As diversity and inclusion consultants, we know organisations with diverse boards, senior management and leadership teams perform on average 43% better in sales revenue and profits compared to non-diverse businesses.
What you may not know is that almost all of these successful organisations employ an external diversity and inclusion consultant, or company to guide them through the process of improving D&I, as well as supporting them to help imbed it within their company culture.
1. Why Successful Organisations use a Diversity & Inclusion Consultant
It’s easier for an external consultant or company to give an outside, unbiased, pragmatic and practical assessment of how an organisation can improve workplace diversity and inclusion. Engaging with a diversity and inclusion consultant means your organisation relinquishes the ability to avoid shortfalls and gaps in areas of diversity and inclusivity which many tend to gloss over.
57% of employees want to see their company increase diversity. It’s no surprise organisations who lack diversity and inclusion see higher levels of staff turnover, incur hiring and recruitment costs, legal fees and expenses and reputational damage. All of which can cost organisations millions in lost revenue each year.
Although employees in entry level roles, junior positions and board level directors encourage greater diversity, it is often met with resistance from middle level and senior managers within organisations who commonly state:
- “We think we are quite diverse as an organisation.”
- “We’ve done some Diversity & Inclusion training.”
- “There’s nothing wrong here.”
- “Its political correctness gone mad.”
This communication breakdown (or break in the chain) means any action that is happening at a board or director level within an organisation does not get filtered down to employees who work “on the ground”. Similarly, concerns voiced by employees on the ground, and those in junior or entry level roles don’t feel they are listened to or heard by boards and directors, as their messages are not appropriately understood or communicated to middle level and senior managers.
A diversity consultant helps you spot opportunities to enhance employee and stakeholder engagement, communication, diversity, inclusivity and growth. This results in greater employee proactivity, retention, workplace satisfaction and recognition. All of this filters down through an organisation to key stakeholders such as customers and new potential recruitment hires. It also encourages organisations like yours to recognise and act upon the recommendations provided by a consultant.
2. Numerical Diversity Is a “No”
You or others may have heard individuals and employees make statements such as:
- “We’ve got a good mix of BAME staff in our department.”
- “We have a nice mix of men and women here.”
- “Another person who is white and male (for example) has been treated with discard by an employee, so their behaviour is not discriminatory towards you as a black male.”
- “We have a manager/director/board member who is BAME, so we are ok.”
- “We’re committed to diversity and inclusion.”
These statements are what we, at Mission Diverse refer to as being “numerically diverse”. Numerical diversity highlights an organisations reactionary response to a lack of diversity and inclusion, where it’s only used to justify an employee’s or organisation’s lack of positive action.
It’s also no surprise organisations and employees with this mindset never really move forward with the times and are seen as obsolete and ignorant to the wants and needs of key stakeholders such as clients, consumers and other employees.
Numerical diversity and statements alike, are also used as an excuse by organisations and employees in managerial positions to dismiss unfair and unequal practices and workplace treatment of underrepresented staff. As a result, this deflection towards numerical diversity means employees and organisations miss the issues they face, resulting in a reduction in active engagement in workplace diversity and inclusivity.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are still concerns for most UK businesses and organisations, with many employees still facing discrimination based on their personal and protected characteristics. But unfortunately, employees who experience discrimination are unlikely to report it, out of fear of experiencing further discrimination or poor treatment, not being believed, discredited, or purposeful ignorance on the part of the organisation and internal employees conducting the “investigation”.
Employees have also stated when they have experienced discrimination or racism, they are either ignored, dismissed or gaslit (all common and inappropriate by employers) when reports of discrimination are made.
Little do companies and employees realise, the best way to handle cases is to have a strong and open approach to eradicating discrimination throughout an organisation. They should also openly highlight the steps and actions that need to be taken now and, in the future, to prevent it happening again.
