No 'quick fix' to managing workplace diversity

Minority groups need to be given a stronger voice and connected to the wider workforce to improve business practice
Workplace diversity 4x3
Diverse workplace Creative Commons

A government-commissioned review released this week argues the £24 billion business case for improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace but oversimplifies it, according to an LSE researcher.

The McGregor-Smith Review, published on Tuesday, highlights the positive impacts of BAME professionals in the workplace, says Jonathan Ashong-Lamptey, from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

 “However, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and this is what challenges organisations,” he said.

“Each needs to establish its own particular business case, instead of assuming that simply increasing diversity levels within their organisation will automatically transform their business performance.”

The review recommends that organisations should establish inclusive networks, however Jonathan’s research shows that many business leaders often do not leverage BAME and minority ethnic networks effectively.

The researcher in LSE’s Department of Management has spent the past three years investigating the experiences of BAME and minority ethnic professionals and how they contribute to business success.

He suggests five key principles that employers should introduce to get the most out of minority ethnic networks:

  • Psychological support;
  • Career development;
  • A voice;
  • Stronger engagement;
  • Identity

“Business leaders need to actively encourage BAME professionals in order to develop existing resources and boost organisational performance. Minority groups need to be given a stronger voice and connected to the wider workforce to improve business practice,” Jonathan said.

“If companies can tap into the natural skills and knowledge of BAME and other minority networks, they can engage with new markets and gain culturally specific insights that can improve their bottom line.”

Jonathan said businesses risked stagnating if they mismanaged cultural diversity within their organisations.

Behind the article

Jonathan Ashong-Lamptey completed his PhD in Employment Relations and Organisational Behaviour at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He is a qualified chartered accountant with considerable experience working within media organisations.  He contributed to the independent review by Baroness McGregor-Smith considering the issues affecting black and minority ethnic (BME) groups in the workplace.