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Who benefits from a commitment to diversity and inclusion?

Highlighting the Professional and Personal benefits to diversity and inclusion.
Who benefits from a commitment to diversity and inclusion? written on white title card, in front of a crane on a construction site.

What do we mean by ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’?

There are different interpretations of these words – but as a broad approach we work with the following definitions:

Diversity: Recognising and positively valuing the differences between people Inclusion: Creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and valued and can fully participate.

In many parts of the world ‘diversity’ is simply a reality. What’s perhaps more significant is a commitment to act to embed ‘inclusion’ – which can be seen as a positive act to improve fairness, accessibility, and wellbeing in the workplace.

So who benefits from a commitment to diversity & inclusion in the workplace?

It’s a question that’s often asked and it’s a valid one as we consider spending valued resources such as time, thinking about this issue. Having considered the research on this issue on a global level – the clear answer is that everyone benefits in both personally and professionally. Here’s why …

1) Professional benefits:

Employers with inclusive practices and more diverse and representative workforces are seen to have enhanced creativity as they have a better understanding of diverse customer needs. And they have better decision making as they are better at avoiding the pitfalls of negative and limited ‘group-think’ with different perspectives brought to discussions in meetings.

They have higher rates of customer satisfaction, that is boosted because employees are more committed as they are valued for their contributions rather than judged on their personal characteristics. This employee satisfaction also increases productivity as research has shown that such staff are 30% more likely to give discretionary effort. This also leads to lower staff turn-over reducing recruitment costs and disruption to business. So it’s a ‘virtuous circle’ leading to happier customers and staff.

Embedding inclusive practices will also, over time, provide more diverse industry role models in senior levels and more representative management generally, further boosting the reputation of the company as a positive, progressive employer giving it an edge in diverse and international markets. Inclusive employers will be better placed to respond to changes in the market that will require agile thinking and to take opportunities to grow. They are also less likely to fall foul of local equality legislation with the associated costly financial and reputational risks.

So there are many potential benefits to companies with a commitment to embedding inclusive practices.

2) Personal benefits:

However, the benefits are not limited to the company performance and can also be seen on an individual level.

For example, enhanced staff satisfaction can often lead to improved inter-employee relations as colleagues feel valued and respected for their work. This can, in turn, result in better team working, professionalism and productivity in a positive working environment that has improved wellbeing for all. Such companies are more likely to succeed and provide good opportunities for career development for individual employees – regardless of their personal profiles.

And the benefits can extend to our personal lives as our family members and friends who also will all welcome better employment and career opportunities, better satisfaction at work, improved physical and mental health due to reduced stress and ultimately happier lives.

Finally, we must also consider the positive impact on the individuals and communities that make use of the buildings and infrastructure that we produce. They are more likely to be happier with their environments if the companies involved in planning and developing them have given due consideration to their diverse needs.

So to conclude, we can see that everyone really does benefit from a commitment to diversity and inclusion in the construction industry.

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Diversity and Inclusion in the Built Environment

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