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Why we need to embrace diversity and inclusion during periods of organisational change

diversity and inclusion during periods of organisational change

Conversations surrounding diversity and inclusion have never been more commonplace, and organisations large and small are investing more into ensuring their workplaces are increasingly diverse and equitable. 

Yet as the macro business environment becomes more uncertain, some organisations have moved a focus on diversity into the ‘nice to have’ category, especially whilst senior leaders were firefighting all the problems that COVID-19 brought about. 

But diversity and inclusion at work are no longer just ‘nice to haves’. They are cornerstone components that help to build a successful organisation – especially during periods of rapid change. And the research backs us up on that point too! 

Employees are happier working within a diverse workforce

Increasing inclusivity at work won’t be the only reason why staff morale is improving, but research has shown how inclusive cultures have happier and healthier workers.

And happy staff are 20% more productive – a huge upswing in potential output that will support business objectives and profitability. 

This is key during periods of change as we often ask more of staff, to learn a new way of working, a new procedure, or to upskill on a new piece of software. Happier staff will be more likely to engage in the process and put in the extra yards necessary to proactively get up to speed. 

More ideas and knowledge sharing

Research from Harvard Business Review shone a bright light on how more diversity within teams leads to more creativity and innovation – critical for long-term business success. 

This is especially important during periods of change, or whilst implementing new initiatives, as tapping into a wider range of knowledge, experience and expertise can help to mitigate against errors and increase the chance of project success. 

A more attractive employer

Periods of change can lead to employees becoming disgruntled and assessing whether or not they want to stick with your company. 

An increased focus on diversity can support against this. First, because staff at companies with high levels of diversity and inclusion are 20% more likely to stick around according to data from Gartner. 

And second, because it makes working for your company more attractive in the first place – critical to both hire fresh talent, and also replace any incumbent staff. In fact, two in three candidates will consider a company’s diversity before applying. 

Better buy-in and engagement 

Gaining buy-in to any change initiative is critical for its ultimate success and rapid adoption, whilst wider employee engagement is key to staff wanting to get positively involved in the project in the first place. 

Employees within a more diverse and inclusive workforce are more engaged, and also feel a greater sense of wellbeing and support. 

Engagement is critical during times of change as it naturally sees greater buy-in and input from staff. Engaged workers want the companies they work for to succeed, and they’ll do what they can to support the visions and goals of that company. 

Higher revenues

The one all business leaders care about most. Companies with more diversity – including at leadership levels – are far more likely to outcompete rivals in their markets. 

Data show that organisations with ethnically diverse leadership are 33% more likely to outperform competitors and enjoy sector-leading profitability as a result. 

Companies that are performing better financially are more resilient to change, and furthermore have more capital to invest in new schemes and initiatives to further improve margins. 

An investment in diversity at work, therefore, represents a repeating loop of positive outcomes – better profitability, more capital to invest, continued improvements to the bottom line. 

Build a diverse team of future change leaders with CML

Promoting diversity and creating a culture of inclusivity are important factors to organisational success, and a positive working culture with diversity considerations at its core have a wide range of benefits – alongside simply being the right thing to do. 

And organisations that fully embrace change, including at leadership levels, perform even better – especially during periods of change or economic hardship. 

At CML, we help businesses just like yours to develop internal change leadership networks, derived from a diverse range of ethnic voices, to build stronger at-work communities and improve organisational reputation. 

By creating a CML Network, not only will you be demonstrating an active commitment to diversity and inclusion, but you will also be improving the participation and progression of employees from ethnic backgrounds. 

Learn more and start the journey for your organisation here

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