Diversity and inclusion is about creating an environment in which everyone can flourish and make the best use of their skills, in which diversity is celebrated and valued, in which everyone is free from bullying, harassment or discrimination and in which no one feels that they must conceal aspects of their identity for fear of being stigmatised.
The case for equality and diversity has been well made. Where these things are valued, encouraged and recognized, reputation is likely to be enhanced, recruitment and retention of talented people improved and productivity increased. Internal and external benefits also arise from the contribution which people able to bring a variety of perspectives to their work make to creativity, problem solving and the quality of decision making.
Let’s not forget either that equality and diversity are coming to have a broader meaning than that which might first spring to mind. For example, we are becoming increasingly aware of neurodiversity and the steps that can be taken to encourage neurodiverse job applicants and support them in reaching their full potential in the workplace.
Some 10% of the population are neurodivergent (have a thinking style and a brain that functions in ways that diverge from what most of us think of as normal). To be considered truly inclusive employers need to recognise what they may be missing out on if they aren’t promoting diversity of thought. Too often negative and medicalised language dominates our discussion of differences in brain function and behavioural traits. We talk for example about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) without see the insightfulness, creativity and problem solving strengths that ADHDers can bring to the workplace.
I can advise on a diversity and inclusion audit as a first step towards improving diversity and inclusion.