The notions of diversity and inclusion (D&I) have transcended mere buzzwords, evolving into a substantial industry-wide pursuit. Across the globe, employers are allocating increased resources to D&I initiatives, resulting in the emergence of specialized roles dedicated to fostering inclusivity. These roles encompass guiding transformative change for the establishment of more inclusive organizations, sourcing talent from underrepresented demographics, and aligning projects with D&I priorities.

However, it’s noteworthy that diversity policies appear to be less prevalent within the context of Singapore. In a 2021 report by the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), it was revealed that seven out of ten organizations have yet to implement formalized diversity policies, despite recognizing the potential benefits.

The Value of Diversity for Businesses

The argument for diversity holds substantial merit, yielding enhanced talent acquisition and retention, as well as overall improved business performance.

Firstly, organizations that embrace diversity can tap into a broader talent pool and consequently experience improved talent retention. In Singapore, a survey from 2019 indicated that almost nine out of ten respondents believed that workplaces endorsing diversity of thought positively impact talent retention.

Secondly, a diversified workforce correlates with enhanced business outcomes. This assertion is validated by a study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which highlighted that diverse leadership teams drive better innovation and superior financial performance. Likewise, McKinsey’s research has established a direct correlation between diversity within executive teams and the likelihood of sustained financial success. The BCG study posits, “Diverse backgrounds and experiences often lead to diverse problem-solving approaches and solutions, increasing the likelihood of breakthroughs.”

As the evident advantages of fostering diversity take center stage, certain organizations might opt to designate specialized roles to oversee and facilitate this aspect of their operations. However, instilling a sustainable culture of diversity originates from the upper echelons of leadership, rooted in a steadfast commitment to equitable and merit-based employment practices.

Championing Merit-Based Approaches to Hiring and Development

Employing HR practices that prioritize equity and impartiality paves the way for attracting a diverse workforce. By sidestepping biases and evaluating potential employees based purely on their skills and competence, organizations are better positioned to recruit the most qualified candidates for respective roles. This approach culminates in a diverse and robust workforce enriched by varying experiences and strengths. This process might necessitate training and equipping hiring managers to conduct fair assessments.

Similarly, treating employees justly entails implementing robust performance management systems that grant all employees equal prospects for training, development, and progression within the organization. This strategy bolsters the retention of high-quality talent capable of propelling organizational growth.

Driving a Culture of Diversity: A Leadership Mandate

Cultivating a culture that actively nurtures and advocates for a diverse workforce necessitates holistic strategies aligned with business objectives. In light of this, the responsibility rests primarily with senior management. This mandate encompasses initiatives to ensure diverse talent representation across all tiers of the organization, designing frameworks to anchor employment practices in meritocracy, and establishing metrics to gauge advancement at every stage.

While not every organization may appoint a diversity manager, they can undoubtedly cultivate a resilient and inclusive culture rooted in merit-based employment practices, guided by senior management endorsement. Such an approach ensures that diversity becomes a cornerstone value of the organization, contributing to its fortitude and overall effectiveness.


If you have any company-related queries, you may email us at [email protected]. When in doubt, seek legal advice or consult an experienced licensed Employment Agency with the Ministry of Manpower.

Yours Sincerely,
The editorial team at Singapore Employment Agency

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