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Employee diversity, coupled with an inclusive working environment, is key to making diversity work for your business. A Diversity Strategy should look at this area in some detail. Employee diversity can bring many benefits to a business, such as:
Offering flexible working, such as part-time hours or working from home, can have considerable business benefits. For example, how much money could you save in office rental costs if more of your employees worked from home? Studies have shown that home working can improve efficiency by up to 30%.15
Creative solutions can enable you to provide a more even and flexible service to your customers. For example, Muslim and Christian employees may like to take holidays at different times, and employees with caring responsibilities may not be able to work late but might be able to start earlier.
Your company can source new talent by targeting recruitment of groups which you may have previously overlooked. By opening up your recruitment to the working-age population over 45, BAME people and disabled people, your company gains access to 1.3 million more employees qualified to at least degree level.16 Opening recruitment up to new people gives your business a greater chance of finding the best person for the job.
Companies with a uniform customer base that want to expand into new, diverse markets can gain useful market intelligence from employees from diverse backgrounds. Specialist information can help attract customers from these new areas.
It’s important that your organisation’s culture maximises respectful interrelations between employees from different backgrounds. Creating a workplace culture that respects differences and values diversity improves team working and employee retention, both of which have real impact on bottom-line performance. For example, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development estimates that the average cost of recruiting a new employee is £4,625.17
Businesses that embrace equality and diversity become employers of choice. Business in the Community conducted research that showed that 90% of people want to work for a diverse employer.18
Employee diversity – getting started
You can’t do everything at once. In order to change, you will have to plan over a period of time. But here are some simple ideas.
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