How To Build A Diverse Culture As You Grow Your Business

How To Build A Diverse Culture As You Grow Your Business

9th January 2023, 1:51 pm

As you increase your team, you will come across people with different beliefs, behaviours and values from yours. By genuinely embracing these differences, you will drastically increase your productivity and output, staff wellbeing and retention, and have a more diverse thought input. Here are the Black United Representation Network (BURN)’s top tips for being inclusive from your first hire.

1. Why diversity in the workplace benefits business

A diverse workplace vastly improves an SMEs productivity by bringing a range of views to the table. This is particularly important when key decisions about strategy are being made. Research shows that a diverse and inclusive business vastly increases output which has a positive effect on the bottom line. Having a diverse culture from the beginning means that your business journey is off to a great start and future obstacles are more easily overcome.

2. Why having a diverse workplace improves the employee experience

By feeling part of a culturally inclusive environment, and not an outsider, your team will feel part of the process, environment, culture and team. By feeling all of these, your team is naturally happier in the workplace, and more productive. A staff member who feels listened to, and included, feels more loyalty to the company as it grows; as their opinion effects change they are more likely to stay with the company and perform to a higher level.

3. How can you create a diverse workplace?

○ Spread your recruitment net wider than your local network; be innovative and find new ways and places to recruit from. Using the same recruitment platforms generates the same applicants. Diverse staff come from diverse sources.

○ Make an effort to remove identifying details, such as names and protected characteristics, when shortlisting candidates. Despite everyone’s collected efforts around Unconscious Bias training, applicants from ethnically diverse backgrounds are still being negatively affected at the application stage (see this Guardian article).

○ Don’t rely on alcohol, or after work activity, as a prop/guide to social experiences. Take your team out for lunches, or if you can’t take the time out of the office, plan after hours activities in advance and look at alternatives to “the pub”; cinema, axe throwing, crazy golf – not only is the alcohol consumption limited, the shared experiences help bond your team.

○ Allow flexible working, especially around days of religious significance (including regular working days). As companies look to become a more diverse, there will be a wider religious and cultural impact on the workplace; look at work spaces that offer private spaces for prayer and reflection; if a day of the week is a regular religious observation, then work with your staff member to fix this into their work schedule without compromising their pay.

○ Have an uncomfortable conversation; take the time to learn how you pronounce someone’s name, and don’t ask for a short version of it, check in on how they identify (gender, ethnicity and sexuality); the best way to navigate the minefield of language is to ask for a map. Then spend some time considering how your behaviours (positive and negative) affect the team you’re leading.

○ Consider a cultural audit; if you’re struggling to build, or retain, a diverse team there might be something in the company’s culture that you can’t see. If you’re committed to diversity within the workplace, and can see the importance and value in your workplace, then you’ll need to explore what barriers and pushers exist in your organisation, and then follow the actions and recommendations that are advised.

4. What does BURN offer SMEs?

Here at BURN we offer a range of programmes and services which focus on upskilling and networking. We provide training and consultation to help SMEs not only increase workplace diversity, but also access corporate and public sector supply chains.

We also offer bespoke recruitment services which help SMEs tap into the region’s pool of diverse talent.

For businesses looking to grow and diversify their business, we facilitate Advisory Boards; offering you a free board of advisors made up of a range of industry professionals offering support and guidance to take your business to the next stage.

We act as facilitators between SMEs and large corporates who have a shared aim of doing business whilst increasing a diverse ecosystem.

5. What does BURN offer your employees?

We offer tailored upskilling training programmes which help employees thrive in the workplace.

BURN helps to create future diverse leaders, through initiatives such as our Executive Development Programmes and our Board Apprentice Scheme.

We help new and potential employees get ready for the world of work, and aid the progression of diverse candidates into new, inclusive working environments.

6. Where do I start?

Get in touch for a consultation. Our team will be happy to have a chat about your needs and build a partnership that works for your business and your team.

Email me at [email protected] to start your journey to a naturally diverse and inclusive culture as you grow your business.

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