3. Identifying the Impact of Racism & Discrimination
If an employee is experiencing discrimination and/or racism at work, organisations and HR departments must take into consideration the negative impacts it will have on their sense of self, well-being, mental and physical health as well as workplace performance. Workplace discrimination can result in a variety of personal implications for the victim such as:
- Diminished mental health & well-being at work and at home.
- Social isolation.
- Feelings of Inferiority & belittlement.
- Personal & Professional relationship strain.
- Lack of motivation.
- Workplace resentment.
- Reduced, or no job satisfaction.
Therefore the notion that “Diversity & Inclusion training does nothing” is not only detrimental to your employees, it’s also detrimental to your organisation itself. Denial of discrimination on behalf of employers effectively equates to acceptance and agreement of discriminatory and racist behaviour. This is why a firm and obvious stance should be taken from the outset by organisations, as it’s not enough to not be racist or discriminatory. You must adopt a stance of anti-racism and anti-discrimination.
Should workplace discrimination or racism have this impact on an employee’s health and well-being, its likely they’ll leave your organisation and the job role on the grounds of constructive dismissal.
4. Legal & Financial Ramifications of Discrimination & Racism
There are also legal and financial ramifications that your organisation needs to consider in cases of discrimination, racism, and constructive dismissal. For example, employment tribunals, reputational damage, legal expenses, general damages, and punitive damages. This is in addition to your companies costs to recruit, train, and integrate a new person to fill the position.
A prime example of discrimination is The East London Employment Tribunal case. The employment tribunal concluded RBS constructively dismissed an employee on the grounds of disability discrimination. The then-employee was made to feel “worthless” and “unsupported” by her colleagues. As a result of the discrimination she experienced at work because of her disability, the employee was diagnosed with severe depression and psychosis after years of bullying behaviour. The result of this meant, RBS were ordered to pay £4,670,535. The highest amount ever awarded for a disability discrimination claim.
More employees are understanding their rights to work in an environment which is free from discrimination and racism under The Equalities Act 2010 and Employment Rights Act 1996. Therefore, organisations are faced with seeing more employment tribunal cases in order to be held accountable for their actions or lack of action. This is evident in from the statics on companies and organisations in 2018/2019 being ordered by employment tribunals on average as shown below:
|Tribunal Discrimination Case Type||Average employment tribunal award (£GBP)|
|Unfair and Constructive Dismissal||£13,704|
It’s no secret that racism and discrimination is illegal, and workplace discrimination should be rooted out and appropriately sanctioned. Coupled with the long-lasting effects it has on your employee’s well-being, and your organisations reputation. Engaging with a diversity and inclusion consultant can help maximise your growth and support exponentially.
5. Why Diversity & Inclusion Training is so Important
Many people think Foundation level Diversity and Inclusion Training “is just something you need to do” or “a tick box exercise”. However, it has very real, quantifiable and obvious impacts on employees and businesses as detailed above.
In short, people from all walks of life make an organisation function and grow. If people don’t want to work for you through fear of racism, discrimination, harassment and bullying… You don’t have a company; you just have a vessel with a high employee turnover rate.
6. Stop Viewing Employees as “Human Resources”, Treat Them as “Key Stakeholders”.
In order to extract the most out of your employees, you need to understand:
- What makes your employees happy?
- What makes them want to come to work?
- What makes them unhappy, annoyed, or angry?
- How are they feeling?
- What needs to be improved?
- What more can the company do to help?
7. How to Start Becoming a More Diverse and Inclusive Organisation
If you’re looking for support to develop a more diverse and inclusive workplace, view our diversity and inclusion consultancy services and our training support here.
Click here to see how our Diversity consultants and training looks at a top-down approach to guiding organisations in thinking more critically, acting and demonstrating diversity, equity, belonging and inclusivity. We guide and develop organisations to see employees as people and stakeholders, not human resources.
Our Diversity and Inclusion support and training cuts out the noise and helps organisations, like yours, get to the root cause of the problem.
To learn more about what Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training really is, click here.