It’s no secret that the world of work is changing. Workplace culture before the COVID-19 pandemic now seems almost unimaginably predictable and staid. Many of us are now carrying out our jobs remotely or in so-called hybrid situations and employee expectations have transformed. Increasing numbers of workers are self-selecting out of the workforce, despite escalating economic challenges. In fact, in the second quarter of 2022, approximately 442,000 job-to-job resignations took place in the United Kingdom, the highest number of resignations taking place in a single quarter during this period.
The reasons for this trend are complex and varied. But a significant contributor is people seeking to leave toxic work cultures and offices where diversity and inclusion are not promoted or even taken seriously.
So far, so doom and gloom. But, as every procurement and supply chain leader knows, where there are challenges there is opportunity. This is the perfect chance for growing businesses to attract this talented but disenfranchised workforce and gain a competitive advantage. Let’s look at some reasons why diversity is important when scaling your business.
Diversity sparks innovation
Growing your brand means expanding your customer base and diversifying the scope of your business so it makes sense to bring a wider range of voices to the table. If your decision-makers operate in a vacuum or if staff from all levels aren’t connected with what is going on in the outside world you are very unlikely to make the strategic and tactical choices necessary to build a sustainable business. It might feel easier to work with like-minded people but this approach won’t get you far in the long run. Progressive, forward-thinking business is about challenging the status quo, seeking out innovation, collaborating with divergent thinkers and being outside your comfort zone.
The insights a diverse workforce can bring should not be underestimated. If you only hire people in one age group, how will you know how to attract customers in that demographic? If you want to expand your supply chain to a new territory, how will you get the right insider knowledge if your employees all come from the same area and have the same background?
Diversity is good for employee retention
When employees feel valued for their individuality they will doubtless be happier at work and more likely to stay in their roles. Anyone who has worked in an office knows that this kind of positivity is infectious. A diverse workplace culture is one where people can express themselves freely, where difference is celebrated, creativity is encouraged and employees ultimately become more invested in the business and feel a stronger sense of loyalty.
When your business is growing it is vital to have people on board that are passionate about making it a success and who are committed and focused. Promoting diversity is one of the most effective ways to make this happen.
Diversity is great for brand reputation
It isn’t just candidates and employees that want to align themselves with diverse businesses. Customers, suppliers and investors do too. More and more investors are seeking transparency from companies on their commitment and results in D&I and consumers are calling out companies that don’t walk the walk when it comes to their commitment to diversity.
If you want to grow your business then you need to be able to demonstrate you’re working towards - and achieving - meaningful D&I goals. Investors know that diverse businesses outperform those that don’t have broad representation. Consumers have lost trust and confidence in companies that are owned and run by a narrow section of society. Diverse teams should be the norm. It is what customers and investors are demanding and it is what procurement and supply chain businesses must deliver.
As you can see there are a number of very persuasive arguments for promoting diversity and inclusion when scaling your business. One of the most important things to consider when building your D&I program is the need to start as soon as possible. Diverse candidates are actively seeking out employers who have a diverse workforce. They want to see themselves represented and in no way feel that they are a ‘token’ diversity hire. The earlier you make meaningful efforts to create a diverse workforce the easier it will be to continue to attract candidates from a variety of backgrounds. You could even consider recruiting a diversity officer as your business grows.
All these things play an important part in creating an inclusive workforce that is welcoming to everyone. If you want to discuss your diversity challenges or find out how the team at Bramwith can help you build the diverse workforce you need to scale your business, get in touch. We would love to help.
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