The Business Case for Diversity
The Business Case for diversity in terms of gender balance and ethnicity is now well-established and understood. In contemporary New Zealand it would be unthinkable to deny a person a job because he was Māori, or to deny a woman a role purely on the basis of being female. The same basic arguments of equity and fairness, and of creating a more efficient workplace also apply when sexual orientation and gender identity are considered.
Diversity & Inclusion training is not about political correctness – it’s about appreciating the skills, knowledge and personal attributes of everyone we work with. It’s about being able to connect better with colleagues and customers by understanding things from their point of view and appreciating that difference brings richness, and some challenges for us all.
When an organisation allows its employees to bring the whole of themselves to work they are more efficient, more productive, and more loyal to the organisation. When an organisation allows its staff to fully be themselves it reflects the wider society it is based in and is thus better connected and aware of the full potential of its market. A truly diverse and inclusive environment is directly linked to enhanced performance and strengthened brand reputation.
Benefits of Rainbow Tick
- Attracting Good Employees and Keeping Them
Given the costs associated with employee turnover organisations need to be mindful of how committed and satisfied staff are. Research demonstrates that job satisfaction and commitment are connected to higher levels of profitability, higher levels of staff retention and lower levels of absenteeism.
Understanding and embracing real diversity in the workplace is good for the bottom-line.
The legal situation for members of the Rainbow Community has greatly improved over recent decades, but this does not automatically mean that social attitudes and work practices change at the same time.
Members of the Rainbow Community can easily pass through an organisation without being seen, as an “invisible minority”, and if they decide the environment is not welcoming and affirming they can move on quickly, wasting the investment in time and training. Increasingly we see that Rainbow Community members are not willing to place their skills, enthusiasm and talents in the service of organisations where they are merely tolerated. Organisations need to be pro-active in their work on including these populations.
- Brand Enhancement
Today many view attitudes to sexual orientation and gender identity as important indicators of whether or not an organisation is sincere in its commitment to embracing the whole community and if it deserves their support. While this might be most obvious in younger workers and consumers (Gen Y and above) it is an increasingly pervasive stance across the board and around the globe.
An organisation that is seen to be discriminatory or insensitive in this area can expect fast, negative and costly consequences as recent examples have shown.
Much has been written of the power of “the Pink Dollar” and there is a growing awareness of the economic power of sections of the Rainbow Community. Being seen as an inclusive organisation and having staff who are able to be open about being part of this world allows you to leverage of their knowledge and gain entry into these markets.
It is not only members of the Rainbow Community who take these issues into consideration when considering a product or brand. Evidence shows that more and more consumers in general consider the implications of their purchasing power so the issue of how well companies interact with Rainbow Communities.
- Legal Compliance and Risk Mitigation
While discrimination on the grounds of sexuality and gender identity are illegal in New Zealand, not all employers or staff know how this applies, or what are the penalties for non-compliance. Ensuring that all staff are informed and aware of the need to maintain a professional attitude and standard is a simple act of risk mitigation. “The numbers are irrefutable: the more successful a business is in the United States, the more likely it is to embrace equality.” (Chad Griffin, President, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 2013)