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The benefits of having a diverse workforce

Diversity is more than just a buzz-word. In today's workplace, it can hold the key to fostering new ways of thinking, reaching out to a wider range of customers and growing your business.

Our workforce and working patterns are changing. Our working population is getting older, and increasing numbers of women and people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds are entering the workforce. Valuing diversity is becoming increasingly important for businesses.

Publisher Malcolm Forbes once said that 'diversity is the art of thinking independently together.' Organisations can't thrive and grow if everyone in them thinks and behaves the same way. Having a diverse workforce with people from different racial, educational and social backgrounds and a diverse age range opens up a wealth of possibilities and helps to encourage creativity and foster innovation.

There's also a clear competitive advantage to be gained from employing a diverse workforce. An organisation with a diverse range of employees is well placed to understand the needs of a wide range of customers, and can interact with a broad client base. Not only that, but it is also in a good position to recruit and retain staff in an increasingly diverse and competitive labour market. Embedding diversity of thought throughout an organisation also means that talent can be properly recognised and nurtured - wherever it may be.

The best starting point for any organisation is to develop a good equality and diversity policy, backed up by a concrete plan of action. Acas experts can visit your organisation to help you understand what needs to be done to address a range of issues related to equality and diversity and then work with you to develop practical solutions. Acas also offers training in managing an age-diverse workforce.

Acas offers training on managing contracts and hours and flexible working.

Visit the Acas training and business solutions area for more information.

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