Why a balanced workforce is better for business

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #balanceforbetter, exploring the idea that balance is a business issue rather than a women’s issue.

This rings true, but we wanted to check with people across our business to find out what they think: is a balanced workforce better for business in their opinion – and if so, why?

We spoke to five individuals around the world: Menna Dessouki, Senior Consultant, HCI in Riyadh, Krishnendu Mukherjee, Managing Director in India, Jean Hewitt, Senior Inclusive Design Consultant in London Heidi Creighton, Associate Principal, Sustainability in Los Angeles and James Bruce, our Chief Operating and Financial Officer.

It was fascinating to see how much they agreed. Here are the five common themes that emerged.

1. A balanced workforce creates a better workplace for everyone

“A balanced workforce includes a diverse range of communities, gender, culture, background, skills, knowledge and experience in a way that reflects society as a whole and thereby adds tremendous value to the business.”

“As a woman, I have always been drawn to and worked for firms with a diverse staff.”

“More than half the UK population is female yet only 11% of workers in engineering are female. Our strategy of delivering client-focused outcomes points to the fact that a better balance drives a better working world.“

2. Balance leads to more inclusive solutions, giving a commercial edge

“Including individuals with a range of abilities, disabilities and impairments, allows us to reflect and understand all of society and gives us a commercial edge – unique ways of thinking (from neuro typical to neuro diverse), different genders and from diverse backgrounds and cultures gives us a rich insight that clients find invaluable.”

“It also helps a business gain different perspectives on particular matters, thereby offering more inclusive solutions to problems.”

“It will be more inclusive, creative and innovative. The efficiency, performance and productivity of the business increases, because different people solve problems in different ways.”

“Having a diverse staff creates a more collaborative culture that better represents our clients and the users of the spaces we create.”

“Without a diverse workforce, it becomes really difficult to achieve design solutions that reflect and serve the whole of society.”

“Many studies have demonstrated that organisations with balanced diversity across all pay grades and inclusive cultures have greater innovation, creativity, and bottom line results. As Buro Happold makes progress on diversity and inclusion, we are more likely to create innovative solutions that reflect the needs of our increasingly diverse clientele.”

3. Balance encourages staff involvement in the development of our business

“A balanced workforce makes better business because it displays a culture of fairness and equality within the company – and this increases employee participation in business improvement initiatives.”

“It promotes an inclusive working culture where everyone makes a full contribution and thereby significantly improves the performance of the business.”

4. A balanced workforce gives us access to different business networks

“It can also open doors for a business by enabling access to different networks of people. This is more representative of the global world we live in and can benefit the business.”

5. Balance improves retention and recruitment

“A balanced workforce allows for easier recruiting and improved retention – this lower turnover helps business save money and time. It is also critical to have diversity at leadership levels so that junior staff can imagine themselves growing into leadership positions.”

Thinking to the future, it is great to finish with this quote from our chief operating and financial officer, concluding emphatically that diversity brings our business real benefits and must be embraced.

“We need to embrace the benefits that diversity brings our business – both internally with our staff and externally with our clients and other stakeholders. The more we challenge bias and celebrate women’s achievements the brighter and more exciting the future” James Bruce

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