The business case for a robust diversity and inclusion strategy in your organisation

Becky Hughes our consultant managing the role

The past few months – and indeed, years – have demonstrated just how important diversity and inclusion are in modern society. Through the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, a light has been shone on the inequality and injustice that persists, not just in our day to day lives, but also in the workplace.

We can no longer ignore how important diversity and inclusion are to businesses, nor can we expect things to get better without actively working to improve conditions and outcomes for everyone. And while promoting diversity and inclusion is absolutely the right thing to do for employees, there are also business benefits to doing so. 

What is diversity and inclusion?

Diversity and inclusion aren’t just a priority for HR departments – it should be a key business strategy for all organisations. Workplace diversity can be defined as the understanding, acceptance and promotion of differences between people. This includes those of different genders, races, ages, sexual orientations, disabilities and religions, as well as people who have different educational, socioeconomic and experiential backgrounds.

Meanwhile, inclusion is about creating a supportive and respectful work environment that values collaboration and participation of all employees, helping everyone to feel included. Together, diversity and inclusion make companies more welcoming, accessible and harmonious for everyone, not to mention more profitable and competitive.

Why is diversity and inclusion important?

First and foremost, diversity and inclusion are essential to make workplaces better for everyone. Purely from a compassionate perspective, it’s the right thing for employers to create environments where people feel comfortable to be themselves and can succeed without limitation. Commercially, diversity and inclusion have a significant number of benefits.

Firstly, a strong focus on D&I can significantly widen the candidate talent pool , giving you access to more candidates who may be excluded by non-diverse hiring strategies. With 70% of job seekers looking for a company’s commitment to diversity when applying for new roles, it’s clear that you may be missing out on top talent if you neglect to address D&I in your organisation. 

On top of that, diverse organisations have better business results, higher employee satisfaction and are more innovative, according to Business in the Community . McKinsey research shows that executive teams in the top quartile for gender diversity were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than those companies who perform poorly in terms of executive-level gender diversity. This figure jumps to 36% when analysing teams with ethnic diversity. Diverse teams have also been proven to be more innovative, solve problems faster and have more engaged employees. 

Small steps to move the dial on D&I in your organisation

The current emphasis on working from home presents a key opportunity for employers to rethink their D&I hiring strategies, with current conditions potentially opening up more flexible, part-time opportunities for those who may not have otherwise been able to commit to a 9-5 office job. To welcome more working parents and caregivers, disabled people and those with neurodiversity requirements, consider whether vacancies could be flexible, remote working or on part-time hours. Now is the perfect time to rethink your workspace and how it can be made more accessible to more people. 

A dedicated diversity and inclusion policy, taskforce or officer can help to highlight its importance within your business. You could perform a D&I audit, examining the levels of diversity that exist within the company and specifically at the executive level, and set goals to achieve a more balanced, inclusive environment within a certain time period. Have open conversations with your team members about D&I and ask them what would make them – and new team members – feel more welcomed. It’s also important to acknowledge the diversity that already exists in your company, such as by celebrating different cultural and religious events, greeting bilingual employees in their mother tongue or inviting families into work. 

Finally, while diversity and inclusion should be championed at the very highest levels of your business, it’s crucial that every single team member feels safe to contribute to these discussions and voice their opinions and stories. Prepare to tackle some difficult topics and be questioned. While subjects like the gender pay gap, lack of executive-level diversity and opportunities for progression can feel difficult to address, they are important conversations that need to be had in the process of making real change. 

Marks Sattin can help to diversify your talent pool. By partnering with a specialist recruitment agency which has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion , you’ll benefit from having access to more candidates and guidance on how to actively recruit from diverse talent pools. At Marks Sattin, we can help you identify, attract and retain exceptional people across financial services, technology, change management and more.

 Contact us here to have a chat about how we can work together. 

05/08/20
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According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, 99% of respondents admitted wanting to work remotely in the future. While that may have seemed like a distant reality for some, in what felt like an overnight transition, the majority of the workforce went from seeing their colleagues every day to communicating entirely online. Managers too had to adapt to this ‘new’ normal and familiarise themselves with hiring and onboarding remotely. In the first few weeks companies were caught up in the flurry of activity, but as things have started to settle, many employers are beginning to question what impact remote working will have on employee engagement. Most organisations have likely brought their daily stand up meetings into the virtual space but there’s much more that can be done. The following tips will help companies engage their remote employees by creating a positive working culture that not only works during the pandemic, but also in the post-coronavirus world. Create a distinction between home and work Buffer’s State of Remote Work report also shows that 22% of remote workers struggle with switching off from work, making it the top problem these employees face. Employers must help their team maintain good mental health by creating a separation between work and leisure time. Take inspiration from others: Good-Loop has offered each employee £50 to spend on their home office, inspiring them to create a space that helps them to concentrate. Meanwhile, advertising agency Merkle has sent out printable artwork for their employees to bring some life to their virtual background. This is also helpful for managers who want to conduct a video interview for maximum impact. Recognition According to O.C Tanner’s 2020 Global Culture Report, company leaders see an 83% boost in engagement when they recognise their employees. For recognition to be effective, leaders must ensure they celebrate those big achievements whilst also showing appreciation for the small wins. A learning culture Isaac Newton achieved some of his greatest mathematical breakthroughs whilst in quarantine and the modern-day workforce also has the opportunity to unlock their stores of creativity during times of limited social interaction. Virtual classrooms and content co-creation tools like online whiteboards are just two options for boosting workplace learning during Covid-19. Here are some other methods: Initiate a ‘learning from home’ hour Having employees block out a ‘learning from home’ hour in their calendar ensures they have the time to dedicate to improving their industry knowledge. This time can be spent taking a course, reading thought-leadership articles, or learning about anything that helps them feel more engaged in their work. Internal learning sessions Hosting internal learning sessions is a great way to encourage knowledge sharing within and across teams. Employers can either schedule fortnightly meetings where teams present insights from their ‘learning from home’ time or give employees the option to share thought-provoking ideas in the Friday wrap-up session.  Involve external thought leaders Invite external industry experts to bring a fresh perspective into the business, either through a presentation or by collaborating with them on a webinar. Working alongside a thought leader can spark innovative thinking, boost motivation and help employees feel more engaged in their field of work. Use surveys and questionnaires This is a dynamic way for organisations to engage their team because it empowers the employees to generate fresh ideas, mention pain points and state what helps them feel more involved in their work. This method receives bonus points because it saves companies the time of trialling and testing engagement practices that have worked for other organisations and skip right to applying practices that are personally suggested by their team. It’s important to remember that what works for one employee or team may not for the next. Employee engagement organisation, Effectory, began surveying employees since the outbreak of coronavirus to gain insight into the new working pattern and what it means for productivity and wellbeing. The results show that 66% of the workforce are able to do their job effectively from home and though this is a majority it still leaves one in three people struggling with the new working culture. Effectory have created a free Covid-19 Workforce Pulse survey which enables organisations to gain fast feedback on their employees’ engagement levels during the pandemic. 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From e-birthday cards to online quizzes, there’s a lot that organisations can do to create a positive and inclusive virtual office culture. Are you looking for advice that’s relevant and timely? Since our advent in 1988, Marks Sattin have gained the expertise and knowledge that enables us to source the very best talent for businesses at every level, from start-ups to global organisations. Our recruitment consultants are committed to staying on top of trends in their specialist markets meaning they're able to provide our clients with the most relevant advice. Contact us to find out how we can help you recruit the top talent in your industry or register a vacancy now.

