Trudi Beswick is the Chief Executive of national children’s charity, Caudwell Children, and the Diversity & Inclusion Ambassador of our Greater Birmingham branch. She believes businesses often miss the point when it comes to employing a diverse workforce.
“Diversity has been a hot topic for business for some time and it is widely accepted that we should all have a robust diversity and inclusion policy to ensure there is no direct or indirect discrimination based on ethnicity, sex, age, religion or disability.
However, businesses that only adopt diversity and inclusion as a way to avoid discrimination are missing out on the competitive advantage that attracting a truly diverse workforce can offer. Having the widest possible combination of thinking patterns, problem solving, perception and creative influence is what makes great companies even better.
In modern society it is inevitable that whatever product or service you are offering will be aimed at a diverse customer base, and it is only by incorporating these same influences within the decision-making process that businesses will be effective in connecting with their target audiences.
As well as a shift in organisational culture and attitude, I think we need to the broaden our understanding of diversity even further. In particular, 15% of the UK population are neurodivergent, meaning that the brain functions, learns and processes information differently. Neurodivergence includes Attention Deficit Disorders, Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.
These hidden disabilities, along with the wider spectrum of neurological conditions including Epilepsy, Dementia and Parkinson’s, are widely ignored within accessibility regulations or guidance and therefore missed when it comes to creating a diverse workforce.
Ensuring your workforce represents diversity, inclusion and equity is not just the right thing for business to do; it is the best thing business can do.