Pride month: Why diversity and inclusion at work matters

BlogBusiness EvolutionHR Advice Posted: Sunday 10th June 2018 by

Every June, the world celebrates diversity and inclusion with Pride month. Pride month takes a positive stand against discrimination and ill-treatment of those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ). And, it raises awareness of diversity and inclusion in all walks of society.

The history of Pride dates back to the Stonewall uprising of 1969 when members of the LGBT community clashed with police outside of the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan. This event, and the riots that followed have since been identified as the birth of the international gay rights movement.

Society as a whole has come a long way since the ’50s and ’60s, and, for the most part, many workplaces are supportive of LGBTQ employees. However, as with all other forms of discrimination, including racism and sexism, there is still a very long way to go to ensure that — as a modern and progressive society — we stamp out discrimination against LGBTQ colleagues, once and for all.

The end of discrimination at work starts with the development of strong internal HR policies that focus on diversity and inclusion. An inclusive and diverse workplace matters, not only for the employees of the company but for the companies long-term success and longevity.

What does diversity and inclusion at work look like?

Strong policies are a fantastic start, but diversity and inclusion at work shouldn’t just be another box-ticking exercise in the HR handbook. In it’s purest form, diversity and inclusion in the workplace should be that no-one feels left out, discriminated against, passed over for promotion, or singled-out because of their sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, beliefs, or their marital or parental status.

In October 2010, the equality act came into play in the UK as a way to protect people from discrimination in the workplace, and in broader society. And, as an employer, it is your legal responsibility to uphold this act and ensure that everyone is treated equally and afforded the same opportunities.

Why is diversity and inclusion at work important?

As well as the apparent benefits of a healthier, more productive workplace, a diverse and inclusive workforce offers deep and broad benefits across the entire business.

You will gain a better understanding of your customers: it’s likely that your customers are from every walk of life, with large cross-sections from minority and underrepresented groups. For example, the charity, Scope, estimates that there are around 13.9 million disabled people in the UK alone, with a spending power of families with at least one disabled person is estimated by the Government to be over £200 billion a year. A diverse and inclusive workforce could support your business to tap into markets represented by your customer base.

Employees will feel like they belong: a sense of belonging and feeling included is not just a critical component of improving workforce performance, it’s woven into the fabric of human nature. The LinkedIn report on global recruitment trends for 2018, states: diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance, and belonging is dancing like no one’s watching. Belonging is the feeling of psychological safety that allows employees to be their best selves at work. Even at the most diverse of companies, employees will disengage and leave if they don’t feel accepted. 

Diversity and inclusion strengthen culture: the same report from LinkedIn found that diversity is directly aligned with a company’s culture and financial performance. In fact, 78% of companies prioritise diversity to improve culture and 62% do so to boost financial performance.

Image source: LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends, 2018

HR policies provide excellent guidance on a range of rights and responsibilities across the entire employee population. However, diversity and inclusion in the workplace should move beyond a legal policy obligation. Firms that want to remain competitive in a rapidly changing world should continue to focus on adapting their recruitment processes to attract talent from a truly diverse candidate pool.

Human Results work with your team and existing HR strategy to provide practical advice and guidance on HR policy development, completely tailored to the needs of your organisation.

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