Failing to embrace diversity costs businesses twice over

Apr 05 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

The cost of losing a tribunal case because your business has failed to embrace diversity is nothing compared to the business benefits it will lose, an employers’ body has warned.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has suggested that ignoring diversity can undermine business performance as well as being potentially hugely costly in terms of damaged reputation and compensation payments.

It has launched a free guide for employers, entitled Managing Diversity: people make the difference at work - but everyone is different, designed to show firms how diversity can play an essential part in tackling skills shortages.

Research by Lloyds TSB published last week showed skills shortages were at a 12-year high, making it even more important that businesses did not overlook important sections of the population when it came to hiring and retaining staff.

Effective diversity management is a key part of this process, argued the CIPD.

Handled badly, it warned, diversity can cause tensions between people and have a negative impact on the business, resulting in poor performance and lack of motivation.

Dianah Worman, CIPD Diversity Adviser, said: “Diversity is about valuing everyone as an individual.

“Managing diversity is central to good people management and it is relevant to the way organisations do business in all sorts of ways. The challenge is to create a culture in which everyone feels valued so they give their best in their jobs.”

The CIPD’s own research has suggested more than half of UK organisations are facing recruitment difficulties.

Organisations that did not therefore embrace diversity risked losing out in the continuing war for talent, Worman argued.

”In today’s competitive markets organisations cannot afford to ignore possible sources of competitive advantage.

“Employers must seek to understand diversity fully and how it relates to business performance in order to raise their game and compete successfully. Sticking to basic legal requirements won’t be enough,” she warned.