A more diverse workforce improves business performance, according to a new study of around 500 companies operating in the UK, the USA and the Continent.
The study, by the London Central Learning and Skills Council and the London Human Resource Group, comprising 16 leading City institutions, claims that diversity has produced a number of business benefits, including:
- higher employee retention
- reduction in recruitment cost
- more satisfied customers
- access to wider customer base
- better supply chain management
- access to new ideas on process and product improvements.
The study found that diversity is being achieved by having a more even balance between gender, ethnicity, disability and age; greater representation of women and ethnic minority groups in senior roles; and an engaging management style.
However, diversity management is a long-term process, with no quick fixes. Two obstacles have been widely experienced:
– ingrained attitudes that make it difficult for senior managers to manage people who are very different from them, and
– the culture of long working hours which makes it difficult for women to aspire to senior positions.
Commenting on the study’s findings, Mark Mansell, head of Employment Law at Allen & Overy, said: “Smart employers should promote diversity by retraining senior managers and introducing specific provisions into employee performance criteria and flexible working policies to ensure that under-represented groups have a clear career progression to senior management positions.”
The study concludes that diversity produces maximum bottom line impact when it is linked with business strategy and has the support of senior executives.
For further information about ‘Harnessing Workforce Diversity to Raise the Bottom Line’, e-mail [email protected].