Ways to support workplace diversity

25 August 2022

Having a diverse workplace has many benefits, both for the business and its employees. It also plays a key role in addressing inequality. What is diversity, what are the benefits, and how can you encourage a diverse workplace culture?

What is diversity?

Diversity describes the different characteristics of people you work with. These characteristics include, but are not limited to:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Relationship status
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation

It’s important that employees are treated fairly, regardless of who they are as a person. And according to the Equality Act 2010, it’s also against the law to discriminate against anyone based on these characteristics. Discrimination can be unintentional, too. A workplace policy that negatively affects one group of people more than another is a form of indirect discrimination.

Protecting employees against discrimination helps to encourage equality and diversity. But doing so is much more than a legal and moral requirement. A diverse workplace can often be a more successful and appealing place for people to work.

Diversity and inclusion are both important. Your workforce should be diverse, but you also need to ensure that everybody is included. Employees should feel that they can be themselves at work.

What are the benefits of a diverse workplace?

Creating a workplace that encourages diversity and inclusion is the right thing to do, and it has many benefits. It can:

  • Help people feel valued, accepted and comfortable
  • Lower the risk of harassment and discrimination
  • Keep employees happy and motivated, and boost morale
  • Offer a diverse range of experience, knowledge and thought
  • Provide an environment in which people have equal opportunities to develop

A diverse workplace is also more likely to attract and keep a diverse workforce. This can have positive effects on how your employees relate to and understand each other, as well as customers. If a company wants to serve a diverse population, it should reflect that population. And companies with greater gender and cultural diversity are often more profitable. And from an outside point of view, a diverse workplace can also improve a company’s image and reputation.

How can I encourage a diverse workplace culture?

As a manager, you should make sure your employees have the same opportunities to develop. But there are other things you can do to contribute to a wider workplace culture of diversity.

Make your workplace accessible. Different people have different needs. You should consider individual needs and aim to make your workplace accessible to everyone. Flexible working – which includes career breaks, job-sharing, and remote working – can help employees manage disability, caring responsibilities, and other commitments such as religious holidays. Provide workplace adjustments for employees who need them, such as adapted chairs and keyboards.

Create a network. Provide a space for employees to talk with one another and connect with their peers. This could include one-to-one mentoring, newsletters, or notice boards. If you have a company intranet, you could invite staff to share their experiences there. It’s important that employees know where they can find support.

Provide training. Equip your employees with the knowledge and ability to value differences. Diversity training can help employees understand how they contribute to an inclusive workplace. Employees should also be aware of unconscious bias, and how it can affect their behaviour. Everyone has unconscious biases, but it’s important to acknowledge them to reduce discrimination.

Celebrate diversity. There are many awareness events throughout the year. These include LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Mental Health Awareness Week, Disability Pride Month, and Black History Month. If you have an internal newsletter, you could highlight these events and plan activities around them. That way, colleagues know when they’re happening and can take part if they’d like to.

Consider your behaviour. Think about how you express yourself at work. Your language and actions can carry a lot of meaning. Sometimes, you might express prejudice, even if you don’t mean to. These types of behaviour, often referred to as microaggressions, can create an environment where employees don’t feel like they belong.

Visibility matters. As a manager, you’re a role model for inclusive leadership. Lead by example and aim to create a safe environment for your employees to work to the best of their ability. If you have a company policy on diversity and inclusion, share it with your team. That way, they’ll know how they’re expected to act, and how the business values diversity and inclusion.

Hear from our experts

“Creating an inclusive work environment is the responsibility of us all. This doesn’t just sit with the human resources team or the company’s leadership team. We all must be consciously inclusive to create a great place to work. Diversity and inclusion is not only the right thing to do – it’s also great for business. To create products for a diverse population base, we have to be diverse ourselves.

‘Be You at Bupa’ and ‘Everyone’s Welcome’ is our position as an organisation on diversity and inclusion. We believe that everyone should feel able to be their whole selves at work, and not like they have to hide who they are, or aspects of their personal identity. But we all have our part to play in enabling each other to be our true selves and making these words real – we are all responsible for making sure we consciously include others and create that sense of belonging.”

Diana Podlewska Monteiro, Inclusion Partner, Bupa Global & UK People Team

More information

Bupa has a range of health information to support you and your team, including:


  • Improving equality, diversity and inclusion in your workplace. Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service., accessed 6 July 2022.
  • Building inclusive workplaces. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development., published 23 September 2019.
  • Equality Act 2010 – Part 2, Chapter 1, Section 4. UK Government., accessed 7 July 2022. h
  • Protected Characteristics. Equality and Human Rights Commission., last updated 6 July 2021.
  • 5 advantages of diversity in the workplace. Indeed., accessed 7 July 2022.
  • Driving inclusion together for a better world. Bupa., accessed 7 July 2022.
  • Microaggression. Merriam-Webster., accessed 7 July 2022.
  • Let’s Talk. Scope., accessed 30 June 2022.
  • Delivering through diversity. McKinsey & Company., published 18 January 2018.
  • Inclusion and diversity in the workplace. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development., published 10 May 2021.
  • Flexible working practices. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development., published 1 July 2022.
  • Ramadan in the workplace: flexible working and support for Muslims. Unison., published 5 April 2022.
  • Diversity and inclusion at work: facing up to the business case. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development., published 20 June 2018.
  • Equality Act FAQs. Equality and Human Rights Commission., accessed 12 July 2022.
  • Reasonable adjustments at work. Scope., accessed 14 July 2022.
  • Employers: preventing discrimination. UK Government., accessed 14 July 2022.
  • Personal Communication. Diana Podlewska Monteiro, Inclusion Partner, Bupa Global & UK People Team, July 2022

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