All too often diversity is seen as nothing more than a tick-box exercise, but research shows that it can add real value to business and contribute to the bottom line. So it was really positive to read about the approach organisations like Microsoft UK are taking to ensure diversity is embedded in the employment practices of their suppliers (Personnel Today, 20 March).
Progress in diversity will occur when organisations understand the real value diversity can add to businesses. But many employers continue to take a compliance-only approach to the issue, missing out on business benefits, such as improved creativity, innovation and customer service that arise from a more wholehearted approach to diversity, rooted in the business case. This suggests that there is a real need for more education, guidance and support.
The new Commission for Equality and Human Rights has a role to play in educating organisations about how to manage diversity effectively so that it adds value to business performance.
But as more organisations recognise the business benefits to be reaped by comprehensively embedding diversity in their own employment and operational practices, it becomes more likely that they will want to be reassured that their suppliers are equally well equipped to take the full advantage of the benefits of diversity.
Some organisations may be forced into action by the purchasing policies of their large clients, but the wisest will be ahead of the game, and are already benefiting from diversity in the workplace.
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development