People make a difference not policies

A good diversity policy has nothing to do with the traditional view of
‘equal opportunities’, according to the chief executive of tourist bus
operator, The Original Tour.

Keith Spicer, who is diversity champion at the Arriva-owned company, told an
audience of HR directors at a conference by market research company, ORC
International, that the Original Tour’s diversity policy is about "good
people, not tokenism".

"It is the antithesis of equal opportunities," he said. "I
don’t want to hear about numbers, it’s opinions that matter. Our [Muslim] staff
know that rotas will be changed to support them during Ramadan. We treat them
differently based on their circumstances, not meeting equal opportunities

As well as ensuring employees are happy, a good diversity policy makes
commercial sense, Spicer said. He quoted UK workforce demographics, which
suggest that, by 2010, ethnic minorities will make up 25-50 per cent of the
workforce in metropolitan areas, and that 80 per cent of growth will be women.

"If we want to fish in the largest resource pool, we need to make
changes," he said.

However, some developments designed to encourage diversity have gone too
far, Spicer said.

"Sometimes I think the legislators lose the plot on diversity," he
said. "We are going to be asked not to discriminate by being given
information on sexual orientation and so forth. But when I didn’t know, I
couldn’t discriminate."

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