Diversity helps to deliver better business benefits

Four out of five organisations believe there is direct link between
diversity and improved business performance, according to independent research.

The Business of Diversity, which surveyed 140 of the UK’s leading
organisations, shows that successful equality and diversity policies deliver
significant business benefits. These include better recruitment and retention,
improved understanding of markets and communities, enhanced reputation and cost
savings.

Seven out of 10 respondents claimed that the business case was the most
important driver for diversity initiatives.

But the study, funded by the Cabinet Office and Barclays Bank, warned that
sustained leadership commitment is crucial if diversity strategies are to
result in successful cultural change. Policies also have to be integrated in
business strategy.

Organisations felt they needed to set specific equality and diversity
targets, and 68 per cent said they had the means to hold managers accountable
for diversity.

The study shows that private sector companies are rapidly catching up with
the public sector on diversity issues.

Sir Richard Wilson, cabinet secretary and head of the Home Civil Service,
said: "It is no accident that diversity lies at the heart of public
service reform.

"Organisations that get this right get a lot of other things right too,
whether for their employees, their managers, or the people they serve. That our
experience in the public sector appears to be converging with that of the
private sector does not surprise me."

Barclays Group chief executive, Matt Barrett, said: "Achieving
excellence in diversity is one of the marks of a truly world-class company.
Diversity is not a ‘nice to have’ but a significant part of an answer to our
business challenges."

www.cabinet-office.gov.uk

By Quentin Reade

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