Diversity: Forcing the issue is the only way to embrace it

I was on the judging panel recently for a diversity award, and it became clear from the tone and detail of the entries that organisations fell into two camps: those for which diversity was mere window dressing, and those that regarded diversity as part of the fabric of their business.

You could just tell that the latter really meant it, and that they had a strong appreciation of the benefits of a diverse workforce.

But getting more organisations to think like this could take several generations, according to the Equalities Review report, which last week set out a 10-point plan for making the UK a fairer, more equal place to work. This list includes carrying out a wholesale review of what is hampering progress and making a business case for addressing the issue.

Typically, it is the outdated attitudes and old- fashioned cultures – the “entrenched inequalities” referred to in the – that keep firms stuck in the past.

If we don’t want our granddaughters to earn less than their male counterparts, then diversity has to mean more than smugly ticking a few boxes to keep company directors out of court.

But until the impact of not having a diverse workforce hits a company in the pocket, diversity risks remaining just a ‘nice to have’.

Change can be rewarding

At Personnel Today, we’re doing our bit to champion diversity by introducing our own award especially to reward your efforts in promoting and delivering diversity in the workplace – one of five new categories in the Personnel Today Awards 2007. The others are reward and recognition, employee engagement, HR measurement, and excellence in business partnering.

Full details of how to enter the awards appear in this week’s issue, but if you need more information you’ll be able find it online, or e-mail any enquiries to linda.kimberley@rbi.co.uk. Good luck with your entries.


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