In a world where the need for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is constantly discussed, we ask what it means. Does DEI matter or improve the lot for small businesses?

Diversity in a setting covers employing workers who bring diverse cultures, experiences and backgrounds to the setting. Equity ensures that programs and processes are fair and impartial and provide equal outcomes for everyone. Inclusion ensures all people feel supported by the organisation as their natural selves. From this description, it is clear that small businesses can benefit from ensuring they have and accept a diverse range of individuals for the roles within their company.

It can be a challenge with fewer employees than larger businesses. However, the SME can undoubtedly benefit from the experiences that a wider demographic can bring. 

Benefits of DEI strategies in small businesses

Benefits of DEI in the US have been found to include:

  • Diverse teams offer more significant troubleshooting and decision-making ability than homogenous groups.
  • Non-diverse teams underperform racially diverse groups by as much as 35%.
  • Mixed gender teams with equal male and female views have been found to bring in over 40% more revenue.

In some regions achieving diversity with few employees may be challenging, but there is more to diversity than gender or race. The delineators of diversity include race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, ability, upbringing and more and a far less clear than a simple yes or no.

Businesses should think of diversity far more loosely than black and white in all areas of our being. It can be possible to achieve diversity by using consultants and subcontractors to bring in extra dimensions more readily.

Is your business benefitting? Ask yourself these questions.

  1. Do all genders have the same chance to advance?
  2. Do you employ neurodiverse, LGBTQ+, or physically disabled individuals?
  3. Do you favour employees with similar political bias, work history, background or religions, or are you and your existing employees open and accepting of variety?

Conclusion

With many employees citing workplace diversity as highly important when considering employment opportunities, it is clear that many candidates from all backgrounds want and expect diverse working environments. Many small businesses have already achieved diversity, including seeing the benefits of hiring a neurodiverse workforce and accessing the professional and personal networks inclusivity brings to decision making, generating future business and offering different insights. You will be left behind if you fail to move forward.

First, you must become inclusive to go on to attain a diverse workplace. Identify and remove as many possible biases. Once you have inclusive practices in place from the ground up, you will see improved hiring processes. Plus, better opportunities for existing employees. 

When it comes to achieving diversity, there is no instant fix. It should be a natural process through the right strategies and attitudes. It should encompass looking at your workforce, your choice of suppliers and the customers you work with. Allowing and embracing differences within your business operations can take time, especially for small businesses with a low staff turnover. It can present challenges as it requires time, consistency and dedication. Becoming an empathetic leader is a crucial skill for managing the diversity of a successful team.