7th February 2024
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BSI publishes DE&I guidance for workplace culture

New guidance designed to help organisations prioritise their people by creating an increasingly diverse and inclusive workplace culture, including by demonstrating leadership commitment or adjusting recruitment practices, has been published by BSI.

Evidence suggests that diverse organizations can out-perform their peers, while research indicates a desire for diverse workplaces, especially amongst Generation Z. Research from McKinsey has found that organisations that prioritise gender or ethnic and cultural diversity stand to benefit from improved profitability, while a BCG study found that organisations with more diverse management teams were seeing 19% higher revenues.Meanwhile, a study by Intel found that 89% of respondents in China and 75% in the US said an organisations DEI policies were “extremely” or “very” important when deciding where to work.

Diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. Code of practice (PAS 1948) has been sponsored by the All-In Diversity Project in response to organizations seeking guidance. It is designed as a practical, one-stop shop for organizations looking to develop and implement an effective diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) framework. Aimed at organizations in all sectors in any country, it applies to traditional offices and industrial environments, but also workplaces such as zoos, sports arenas or film sets. 

The standard, which is free to download, is intended to help organizations implement a DEI framework that works for them. Areas covered include understanding and implementing concepts such as “diversity of thought”, “dimensions of diversity”, “intercultural competence” and “cognitive diversity”. It also covers practical measures, including around recruitment and retention DEI, along with incorporating the principle of “inclusive by design” into services, technology, and business models and processes. It also looks at how organizations can address behaviour which is inconsistent with DEI principles, as well as how to engage and support underrepresented social and cultural groups, for example via peer networks.

Other areas of focus include:

  • identifying appropriate DEI learning and development needs
  • creating inclusive brands, customer engagement and workplace culture
  • incorporating DEI principles into an organization’s internal policies, practices and processes
  • establishing the organizational benefits of creating and maintaining an effective culture of DEI
  • setting achievable targets and objectives, and measuring progress

Kate Field, Global Head Health, Safety and Well-being, BSI, said: “A diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace culture that prioritizes people has the potential to be transformative for individuals, organizations, and society. This starts with leadership taking steps to turn ambition into action to build and sustain DEI across their organization.

“Seeing DEI as a valuable investment in people and the future of your organization can offer huge benefits, including in attracting and retaining the very best talent and skills which in turn has the potential to support innovation, customer insight engagement and improve performance. PAS 1948 provides the guidance to empower people to make a positive impact by building workplaces that are inclusive and welcoming to everyone.”

The measures are designed to be taken up by anyone with exposure to DEI decision-making, ranging from board members and organizational leaders to HR professionals and communications, marketing and branding and technology teams. It can also be applicable to trade union and employee association representatives, as well as advisors, auditors and investors.

The PAS does not cover local, national, or international employment law or regulation, but includes standards and principles statements issued by organizations, research institutes, government agencies, and other bodies. It can be used as a practical implementation guide for frameworks including BS ISO 30415:2021, Human resource management – Diversity and inclusion; BS 76000:2015, Human resource – Valuing people – Management system; and ISO 45003, Psychological Health and Safety at work.

Christina Thakor-Rankin, Co-Founder, All-In Diversity Project, said: “This standard is based on four fundamentals: that inclusivity is everyone’s responsibility – not just HR; that not everyone works in an office; that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing the way we live and work; and that the business case for inclusive workplaces having been proven, is shifting the focus from why, to how. The aim from the outset has been to create a document that is accessible to anyone, and is applicable to any organization of any type, size and sector, anywhere in the world. It applies where a workplace could be an office, but could just as easily be a studio, stadium, shop, science lab, safari-park, street or outer-space.

“The document covers the principles, but more importantly also includes practical guidance and recommendations, and a basic workplace toolkit that enables an organization to create or develop an existing framework for workplace DEI designed to fit their specific operational needs, and at a budget and pace that works for them. This is a universal standard, that is designed to be used either as a stand-alone document or alongside other national and international standards.”

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