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Since March, we have seen COVID-19 disrupt businesses across all industries and sectors. While some have faced unprecedented spikes in demand for their services, others have been forced to suspend operations and face devastating losses to revenue. 

The urgency to adapt to new ways of working, maintain productivity or simply survive has seen commitment to Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) begin to recede. A recent pulse survey from the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) found that 27 per cent of leaders reported that their organisation had put all or most D&I initiatives on hold due to the pandemic. With the 2008 recession negatively impacting black, Asian & minority ethnic (BAME) men in terms of job losses and resulting in a reduction in policies and financial support for working mothers, the findings from the i4cp report are concerning. 

While arguably understandable during such challenging times, removing D&I strategies from the priority list could prove to be a fatal error for many businesses. In fact, in the face of COVID-19, the business case for D&I is stronger than ever. 

In May 2020, Mckinsey released its global report Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters which showed that D&I is a powerful enabler for business performance, stating that companies whose leaders welcome diverse talents and multiple perspectives are likely to emerge from the crisis stronger.

McKinsey’s analysis found that companies in the top quartile of ethnic and cultural diversity outperformed those in the fourth by 36 per cent in terms of profitability in 2019, which is up from 33 per cent in 2017 and 35 per cent in 2014. Additionally, companies in the top quartile of gender diversity on executive teams were 25 per cent more likely to experience above-average profitability than their peers in the fourth quartile in 2019.

Further studies by Harvard University and BIMA found that embracing and maximising the talents of neurodiverse professionals, such as those on the autism spectrum, can bring substantial business benefits, including increased levels of innovation and problem-solving skills. Despite these benefits, a survey of 2,000 autistic adults conducted by the National Autistic Society (NAS) found that just 16 per cent were in full-time work, despite 77 per cent who were unemployed stating that they wanted to work.  

Employees from diverse backgrounds can bring a fresh perspective, meaning enhanced creativity and, in turn, more effective decision-making, according to the Harvard Business Review. All of which are qualities that are in high demand for businesses requiring an agile and forward-thinking workforce to help weather the storm of the pandemic.

Supporting your D&I strategy 

Omni RMS is passionate about helping businesses get started or stay on track of their D&I strategies and initiatives. Alongside our tailored consultancy solutions, we offer a D&I workshop that aims to educate, inspire and empower HR, recruitment leaders and hiring managers to challenge established ways of working that need to be abolished in line with modern strategies. The workshop covers:

  • Changing demographics and the impact on resourcing
  • Legislation, unconscious bias and identifying where discrimination can occur
  • Effective selection  techniques and considerations to minimise bias
  • Ongoing support and learning & development opportunities to retain  diverse people

For more information on how we can help your business, call 0161 929 4343 or email enquiries@omnirms.com