At Elevare we are passionate about the benefits of building a workplace where everyone feels they can belong, learn and thrive.
We know from research that having a diverse and understanding workplace is linked to increased productivity, creativity, profits, employee engagement and retention rates, and, ultimately, a broader set of skills to pull from within the organisation. What’s not to like!
So what do we mean by diversity and inclusion?
In essence, diversity is about anything that makes a person unique. That can include race and sex, but it can also include education, parental status, or learning style. (Merriam-Webster)
Inclusion on the other hand is about creating space where everyone can bring their whole-self to work and be successful in spite of, and because of, the things that make them unique.
Our journey to a more diverse workforce at Elevare
Keen to get our approach right we sought out some expert advice to come up with an effective plan.
Our plan included four simple steps:
- Step 1: Assess your current state
- Step 2: Develop a strategy to address identified gaps
- Step 3: Execute the strategy
- Step 4: Measure and reassess
Assessing our current state
Back in 2010 we identified a real need to diversify our workforce.
With a workforce almost 95% male and a narrow pool of people from different ethnicities we were not particularly diverse.
A fairly average retention rate at 65% demonstrated real scope for improvement.
Developing and executing a strategy to address identified gaps
Having identified lots of room for improvement we took action. Striving for a more diverse and inclusive organisation had to be a business priority.
As an organisation we actively looked to give people more opportunities to succeed including dedicated development placements for those who had been out of work for some time with a disability or illness, for example, or who had no previous experience in the area.
For example, one candidate was previously a taxi driver, who had suffered a stroke but was since actively looking to get back to work. The programme ensured the necessary supports were put in place to support more diverse candidates to have the chance to succeed.
Educating the whole team to understand their role and making real efforts to foster an inclusive environment was also key.
Measuring our results
Our dedicated strategy has definitely moved us into a better position. From 2019, we now have over 31% female participation in the workplace moving from 5% in 2010.
We also now have a much more diverse group of employees from a multitude of backgrounds. Positively we moved from an employee retention rate of 65% to 93% over this 9 year period.
Improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace is about including difference and it’s not simply the right thing to do, it’s the right thing for any business.
It’s about seeing the value that people bring to work and that it is really important to treat everyone how they need to be treated, not how you think should be treated.
An interesting recent article in the Irish Times questions whether workplace diversity and inclusion have become casualties of coronavirus.
We are still passionate about the benefits of building a workplace where everyone feels they belong, learn and thrive. There is always more we can do, in striving for a more diverse and inclusive organisation which is why we now continuously measure and reassess our progress.
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