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Beyond good intentions: how to strengthen diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Beyond good intentions: how to strengthen diversity and inclusion in the workplace
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Business Reporter: ‘Beyond good intentions: how to strengthen diversity and inclusion in the workplace’

Diversifying.io is a Business Reporter client.

Companies with the highest proportion of ethnic and cultural diversity are 33 per cent more likely to outperform their competitors.

The business case for diversity is stronger than ever – not to mention the moral and social responsibility, whether that’s in terms of gender, ethnicity, culture, disability, age or any other characteristic that might set you apart. You might think this is old news by now, but while lip service has been paid in abundance to the importance of diversity, the stark reality is that progress remains sluggish.

‘It’s hard to find your voice when you are the only person that looks like you in a room,’ Cynthia Davis, co-founder of diversifying.io, reflects on the early days of her career. ‘I was Black and a woman in a world that favoured those from a particular background, with a particular voice and a particular look that did not align with mine.’

A CIPD survey from before the pandemic found that just 14 per cent of employers put diversity and inclusion in their top three HR priorities, falling to a mere five per cent one month into lockdown. While diversity and inclusion are undoubtedly a lot higher up the priority list now and progress is indeed being made, there is still a lot to be done. There is a fear that a ‘business as normal’ approach is creeping back into companies that still have a considerable amount of work to do.

We’ve seen some massive corporations speaking out over the past year and a half, decrying systemic racism in the UK, but if you take a closer look at their team, particularly at senior leadership and board level, the representation isn’t there – 37 per cent of FTSE 100 companies have no ethnic diversity at the highest level.

How do we quicken this pace? How do we move from good intentions to impactful change? Research indicates that there is no shortage of goodwill in this area. Generally, people want to do better. It is the strategy, the know-how and the budget that is often missing, which can lead employers to fall into the trap of a ‘tick-box’ exercise.

Cynthia has faced these issues from the outside – beginning her career as all-too-often the only woman of colour in the room – and from the inside, progressing within the recruitment industry before making the leap to starting her own company. Diversifying.io is a female and minority-owned career platform on a mission to challenge traditional and biased hiring processes. They urge companies to stop looking at diversity and inclusion in silos and consider the issue more holistically, from recruitment to progression to retention. It’s a complex issue that requires lots of ongoing solutions.

Diversifying.io is a job board with a difference, allowing employers to showcase their jobs to a diverse community and taking steps to attract job seekers from all backgrounds. Unlike other recruitment platforms, diversity and inclusion are interwoven into everything Diversifying.io does. Equality is their driving force, and this is what sets them apart from other career platforms.

To date, Diversifying.io has advertised more than 10,000 positions for over 800 companies, and they have attracted more than 200,000 job seekers to the site in the past year. The platform excludes no one and is open to all career levels and industry sectors, working with organisations from Sky and eBay to Shelter and Mind. By advertising on Diversifying.io, organisations are choosing to make a change. They’re choosing to prioritise representation, commit to inclusion and demonstrate what steps they have already taken to support underrepresented communities through their initiatives, culture and strategies.

‘Advertising on Diversifying.io is a case of actions speaking louder than words,’ Cynthia continues. ‘By teaming up with us, employers demonstrate that they are genuinely committed to building an inclusive work culture and that they understand the benefits that come from allowing people to be their authentic selves at work.’

Visit diversifying.io to get in touch and access more diverse talent

Originally published on Business Reporter