Promoting and supporting diversity in the workplace is crucial and shows that every employee is valued within the organisation. It is important to have a diverse workforce and one that recruits and retains people with the necessary skills and talent needed for their individual role. It’s important to create open and inclusive workplace cultures in which everyone feels valued, respects colleagues, and where all contribution is recognised. Flexible working is also an important component of diversity strategy and part of attracting and retaining a wide pool of talented people.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created numerous challenges to businesses, including making difficult workforce decisions regarding redundancies, furloughing and return to work. Employers should ensure their decisions meet their legal obligations and do not discriminate. It is now common place to conduct interviews and even inductions and training virtually, employers need to be flexible and understanding as everyone has been affected by this pandemic in one way or another. For some, increasing care responsibilities have meant disruption during interviews, or the need to rearrange meetings at times. This is why reasonable adjustments may be necessary, such as flexibility around when hours are worked.
Ultimately, employers need to have confidence and feel capable to manage employees in different ways, such as managing remote teams, and this needs to be done in a way that embraces differences and promotes a strong sense of inclusion and belonging in the workplace, while also supporting employee wellbeing.