Diversity and inclusion are extremely important in business, perhaps now more than ever. Not only does diversity improve the innovation and scope of your business, it also increases employee satisfaction, making your business more attractive to potential candidates. Besides, having a diverse workforce is simply the right way to do things.

The finance sector has had a problem with lack of representation in the past, but that is changing rapidly. It's essential that your business keep up, making sure that the industry as a whole remains appealing to the next generation of professionals. Typically, the larger, regulated firms have led the charge on diversity in financial services. They've done this for many years, working toward inclusion goals. They've changed their approach to hiring and have revisited their values, which is having a positive impact on their work culture.

So what is the difference between diversity and inclusion? Diversity is a balance of individuals from particular demographics, backgrounds, and cultures. Inclusivity, however, is reflective of how that diversity is embraced throughout the organization. A truly inclusive culture must be established from the top, filtered down, and embraced by everyone within the business.

Understand the Business Needs

The best way for an organization to improve their diversity and inclusivity is to gain an understanding of the business by assessing how diverse and inclusive it already is (or isn't). Identify areas that could use improvement. Set organizational goals that align with, and support, the company's core values. Devise a clear strategy to achieve those goals. And, makes sure the leadership team embraces the changes you're proposing.

Implement Your Strategy

Once a clear organizational vision is decided, the next step is implementation. Introduce training across the business, encourage employee sharing, and set up a mentorship program. It is essential that the finance department understands the firm’s vision and that everyone is trained to be aware of their own unconscious biases. This is key in the recruitment process and new-starter onboarding.

Measure and Monitor Business Diversity

Once the organization is working toward a more inclusive culture, the next step is to measure and monitor diversity and employee engagement effectively. The measurements can vary from business to business, however, balance of gender, race, and the LGBTQI+ community in your workforce are key metrics to observe.

Acknowledge Success

When cultural improvements are made, the last step is to celebrate. Share your achievements within and outside your organization, and make your current employees proud. But don't just acknowledge the good. Be aware that there is still room to grow, and that society needs to keep moving in the right direction.

Promote a Clear Inclusion Program

Finance professionals need to ensure their departments are on board with the vision and strategy set by the firm. It is important for managers to cement the diversity and inclusion strategy of the business, ensuring they are moving in a positive direction.

PwC's Female Millennial Report states that 85% of respondents revealed that "an employer’s policy on diversity, equality and workforce inclusion, was important when deciding whether or not to work for that employer." In addition to the fact that diverse and inclusive workplace strategies are morally and ethically right, having a strong inclusion program can also increase revenue and profit. This is because working cultures that take into consideration and embrace all backgrounds have been proven to build a more efficient and happier workforce.

Finance leaders need to really believe in diversity and inclusion and the benefits that it will bring to the workforce. Ensure the right language is used in your workspace and create an environment that is welcoming and comfortable to all. The key is a commitment from senior leaders through a set inclusion program and continued monitoring of the percentage change. As you begin to build an increasingly diverse workforce, supported by an inclusive culture, your business should in turn experience an increase in the retention of staff and improved productivity.

If you would like to discuss how we can help with your recruitment processes, please reach out to one of our expert recruiters today.

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