Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace is not just a moral imperative. It is a commercial imperative too, writes I. Stephanie Boyce, Deputy Vice President of The Law Society.

As a business, having good diversity and inclusion policies can provide enormous commercial benefits and there are so many other reasons to strengthen your diversity and inclusion policies. It allows you access to a wider pool of talent. A business’ biggest asset is its staff, so attracting, retaining and progressing the very best talent is essential.

By being an employer, a business who can attract a diverse range of applicants through its reputation for equality and fairness, you are more likely to be able to attract the highest calibre of candidates from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of talents, perspectives, styles and approaches - importantly avoiding ‘group think’.

Points to consider when looking at increasing diversity

Often I hear ‘we want to recruit diverse talent, but we are not sure where to look’. My response is to look at how and where you advertise. Do you target your advertising through specific publications targeted at specific groups? If not, why not?

Consider advertising through publications aimed at specific groups, such as Pink Jobs, The Voice, Asian Times and Disability News Service, etc. There are also a number of platforms where those who are truly committed to reaching out to diverse candidates can advertise their roles.

Think about the language you choose to use in advertisements to enable those from a diverse background to respond to opportunities as they arise, so they too enjoy equality of access. Use gender-neutral language. Consider using accessibility software to help those with a disability to apply.

Committing to change

Diversity and inclusion is important in any organisation. Organisations must be genuinely committed to creating change and truly embracing the diversity of those they are seeking to recruit, by actively and positively encouraging those from a diverse background, regardless of their race, gender, age, sexuality or disability to apply.

It is disappointing that the most senior positions remain underrepresented by those from a diverse background and are instead still filled with those who meet a particular demographic; thus overlooking some of the best talent that our society has to offer. We must as far as possible push for change by making a serious attempt to transform the way we recruit and retain those from a diverse background.

There needs to be greater representation of those from diverse communities in order to inspire others from a diverse background to aspire for - and reach - the top. Every organisation must seek to ensure that they promote diversity and inclusion at every level, to embrace a more diverse workforce, to see diversity as a strength. To ensure that true equality of opportunity exists for everyone and not just the few.

Further reading

BCS Diversity Report 2020