Diversity & inclusion is the heartbeat of hospitality and can generate powerful benefits for teams and organisations. This first Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) blog will discuss the meaning of D&I and will focus on recent data and information shared on workplace wellbeing, inclusion, and support for LGBTIQ+ people that has been shared during #pridemonth2022. Hospitality is a highly diverse industry but there is scope for improvement so that inclusivity is embedded in organisational culture. For example, nuanced and inclusive policies and processes that recognise and safeguard LGBTIQ+ people. Future D&I blogs will look at other characteristics that make teams and organisations diverse and how the hospitality sector can prioritize and progress D&I and team member wellbeing.
What is D&I and why is it important?
Culture Amp describe workplace diversity as: “an organisation that intentionally employs a workforce comprised of individuals with a range of characteristics, such as gender, religion, race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education, and other attributes” such as disability, gender identity, educational and social background. They emphasise the importance of understanding that individuals are not ‘diverse’, diversity is characterised by the different characteristics between individuals within teams and the organisation. Workforce diversity brings a broad range of knowledge, skills, abilities, perspectives and experience to organisations, broadens the talent pool, and has been found to generate innovation, increase growth, and enhance employee performance.
But, a team or organisation cannot be only diverse in the composition of its workforce, it must also create an inclusive working environment so that all team members have the opportunity to thrive, develop, and feel included and valued. Having an inclusive workplace is not an automatic or direct outcome of a diverse workforce, it is possible for an organisation to be diverse but not inclusive. D&I go hand-in-hand, are intentional in design, and require a concerted effort to recognise and value the needs of different people.
Culture Amp give a helpful example to capture this: “a diverse workplace acknowledges there may be people who practice their religion or spirituality during the day. Inclusion means creating a space for people to pray, meditate, or observe. By designing this space, we show people they are valued and encourage them to bring more of themselves to the workplace.”
A key aspect of D&I policies and processes is that they need to be co-designed and implemented with the people that will be impacted by them. This is where team members are directly involved in, and inform, the design and implementation of policies and processes so that they meet their needs effectively.
Is hospitality inclusive of the LGBTIQ+ community?
The Institute of Hospitality asked this question in early 2020 in an effort to develop a more in-depth understanding of the key challenges facing the LGBTIQ+ community. They found that hospitality, although broadly perceived to be inclusive of LGBTIQ+ communities, was behind other sectors in developing inclusive working environments and identified examples of good practice, such as:
More recently, UKHospitality reported government findings that two-thirds of LGBTIQ+ people and >50% of women report experiencing workplace sexual harassment, and state that this problem is “particularly acute in hospitality”. ‘No More Ifs Or Buts’ reported that “3 in 20 LGBTIQ+ women and 6 in 20 LGBTIQ+ men believe that their sexual orientation will negatively affect their career”. The CIPD found that 40% of LGBTIQ+ and 55% of trans employees have experienced workplace conflict.
Culture Amp details 3 ways in which organisations can meaningfully support LGBTIQ+ team members:
The CIPD set out ways in which businesses can advance workplace wellbeing and support for LGBTIQ+ people, for example:
A further action could be re-evaluating benefits and team member wellbeing initiatives, assessing if these are appropriate by directly asking team members for their feedback on whether benefits actually meet their needs, or if initiatives and benefits can be more flexibly designed.
Other examples of how organisations can develop inclusive working environments
Harver detail findings from Gallup’s workplace survey that identified particular attributes that are required to develop an inclusive working environment. Some examples of these include:
A final thought from us…
Progressing D&I within an organisation requires focused policies and structures, communication, learning and development, education and training, and team member engagement. Support from management is a core element, to improve the operationalisation of organisational models to improve D&I. Future blogs on D&I will explore these aspects in more detail.