Employers missing the mark on Diversity

Employers are failing to understand the genuine business benefits of diversity, with ‘old school’ attitudes still outweighing genuine understanding of the issues. That’s the verdict of a study from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) which suggests many businesses are missing out on the benefits that good practice could deliver. The report - Diversity in Business – claims that many employers focus on legal requirements without understanding the broader benefits of issues such as creativity and innovation.
The report uses a Diversity sophistication index based on the responses from the survey, which shows that only 7% of companies in the private sector achieve the top scores. Legal pressures are cited as the main driver of Diversity but less than 50% of respondents felt that diversity was the most important factor in improving innovation or creativity. More worryingly, fewer than half of those questioned believe their top team encourage diversity, despite identifying senior management buy-in as crucial in improving equality.
Carolyn Lee, Diversity manager at law firm Herbert Smith, thinks the business case is becoming overwhelming and that more and more employers are starting to realise it. “Diversity is now a vital issue in so many areas including recruitment, retention and productivity. “Top-level support is essential in demonstrating a commitment to diversity and to get buy-in across the whole organisation. However, this needs to be about culture change and life on the shopfloor must also reflect what’s happening.”