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Make workplaces more inclusive says CBI

The CBI is calling on companies to take action on diversity and make workplaces more inclusive.

With the UK ranking ninth for levels of employee engagement out of the 12 largest economies, the CBI has launched a new report, Time for Action: the business case for inclusive workplaces.

The UK business group is promoting inclusivity best practice - including setting diversity targets, using name-blind recruitment methods and offering flexible working to new recruits.

The report also recommends that staff appraisals give weight to people development as well as short-term commercial performance.

In a speech to the Engage for Success Conference this week, CBI president Paul Drechsler said:

"Inclusive workplaces give firms the chance to get ahead of their competitors by making better decisions, through diverse teams which draw on a wider range of ideas and experiences.
"Inclusion isn't a minority issue, it's a majority issue that can benefit all people and all firms," he continued. "Ultimately, every employee can benefit from more flexible working and better decision-making. This is the real business case for inclusion and making progress means asking fundamental questions about how we work."

It starts with recruitment, he said. 

"Inclusive recruitment gives every firm the chance to recruit more people with the skills they need … It's important that, especially for people starting out, the application process provides a level playing-field. Unconscious bias is another big challenge. One of the ways of tackling this is name-blind applications, removing criteria that could unintentionally bias managers and give under-represented groups confidence that their application will be fairly considered."

Employer attitudes to flexible working also need to change, he added.

"It's time we stopped seeing flexible working as a 'bonus for staff' and started seeing it as something which has clear benefits for employers and employees alike. It helps everyone balance their working lives not just with their responsibilities as parents or carers but also with their wellbeing and interests outside of work."

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