CIPD report highlights need for broader approach to diversity

Women At Work


Diversity initiatives have most impact when they are not limited to an HR initiative, according to a new report by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development.

The report, Diversity and inclusion at work: facing up to the business case, also highlights the need for a more holistic view of diversity due to overlapping identity issues and says HR needs “to be mindful that a focus on one group, for example, women, may not benefit everyone within that group” because other characteristics will affect the opportunities people are given at work.

It adds that the case for diversity should be a holistic one, taking into account the benefits of diversity for organisations, including enhanced employer brand, contribution to society and corporate reputation, and the benefits for individuals at work. It says diversity approaches need to bear in mind the specific context of an organisation, for instance, if an industry is male-dominated.

It calls on policymakers to increase funding on health and well being initiatives, raise awareness about inclusion through a one-stop shop for employers on information, guidance and advice, promote genuine flexibility in the workplace and extend gender pay gap reporting to other groups.

Business leaders should focus on a holistic life cycle approach to inclusion, says the report. That includes different approaches for attracting a diverse potential candidate base, such as highlighting inclusion and diversity during the hiring process, raising awareness of bias in use of language in recruitment, encouraging collaborative planning to aid return to work for those who have had a career break, monitoring recruitment for diversity and promoting flexible cultures.

The report concludes on the need to widen support for diversity from just a bottom line issue rather than an issue about fairness: “We need to challenge the traditional notion of the ‘business case’ for diversity that focuses only on business, rather than human, outcomes; there should not need to be a bottom-line business case in order to treat individuals with dignity and respect at work. Business leaders and people professionals have the opportunity to champion the case for diversity, moving from narrow outcomes such as financial returns, and highlight the numerous benefits that diversity and inclusion can bring – not least that it is simply the right thing to do.”

Meanwhile, the BBC has committed to having at least two of its senior management team coming from a black, Asian or other minority ethnic (BAME) background by 2020 in order to increase diversity at the corporation. The report also commits to at least 15 per cent of the corporation’s leadership being from a BAME background by 2020. It says it will introduce a policy that ensures shortlists for all jobs at Band E (editor/manager level) and above include at least one BAME person by the end of summer 2018; significantly increase BAME representation across interview panels; ensure all development and leadership programmes have significant BAME representation; incorporate diversity and inclusion targets and BAME career progression  into senior leadership team objectives and progression reviews; and ensure all team managers undergo cultural awareness training.

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