Experts warn diversity must be about long-term culture change

Employers hoping to improve diversity of their workforce must look to change the long-term culture of their organisation, rather than just recruit staff that demographically reflect their customer base, experts have advised.

A study of 3.5 million workers worldwide, by research company Sirota Survey Intelligence, has revealed that simply concentrating on diversity issues, such as age, sex and ethnicity, equality and discrimination will only have short-term, albeit positive, benefits.

Sirota found that organisations that set up long-term plans to change their culture and working environment reap far more benefits, both in terms of people performance and financially, through higher stock prices, than those which seek immediate answers.

Nick Starritt, Europe managing director, Sirota Survey Intelligence, said: “Although compliance with the relevant diversity laws is obviously a ‘must’ for every organisation, it’s important to realise that what people want from their work is essentially the same the world over.

“Our data shows overwhelmingly that if employers create an inclusive environment – where everyone feels respected and performance expectations are the same, irrespective of skin colour, gender or ethnicity – then it’s more likely that enthusiasm at work will be high.”

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