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Employers without a diversity strategy are losing out

If there could have been a better advertisement for diversity this year than the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, then it's hard to think what it might be. By the time the Games had finished, few could have argued that the triumph of the human spirit could be circumscribed by age, race, sex, religious belief or disability.

The value of diversity is gaining currency in the workplace too, for a number of reasons. The organisation with the most diversity-friendly policies will be able to choose the best talent from the largest pool. Its workforce will be able to draw and fuse ideas from the broadest sweep of backgrounds, encouraging the greatest collaboration and new opportunities for innovation and creativity. If an organisation can attract diverse staff, it can also attract diverse customers. With the one, the wants and needs of the other can be better understood.

Employers are increasingly seeing that diversity can have an impact on the bottom line. In a recent survey carried out by HR Magazine, 82 per cent of employers said that diversity and equality were either core to their business, a top priority or important to them. More than half (57 per cent) had a diversity strategy in place and among the rest, a fifth undertook regular diversity monitoring. Almost one in ten plan to introduce a strategy soon.

It's a good basis, but the survey also revealed that almost one in five employers thought it wasn't a business imperative or had no plans to put a strategy in place. And some areas of diversity are particularly neglected. Some 37 per cent of employers are doing nothing to address ethnic origin, 46 per cent are doing nothing about sexual orientation and 70 per cent are doing nothing about diversity of nationality.

Acas can visit organisations and help them develop a comprehensive diversity strategy and give advice about what needs to be done to address a range of related issues; go to Equality and diversity: how Acas can help. Acas also runs practical training courses on a host of topics associated with Equality, diversity and the Equality Act 2010.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions area for more information.

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