The importance of equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) in business

Today, I want to talk about Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I) within business, which is still too often underestimated. These principles are vital to fostering a thriving and innovative workplace and go far beyond a simple checkbox exercise.

If you want to shape a dynamic and successful business and its intimately-linked business culture, then this is something we all need to be working on and looking to constantly evolve.

Nicola Saner, Managing Director

Beyond the obvious: Diversity in all its forms

Diversity extends beyond race and gender—it also includes age, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, and more. Creating an inclusive environment that values differences is vital to fostering creativity and innovation. To evolve in today’s fast-paced world of business, companies must embrace diversity to tap into a wealth of varied experiences and perspectives. This comes in many different forms, hence the importance of ED&I.


The business case for inclusion

Inclusion is not just morally right; it is also strategically important. Both diversity and inclusion can propel innovation and productivity. Inclusive workplaces inspire a sense of belonging, encouraging employees to contribute their unique ideas and perspectives. The collaborative strength of diverse teams fuels creativity and leads to more robust decision-making processes and better outcomes.

Creating a motivated workforce

Work consumes a significant portion of our lives, and fostering a workplace where employees can be themselves will drive more motivation which is crucial. Business leaders should strive to create environments where employees not only want to work but are inspired to do so. Motivated teams yield better results and enhance staff retention. However, achieving this requires embracing diversity and ensuring that everyone feels included, valued, and free to bring their whole selves to work.

Inclusive practices: More than a checkbox exercise

Incorporating diversity and inclusion requires a thoughtful approach, going beyond superficial checkboxes (which sadly is still too common). Companies should actively seek to attract individuals from diverse backgrounds and implement supportive measures. This can include facilities like prayer rooms, breastfeeding spaces, and gender-neutral toilets, tailored to accommodate various needs. Recognising and supporting less visible health conditions such as mental health, menopause, and other unique challenges further contribute to a truly inclusive culture.

Empowering voices and driving change

Ultimately, businesses should create safe and welcoming environments where employees feel empowered to speak up. It’s important for employees to know they have a voice capable of making positive changes and contributing innovative ideas, alongside the capabilities they bring to their role and being able to develop their careers. We want them to be proud of their contributions and what they have accomplished.

In the quest for a successful and ethical workplace, diversity, equity, and inclusion are not mere buzzwords but guiding principles. By fostering a culture that values differences, businesses can benefit from the widest range talent, driving innovation, productivity, and success.

What are we doing at Chorus?

We’ve worked very hard to create an equal, diverse, and inclusive culture at Chorus, but we know there is more we can do and will keep striving to be the best we can be.

To support this, we ensure ED&I is on the agenda or every board and executive meeting, with a dedicated ED&I committee which provides a steering group and chairperson to lead our efforts and help define our ED&I strategy, initiatives, and roadmap. We also provide training to managers, to help them support their teams.

Employees also have the option to act as ‘champions’ within the business for specific areas of ED&I. These individuals often take a lead on circulating updates, information, and resources around their topic, run company-wide ‘lunch and learns’, and also act as a point of contact for anyone with questions or needing support.

These meetings also allow us to discuss the latest topics in ED&I, as well as enabling us to plan for key upcoming religious holidays, or celebratory events such as Pride, Black History month, Mental Health week, International Women’s Day, ADHD Awareness and many more.

Next steps…

If I’ve touched on anything that has made you consider doing more with EDI in your business, that’s great. But remember it’s not something you can do overnight.

I’d recommend starting by making EDI part of the agenda in board and leadership meetings, identifying areas where you can make immediate improvements and define longer-term goals with a roadmap for how you’ll get there. As you implement changes overtime, you’ll notice the cultural shift and reap the rewards.

To get started today, I challenge you to pause and look around in your next meeting to see if you have diversity in the room. If not, go out into the business and ask someone to join the meeting who seems the opposite of you (it doesn’t matter if that’s someone who has no idea about what you’re doing) and ask them what they would do. These are the kinds of places where change happens and fresh new ideas are created.

I’d love to hear about your ED&I initiatives and your thoughts on what businesses should be doing more of, so please do drop me a DM or an email if you’d like to chat!