Diversity and inclusion are crucial elements of a company or organisation’s recruitment and retention strategy. They’ve always been important but often undervalued and overlooked. In recent years, they’ve become more widespread and discussed than ever before, with many businesses reviewing their internal processes as they strive to do better. Below, we outline what diversity and inclusion is, what it means for a company to be truly diverse and how the Army Cadet Force is working towards that goal.
What does diversity and inclusion mean?
The phrase ‘diversity and inclusion’ is usually referred to when talking about a process that organisations put in place to ensure that they represent a variety of people from different backgrounds. It usually begins in the recruitment stage, where a diverse and inclusive recruiter actively seeks out a range of candidates from varied backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in the organisation. With this diverse pool of candidates in place, they would ensure that the entire selection process focuses on whether a candidate can do a job regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and more.
What does diversity mean?
The definition for diversity is the understanding that everyone is unique and has different identities and qualities, like their gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, physical and mental abilities, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation – to name a few.
Diversity is about empowering others by respecting and appreciating what makes them different. It explores, values and embraces what makes each of us unique. It also celebrates the beauty and benefits of the range of perspectives, experiences and beliefs that comes with having a diverse group of people in one space.
What does inclusion mean?
Diversity would be ineffective without inclusion. Inclusion is the efforts made by everybody to welcome diversity. An inclusive environment is one where there is a sense of belonging – where each person is treated equally and made to feel like they are respected, heard, and valued.
An inclusive environment must have fair policies in place that enable a group of people with differences to work together. Frankly, every single person should have the right to develop their skills, increase their potential, voice an opinion and be rewarded fairly in a safe and supportive environment. An inclusive environment makes sure this happens.
What is a diverse workplace?
A diverse workplace is an environment that includes a wide range of people. An inclusive workplace is an environment that welcomes these people. Workplaces are frequently seeing the multiple benefits of an inclusive and diverse workforce, not only for employees but from a business perspective, too.
A diverse and inclusive workplace can:
- Increase employee engagement and morale
- Bring a wider range of ideas to the table
- Encourage people to express their ideas freely, increasing confidence
- Build a good business reputation
- Attract candidates to your business
- Increase the chances of employing talented people
- Provide the business with a broader understanding of the customer
- Reduce employee turnover
- Bring in on average 15x more revenue*
Diversity in the ACF
Businesses aren’t the only places that benefit from a diversity and inclusion process. All organisations, including social clubs and voluntary groups, should have something in place to create a diverse environment.
The Army Cadets is an organisation that takes diversity and inclusion very seriously, and always strives to be better. We believe in celebrating diversity all the time and valuing the way it makes us better. The ACF has cadets and volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds and social and educational classes, and we want to inspire every single member to realise their full potential and help set them up for lifelong success.
We ensure that our members feel like they belong at the ACF, and we have recently put diversity and inclusion at the forefront of our processes. We want people to know – whether they’re a potential cadet or adult volunteer – that this organisation is a welcoming one. With a National Diversity and Inclusion Officer appointed, and the process of selecting Regional Diversity and Inclusion Advisors ongoing, we will have more of a focus on making sure the ACF is a diverse and inclusive place to be.
If you’re interested in joining an organisation that celebrates everybody’s differences, the ACF is a fantastic choice. You can meet new people, learn new skills, complete new qualifications and take part in fun, challenging adventures. If you’re between the ages of 11-18, you can join as a cadet, and, if you’re 18+, you can join as an adult volunteer.
*According to Give a Grad a Go