How diversity boosts productivity

09 November 2017 -

TransgenderNew research from Anglia Ruskin University shows a strong link between employee identity, job satisfaction and productivity

Managers should encourage diversity by letting staff withhold their biological gender on internal paperwork. This in turn would boost mental wellbeing and productivity, according to new findings from Anglia Ruskin University’s Lord Ashcroft International Business School.

The measure is just one aimed at boosting inclusivity. The study says that staff who can identify with a selected gender experience less psychological distress and greater job satisfaction.

Led by Dr Nick Drydakis of the Lord Ashcroft International Business School, the study suggests up to 71% of transgender individuals try to hide their transition from their managers, and 57% fear workplace discrimination.

However, those who have transitioned often report higher self-esteem and enjoyment of life tasks.

Therefore, says Drydakis, “more legal and workplace protections for trans workers, such as allowing them to change gender identification on official documents without undergoing gender-reassignment surgery, would help employers maintain a productive workforce”.

Why? There is a strong link between assuming one’s chosen identity and improved communication skills, the confidence to make difficult decisions, self-organisation and a constructive approach to problem-solving, according to research from LGBT charity Stonewall and others.

“To improve employees’ work- related attitudes and experiences, firms should promote greater acceptance of employees from different identity categories,” says Drydakis. “Firms should make it clear that there will be no concessions for managers, colleagues or customers who act in a biased manner... Management training concerning trans issues, mentoring schemes and counselling support could positively affect trans employees’ workplace experiences.”

At Anglia Ruskin University, academic research is shared widely with staff and students. “It’s a way of championing our values,” says Dr Sally Everett, deputy dean of the Lord Ashcroft International Business School.

This year, the business school has incorporated a module on equality, diversity and inclusion into its Level 5 business management course, which is accredited by CMI.

“The module is workshop-based and encourages the students to question and understand each other,” she says. Each week the course examines a different protected characteristic, such as race, religion or disability, and looks for both best and worst practice in business and life.

While the university aims to be “collaborative, inclusive and active”, employers are increasingly understanding the benefits of workplace diversity, too.

“Our employer forum is saying that, in the international world of business, we need managers and leaders who understand where different people are coming from and how they can work together effectively,” says Dr Everett. “We need individuals to be sensitive to different cultures and issues, and we must ensure our students are aware of appropriate, ethical business practices.”

This is a piece of sponsored content from Anglia Ruskin University. For more on the Lord Ashcroft International Business School, email or call 01245 686868

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