Page 1: Introduction
Diversity describes people's differences.
Differences can come from individual characteristics and life experiences, such as where you went to school or where you live. Being married or in a civil partnership, being a parent, your political affiliation, career path or level of income can also influence your personal perspectives. These factors make us react, approach challenges and solve problems differently. Diversity describes people's differences. When people refer to 'diversity', especially in a business context, they often focus on a particular set of key characteristics or differences. These are:
- ethnicity (which refers to colour, race and national origin)
- sexual orientation.
These differences are protected by law. This means staff and customers have the legal right to be treated fairly and equally in relation to these characteristics.
The benefits of diversity
Diversity brings real benefits to society and businesses. For society, diversity brings richness and variety. There are always new and interesting things to be learnt from each other.
For a business, employing a diverse workforce enables it to use a wider range of talents and skills. These lead to creativity and innovation. Businesses need to mirror the communities and cultures they work in so they can understand and anticipate the diverse needs of their customers.
In order to get the best from staff and meet the varying needs of their diverse customers, it is very important for businesses to 'manage diversity' in a positive way. They need to recognise, respect and value people's differences.
Diversity in the UK
The following facts help to show how diverse society is becoming:
- Ethnic minorities make up 8% of the external labour market (4.6 million people).
- The UK population is becoming older. By 2016 there will be more adults aged 45-59 than any other age group.
- 6% of the adult population is estimated to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual (3.5 million people).
- 11% of the UK working age population is estimated to have a disability.
- Women currently account for 51% of the working population.
- By 2011, it is estimated that only 20% of the UK workforce will be white, non-disabled men aged under 45.
This case study shows how Lloyds TSB has created an environment in which different characteristics are positively welcomed and valued. It specifically focuses on how the bank has developed and is using a sexual orientation strategy to improve its business performance.