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Why Equality and Diversity Should Be SME Priorities

We are at the beginning of a new year and, for many, the beginning of a new fiscal year. This is therefore an excellent opportunity for small business leaders to pause and reflect on how they are progressing in their efforts to create a better and more inclusive work environment for their employees. There is a strong business case for diversity that small businesses simply can not ignore.

Companies that embrace equality at work can benefit from real and tangible financial gains. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that gender parity could add $ 12 trillion to the global economy, and suggests that companies with gender diversity have a 15% chance of outperforming their peers financially. Similarly, ethnically diverse businesses are 35% more likely to do the same.

It is clear that leaders who give priority to a more diverse and inclusive workforce increase the efficiency of their businesses, employee satisfaction and overall success. In fact, a recent Salesforce report, "The Impact of Equality and Values-Based Enterprises," reveals that employees who think their voice is heard at work are almost five times more likely to feel able to perform their best job. and employees who say their company offers equal opportunity are almost four times (3.8 times) more likely to say that they are proud to work for their company.

So, how can today's small business leaders foster a culture of equality? Here are some ways to start:

Recruit talent from all walks of life

In business, as with anything else, you do not know what you do not know. Companies with a workforce where everyone thinks and looks the same are limited to the narrow experiences shared by their employees, be it from the point of view of culture, gender or skills.

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The integration of diverse voices can help your business better understand customers, develop new ways of thinking and innovating, and increase the likelihood that bad ideas will be challenged sooner. Adding diversity means everything, including creations in technical discussions (and vice versa) to expand your talent base.

A good way to start is to prioritize diversity and make inclusive hiring mandatory. Look for candidates who may want to, but still do not have the necessary skills, and find other ways to bring new ideas into your environment. It's not just about ticking a box. It's about ensuring that your employees, from all walks of life, are included in the discussions and feel that they've won a seat at the table.

Diversity and inclusivity distinguish firms, knowing that over one-third of the working-age population will belong to a visible minority group and that almost half of Canadians could be immigrants or children Here 2036, the moment to put this combination into practice is now.

Make sure everyone's voice is heard

We have all heard stories about the brand new trainee who is content with an excellent solution to a problem or a silent employee who changes the course of a company with an innovative idea, but these scenarios simply will not happen if the meetings are conducted in such a way that people feel that their voice or point of view will not be heard.

Some organizations approach these situations by making the meeting etiquette part of the clearly defined workplace culture statements. Such statements could, for example, include clear language on the possibility of giving everyone the opportunity to participate and contribute to meetings – without interruption. Or they could ban the use of laptops or other electronic devices in meetings that would otherwise distract the attention of employees from all of their attention on their colleagues while they are on the go. ;they talk.

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Everyone should have the right to add value to meetings; Nobody should feel invisible. If employees feel respected, they can contribute to the mission of the company.

Understanding the impact of unconscious bias

Bias is created based on our education, personal relationships and experiences. Often, they are subtle or hidden. But they can always come to the fore and influence our interactions with employees.

Business leaders who commit to creating a culture of equality must look for ways to reduce the effects of unconscious bias, and the best way to do this is to raise awareness and awareness. # 39; educate. Start with yourself and give the example.

It is also important to look for ways to reduce unconscious bias at work. Consider creating educational videos, webcasts or podcasts to educate the public about the issue and train employees on how to identify and understand the impact of unconscious bias. Online learning tools like Trailhead, for example, offer free and interactive learning pathways that can train participants on the business value of having a diverse and diverse workforce. inclusive.

To succeed today, equality and diversity must be a priority for every small business owner. The good news is that it's never too early to think about how to create a diverse and inclusive workplace.

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