Thanks to recent coverage in the global press, diversity and inclusion in the workplace has become an even greater priority for businesses.
As the UK population becomes more diverse, the businesses that embrace diversity and inclusion are more likely to be able to relate to their clients and target sectors, therefore improving their chances of winning new customers.
A truly diverse business is a firm where there is a balance of gender, age, race, religion, ability and sexual preference.
An inclusive business is one which gives all of these people an equal voice and equal access to opportunities across the firm.
The benefits to a business are well documented. A more diverse and inclusive workplace will lead to a wider variety of ideas and perspectives, more engagement among employees and can generate more innovative ideas. All of this is good for productivity.
So what can small and medium sized businesses do in order to build a more diverse team? One of the first steps a business can take is to make an effort to remove potential barriers in the recruitment and selection process. This will increase the available talent-pool for a particular role and allow the firm to select the best person for the job, regardless of their background.
The next step you can take is to ensure that your existing staff receive some diversity and inclusion training. This will ensure that if / when your team members encounter diversity or inclusion related issues, they are better equipped to deal with those issues in the right way.
The objective for this type of training should be to ensure that your team is aware that people from all walks of life can bring something to the table.
Finally, you and your management team should lead from the front. Policies and procedures should be reviewed and updated and the business should be managed in a way that encourages inclusion.