Diversity and Inclusion

author by Katie Fanning time Dec 20, 2021

Why Diversity Matters 
Not long after joining DOCOsoft in their graduate intake, the company’s marketing team asked if I would be interested in contributing to blog content . As I had recently completed a college assignment on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), I thought, why not? This piece will summarise  my college assignment on how organisations which invest in diversity can create a beneficial impact and inclusion among colleagues to enhance overall performance quality.

Demographic changes in the Labour market have made workplaces more diverse than ever before (Meena & Vanka, 2017). Workplace diversity is the difference and similarity existing among employees in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, and nationalities. Likewise, it also encompasses the differences existing in firm’s departments, divisions and subsidiaries domiciled in different regions or nations (Tamunomiebi & John-Eke, 2020).

Many organisations aspire to be socially diverse, however greater diversity does not necessarily yield better performance. How an organisation can leverage its social differences to improve performance and obtain a competitive advantage remains an open question in the literature (Fulton, 2019). The rationale for this view is grounded in the conceptualisation that workforce diversity has both benefits and challenges.

Greater diversity promotes knowledge sharing capabilities which can lead to positive organisational outcomes. On the other hand, diversity brings categorisation of outcast groups, which may lead to less favourable behaviour towards out-group members and could tarnish a company’s reputation (Scarborough, et al, 2019). Thus, organisations need to create an environment where interactions among diverse individuals are increased and social categorisation is decreased (Meena & Vanka, 2017).

Diversity has multiple advantages;
1) It helps employees to work in synergy,

2) It increases the talent pool,

3) Enables cross fertilisation of information and utilises distinct ideas for greater productivity

4) It improves decision making effectiveness and superior business performance (Tamunomiebi & John-Eke, 2020).

Findings from Fulton (2019) provide evidence that when members of a diverse leadership team engage in their social differences, they can strengthen their organisation’s absorptive capacity. This is the ability to add value, assimilate and apply new concepts. Moreover, when employees participate in bridging cultural activities, they may better understand and appreciate different perspectives in the organisation.

Additionally, they will be more inclined to incorporate the associated ideas to meet their organisation’s business objectives (Fulton, 2019). Managing diversity is creditable as it assists organisations to tap into their creative and cultural competence to improve organization policies, practices, and stakeholders’ experiences (Tamunomiebi & John-Eke, 2020).

CIPD (2021) further extends that an organisation with a diverse workforce can improve its ability to mobilise its resources by encouraging its members to interact in ways that embrace dissimilarities. Some additional benefits include cost reduction, innovation, greater flexibility, improved efficiency, enhanced trust in colleague relationships, and improved employee satisfaction.

Proactive Approach to D&I
DOCOsoft has taken a proactive approach to promote a diverse- environment. This includes challenging employees’ attitudes, behaviours, and practices, starting with top-level management and working downwards. While Verma (2016) explains that the key to implementing a successful D&I strategy is through leadership and management. While our executive management team are accountable for piloting the diversity initiative, everyone at DOCOsoft is responsible for continuously driving the plan.

In accepting this approach, we have integrated D&I into our human resource practices as this will guarantee a strong link between our people-management strategies and our diversity management goals. One of DOCOsoft’s core objectives is to help develop an inclusive/ gender equal landscape within the Lloyd’s insurance market. Our mission is to not only employ qualified members of underrepresented groups, but also support their career development once they are in the organisation. The success of DOCOsoft relies on the talent of its workforce, so it is crucial to recognise, value, and reward all members of staff, irrespective of social differences. Therefore, implementing a transparent performance management system leaves no uncertainty among colleagues, acting as a measure to attract and retain individuals.

DOCOsoft recognises that subjective decisions made during the recruitment and selection (R&S) process have the potential to affect the diversity of an applicant pool and can also contribute to organisations experiencing diversity barriers. If R&S is done narrowly, age diversity may be undermined to the extent that job designs fail to target older, more experienced job applicants. Conversely, if the job description places undue emphasis on accrued work experience, younger, capable candidates might dismiss potential opportunities.

DOCOsoft has made valuable improvements by engaging with colleagues to promote both third level college Internships and graduate programmes. Feedback from all students is complimentary about the breadth of experience they are exposed to, the access to training videos - a real aid to learning - and the approachability of their colleagues, which added to the overall experience.

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