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According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, 99% of respondents admitted wanting to work remotely in the future.

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Employees in the United Kingdom can be categorised as full-time, part-time, casual, freelance and contract workers, with the self-employed bracket now making up 15% of the entire working population. The number of self-employed workers jumped from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017, with a corresponding fall in the unemployment rate showing the overall boost in jobs growth from the rise in self-employment. However, the attractive market for freelancers and contractors has been hit with some uncertainty in recent times, thanks largely to the 2018 Autumn Budget’s announcement of IR35 tax reforms. Here’s what the new IR35 rules could mean for you and your business: What is IR35? IR35 is a piece of legislation originally introduced to the UK in 1999. Its purpose is to differentiate between those workers who operate as genuine contractors and those who work as ‘disguised’ employees to avoid paying tax. 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However, if you operate as a legitimate small business and are determined to work outside of IR35, you will not be affected by the rule changes. How will IR35 impact employers? The major change for businesses is that they will now be responsible for determining the IR35 status of any contractor working for the company. The new rules will only apply to medium and large sized businesses, so contractors who work for small businesses can continue to set their own IR35 statuses. Those businesses that the IR35 rule changes do apply to will face paying back taxes and fines should they be found to be noncompliant. What should I do to prepare for IR35? Contractors may wish to speak to an accountant or personal finance expert to determine whether IR35 will impact them and if a move to permanent work may prove to be more beneficial after the rules come into effect. 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References: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44887623 https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/articles/trendsinselfemploymentintheuk/2018-02-07 https://www.contractorcalculator.co.uk/what_is_ir35.aspx https://www.axa.co.uk/business-insurance/business-guardian-angel/how-ir35-changes-will-affect-freelancers-and-self-employed-contractors/ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/ir35-rules/new-contractor-tax/ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/ir35-rules/how-will-new-rules-impact-business/ HMRC consultation document

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2020 has been an unexpected year across the world, and it has been crucial to monitor and deal with all the effects of the Covid pandemic in business and in our personal lives. Amidst this crisis we have also had the uncertainty surrounding Brexit looming over us, which has left many businesses trying to deal with the immediate challenges to society and the economy at large. The effects of both have been felt, and we can see this within the jobs market.   As experts within specialist markets we have been privy to fluctuations within specific industries. Below are some of our observations across the market.Custom and duties tax specialists We have seen an increase in activity and growth across custom and duties tax specialists for large import/export FTSE businesses. Particularly businesses are looking for candidates on an interim basis to make sure effective processes and controls are implemented. This is an evolving space and once we have further clarity we expect demand to increase. In the last 6 months, we’ve seen an increase in recruitment activity from businesses in industries such as food manufacturing and FMCG that have had an increased demand for their products on the back of lockdown. In addition to this, businesses that do a significant amount of importing and exporting see customs and duty as a key area of focus with Brexit looming, and we have advised and recruited for several clients who have required specialist knowledge. This is a niche skill set that can be provided at premium rates by consultancy firms, but there is a recent trend to bring this expertise in house. The cost of doing this would be in the region of £40-50k for a perm hire and c£250 per day for a temp hire - watch this space if you're a candidate within this market.  Audit and riskAudit and risk have also experienced an increase in resource on both the temporary and permanent markets. As organisations seek to learn effectiveness lessons from the crisis they require resource to conduct and undertake Covid specific reviews. In addition, the offering of flexible working arrangements also provides a great opportunity to test network capabilities as well as controls across user access, disaster recovery, business continuity, as well as high level IT controls testing to ensure remote working does not compromise the risk appetite of the business. Start ups Over the past 6-12 months we have also undertaken a number of start up engagements, helping businesses recruit permanent heads of department to develop strategy internally. This is a trend we expect to continue as businesses look to cut spend on consultancy fees and take ownership of these disciplines, ensuring a consistent level of quality and cost efficiency.  To view more of our live roles, visit our job search page.

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