The role of staff diversity networks in local government has never been so important as it is currently. Traditionally this has been the case for several reasons, as they are often seen to help promote inclusivity in the workforce, provide representation for under-represented groups and bring to the table different ideas from varying perspectives. McLean Public has recently been working with some of our local government clients to identify just why diversity networks are so important in the sector at the moment. Here’s what our research revealed:
- Diversity networks give under-represented staff the opportunity to be represented (and heard) and often gives them a voice in more senior decision-making processes. This fosters a more inclusive environment which improves engagement and helps foster a sense of belonging.
- Diverse staff representation encourages new ideas and creativity. When staff feel they have a genuine outlet and channel for their views and ideas, this itself can encourage a virtuous circle of fresh ideas, creativity and innovation. This is particularly the case where senior leadership sponsorship of networks is committed and active.
- Local authorities are responsible for serving diverse communities with various backgrounds, cultures and needs. Having identifiable diversity networks within local authorities can help to reflect the demographics of the communities they serve, making them more representative and responsive to the needs of all residents. This is particularly relevant where authorities employ large numbers of their workforce from within their locality.
- Encouraging a sense of togetherness and purpose post-pandemic. With many people in local government now working in a variety of working patterns, staff diversity networks serve to bring people together and promote inclusivity in all senses of the word.
- Promoting diversity in local government organisations contributes to building a shared common endeavour more broadly. When people from different backgrounds work together in government (local, regional or national), it can set an example for positive inter-group relations and cooperation elsewhere.
Overall, our research tells us that staff diversity networks in local government can certainly help to create more inclusive and effective working culture. It’s about creating an environment where diverse perspectives are valued, and everyone has equal opportunities to contribute to the betterment of the organisation and the communities it serves. In doing so, in many ways local and regional government serves as an exemplar to other sectors yet to fully appreciate the value and broader benefit of staff diversity networks.
McLean Public is the specialist arm of McLean Advisory, focussed on providing outstanding executive recruitment of commercial, functional and technical leaders across the UK and beyond with diversity at the heart of everything we do. If you’re struggling to diversify your organisation’s workforce, please get in touch as this is something McLean Public can support you with.