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Firms Urged To Embrace Diversity To Improve Business Performance

22nd October 2007

Businesses in the Highlands and Islands are being urged to embrace diversity to improve performance and productivity.

A new initiative, Equality Matters in Business, (EMB) has been jointly set up by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Enterprise to highlight the positive benefits of employing a diverse workforce and considering diversity in service delivery across all equality strands - gender, race, age, disability, religion or belief and sexual orientation.

Liz Scott, equalities manager at HIE, said: "Much of the focus on diversity to date has been on employment law and compliance, but we recognise that there are other real benefits of embracing diversity which can make a positive difference to the way businesses work.

"Equality in business is about increasing market share and delivering improved performance and productivity, as well as recognising and building on the strengths that people from different backgrounds can bring to business."

The events are being organised in partnership with the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI). SCDI Highlands and Islands area manager Gareth Williams said: "Businesses need to understand how new equalities legislation will affect them, and how they can better attract, retain and motivate their workforces as the labour market becomes ever more competitive. These events will do both, providing information on both the national and local pictures to help companies plan their future employment policies in support of continued business growth."

The EMB programme will raise business awareness and provide businesses with support in adopting equal opportunity policies and procedures. A series of workshops is now underway in Elgin and Inverness, with plans to hold events in other venues across the Highlands and Islands early next year.

In addition free information and guidance on any aspect of implementing equality and diversity in the workplace is also available to businesses through the Business Gateway Enquiry Service on 0845 609 6611. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9 am - 5 pm.

See Highlands and Islands enterprise web site at www.hie.co.uk

 

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