For many people, celebrating this week means taking time to talk with each other about why Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is important to them on a personal level, and sharing ideas and experiences with colleagues. Making time for a morning tea to talk, or creating shared videos are all ideas that the DCA promotes as great ways to get involved.
On the other hand, if you believe there is more to be done to promote D&I in your own workplace, here are some compelling reasons why it’s important from a business perspective.
Diversity Council Australia’s Inclusion@Work Index
The 2021/22 Inclusion@Work Index shows the incredible impact that inclusion can have on people and culture, showing that workers in inclusive teams are:
- 4 times less likely to leave their job in the next 12 months
- 10 times more likely to be very satisfied
- 4 times less likely to feel work has a negative or very negative impact on their mental health.
- 5 times less likely to experience discrimination and/or harassment
- 11 times more likely to be highly effective than those in non-inclusive teams
- 10 times more likely to be innovative
- 6 times more likely to provide excellent customer service
- 4 times more likely to work extra hard
Why Diversity and Inclusion is important in the Retail Sector
The retail sector is a vital component of the global economy, serving as a bridge between producers and consumers. In Australia, the retail sector represents a $420 billion sector that employs more than 1.4 million Australians and is the largest private sector employer in the country.
Diversity in the retail sector encompasses differences in race, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, and more. Inclusion, on the other hand, relates to the practice of creating a work environment where every individual feels respected and valued, regardless of their background. The importance of D&I in the retail sector can be viewed from several perspectives:1. Customer Base: Retailers serve a diverse customer base, and a diverse workforce can better understand and cater to the needs of various consumer segments. 2. Innovation: Diverse teams are more likely to generate creative solutions, leading to innovation in product development and customer service. 3. Employee Engagement: Inclusive workplaces foster higher employee engagement, job satisfaction, and loyalty, which can reduce turnover and improve overall productivity. 4. Legal and Ethical Considerations: Complying with anti-discrimination laws and promoting ethical business practices is essential for a retail company’s reputation and financial stability.
Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion in Retail
The retail industry receives several benefits from promoting diversity and inclusion: 1. Enhanced Customer Experience: A diverse workforce can better relate to and serve a multicultural customer base, leading to improved customer satisfaction. 2. Increased Creativity: Diverse teams offer fresh perspectives and ideas, resulting in innovative products and marketing strategies. 3. Talent Attraction: Inclusive workplaces attract top talent from various backgrounds, ensuring a skilled and motivated workforce. 4. Brand Reputation: Companies that champion D&I are seen as socially responsible and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Challenges in Implementing Diversity and Inclusion
While D&I offers numerous advantages, it comes with challenges, including resistance to change, unconscious bias, and the need for effective leadership and training programs. As retailers, we must overcome these hurdles to build a more inclusive workforce.
Strategies for Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Retail
To embrace diversity and foster inclusion in the retail sector, organizations can implement the following strategies: 1. Leadership Commitment: Senior leaders must champion D&I efforts to ensure they are integrated into the company’s culture and practices. 2. Recruitment and Retention: Employ diverse hiring practices, such as blind resume reviews and diverse interview panels, to attract and retain a multicultural workforce. 3. Training and Education: Conduct D&I training programs for employees to raise awareness of unconscious bias and encourage inclusive behaviour. 4. Employee Resource Groups: Establish support networks for underrepresented groups within the organization, allowing them to connect, share experiences, and influence positive change. 5. Measurement and Accountability: Track progress through D&I metrics, holding leaders accountable for their efforts and results. Diversity and inclusion are essential elements of a thriving retail sector. By embracing D&I, retailers can improve customer experiences, foster innovation, and create a more engaged and loyal workforce. While challenges exist, the benefits far outweigh them, making the pursuit of diversity and inclusion in the retail industry a crucial endeavour for the future.
To find out more about the ARA’s commitment to strengthening diverse and inclusive workplaces visit our Sustainability and Social Impact Resource Centre.