Reaping benefits from diversity

Publication Date08 Aug 2008
AuthorAndrea Broughton,Marie Strebler
SubjectHR & organizational behaviour
Reaping benefits from diversity
Andrea Broughton and Marie Strebler
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of diversity management initiatives
using three good practice examples from employers operating in the manufacturing, IT and charity
sectors in the UK.
Design methodology/approach Using IBM, Jaguar Land Rover and Scope as case studies, the
paper follows the introduction and maintenance of diversity policies based on internal research and
market developments.
Findings – Corporations without well thought-out diversity policies tend to miss out on recruiting top
talent as well as running the risk of a backlash among job seekers. Making diversity part of corporate
culture requires buy-in from senior management all the way through the organization and must be
reflected in all facets of business dealings.
Originality/value – The paper presents the key drivers behind these initiatives, how they have been
implemented and what measures are used to assess impact, and highlights what other organizations
can learn from this.
Keywords Equal opportunities, Gender, Sexual orientation, Disabilities, Organizational culture
Paper type Research paper
What can we learn from employers who have fully embraced diversity to create
successful strategies that deliver real benefits? What tips can they offer others
embarking on the journey? Employers have moved beyond mere compliance and
those that are ahead of the game understand that celebrating diversity is about
implementing good practices that successfully deliver. The Institute for Employment
Studies (IES) has conducted interviews with three organizations – the business and IT
company IBM, the automotive manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover and the charity Scope – to
find out about the initiatives they have put in place, the specific drivers behind them, how
they measure success and what they plan in the future.
The key drivers behind diversity
At IBM, diversity and inclusion program manager Des Benton emphasizes the fact that one
of the key drivers for the company’s policies for gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender/transsexual (GLBT) employees was the business case and the need for the
organization to match the profile of the market in terms of its workforce. He explains: ‘‘We
need to look and feel like our customers and suppliers.’’ Benton quoted IBM research that
found that 77 percent of GLBT people would switch brands to companies with a positive
stance towards the GLBT constituency and that 72 percent of GLBT people prefer brands
that support GLBT causes.
Car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover operates in a sector that has traditionally been seen as
the preserve of men. Around 92 percent of its workforce is still made up of white males, but
the company is actively trying to increase the diversity profile of its workforce. Elaine Keight,
DOI 10.1108/14754390810893035 VOL. 7 NO. 5 2008, pp. 5-10, QEmerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1475-4398
Andrea Broughton and
Marie Strebler are both
based at the Institute for
Employment Studies,
University of Sussex,
Brighton, UK.

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