still grappling with the policies of inclusion.

DEI is rooted in the concept that everyone has something of value to contribute; therefore, we must address barriers within the workplace that may enable unfair conditions for underrepresented groups.
As such, DEI policies have been designed to establish a clear-cut, zero-tolerance approach to racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, ageism or prejudice against particular lifestyles, politics, religions or beliefs. Not only does this create a safe and more enjoyable workplace, but it is critical to finding and retaining the right staff.
Yet, while many of the larger fund managers and institutional clients we work with have these DEI policies in place, we are finding that smaller businesses are still recruiting without keeping the value of diversity, equity and inclusion in mind. For others, DEI remains a buzz phrase.

We live in a world full of talented and qualified people from all walks of life, which is why fostering an environment of open and fair competition is so important. This gives everyone an equal opportunity for a role and increases the likelihood of finding the perfect person for the job, even if they may differ from what you initially envisioned.

But DEI initiatives go beyond benefits such as increased job satisfaction, better feeling of belonging, higher levels of engagement and better staff retention. Research from Catalyst found that companies that exhibit gender and ethnic diversity are, respectively, 15% and 35% more likely to outperform less diverse competitors. The same study also found that organisations with solid DEI policies saw more sales, higher profits and more customers. Ultimately, having a greater representation of diverse people within your workforce fosters higher degrees of engagement, productivity, and innovation that contribute to increased revenue.

However, DEI seeks to encourage more than just physical diversity. There is also a focus on cognitive diversity – different means of processing knowledge and varying perspectives. Just as we should accommodate employees with physical or sensory disabilities, it is vital to recognise potential and create equal opportunities for neurodivergent applicants and employees, such as those who may be experiencing ADHD, Dyslexia, Anxiety or a mental illness or impairment.

With diversity, equity and inclusion high on job-seekers priority lists, it pays to be an employer that prioritises DEI policies, particularly with the current skill shortages.
Diversity Council Australia CEO Lisa Annese adds that “organisations are increasingly recognising that if they wish to experience the benefits of diversity, they need to cultivate not just a diverse workforce, but importantly, also an inclusive one.”

The DCA’s Suncorp-sponsored Inclusion@Work Index 2017-2018 report found that nearly 75% of employees only want to work for a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion issues.

Suncorp CEO and managing director Michael Cameron noted that DEI also facilitated better business performance, explaining that “businesses perform at their best when leaders provide an environment where people feel included, connected and valued.”

The benefits of a DEI policy include:
• Promoting a shared experience
• Providing broader perspectives
• Nurturing a more positive workplace
• Understanding customers better
• Adding integrity to the team
• Mirroring the market
• Generating fresh insights
• Gaining global appeal
• Encouraging innovation
• Experiencing better retention
• Increasing productivity
• Improving morale
• Getting a competitive edge

As recruitment specialists, we work hand in hand with clients to ensure that we support DEI policies while providing candidates with opportunities that allow them to flourish without fear of discrimination.
From large institutions to boutique businesses, implementing well-structured DEI policies is crucial in attracting and retaining staff, improving business outcomes, and creating a safe and enjoyable environment. As such, be sure to consider this when looking for your next hire or take the time to address how you may be able to improve DEI within your workplace currently.

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