By Naif Al Otaibi, Managing Director Proven Arabia

The Middle East has gone through a post-COVID transformative period where the focus of companies has increasingly shifted towards incorporating diversity and inclusion within the workplace, which has become a useful metric for organizational success. Businesses are also becoming more aware of the value that diversity and inclusion can bring to the organization.

In this post pandemic era, one of the key priorities of businesses is to contribute to economic growth and strength. We are living in times where globalization, technological advances, sociocultural dynamics and the societal ideals are directly reflected within workplaces. Diversity and inclusion are not just practices being put into place, but assets for businesses and employees as well, as it helps to foster innovation and creativity.

Today, gender and ethnicity are not the only diversity metrics to be checked off. The business environment moves beyond and across these two aspects, and it is now more about the inclusion of diverse cultures, belief systems, morals and values, and socioeconomic backgrounds, too. Businesses in the region are fast realizing their own power to bring about a transformative change with inclusion and the benefits of hiring and supporting diverse groups. Thus, the case for establishing a truly diverse workforce, at all organizational levels, grows more compelling each year, and is more of a necessity given that every individual should be offered the same opportunities, regardless of their identities.

It is important that every society recognizes the value of individuals with special abilities. For a thriving and inclusive economy, organizations must implement services that meet the needs of the specially-abled to integrate them into the system. Their contribution cements the foundation for change and strengthens our social and moral fiber. However, it takes careful consideration and conscious orchestration to create this dynamic and incorporate deliberate measures that protect vulnerable members of society, be that in the workplace or in our daily lives.

Companies like Proven Arabia strive to empower its specially-abled workforce by providing them with lucrative job opportunities, a supportive work environment, and the opportunity to develop and utilize their best abilities and skills. In Saudi Arabia, more than half a million citizens (1 out of 30) live with a form of disability, as per the National and Regional Prevalence Rated of Disability report of 2016. Proven honors and ensures the inclusion and support of these individuals within its workforce, enabling them to bring their own unique capabilities to the organization.

Diversity and Business Performance go hand-in-hand

There is substantial research-based evidence to show that diversity and inclusion result in increased profitability and creativity in an organization which in turn leads to a stronger and more efficient culture. Employees with different capabilities from varied backgrounds bring their own perspectives, ideas and experiences which helps to nurture a more resilient organization. Different research provides evidence that companies with diverse teams are in fact more innovative and generate higher revenues. This shows that innovation is a key driver for growth, and that diversity is not just a metric to be strived for; it is an integral part of a successful revenue-generating business.

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives are Crucial in Revitalizing the Modern Workforce

Now, more than ever, flexibility and versatility are becoming key to business success and a diverse workforce is the best way to achieve that. According to a 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 74% of respondents are of the view that an organization becomes more innovative when it has a culture of inclusion. The future workforce will primarily consist of millennials, so it is crucial to hire accordingly and ensure that diversity remains a key part of the company culture. It is time that traditional modes of working are challenged, and organizations initiate new conversations on making the modern workplace more inclusive.

The UAE has already passed a resolution in 2018 requiring employers to accommodate individuals with disabilities to enter and remain in the workforce and to engage in active and productive employment on an equal basis with their colleagues. The resolution applies to all governmental entities, private-sector employers, and nonprofit organizations.

Several organizations such as Proven Arabia are lending their support and opening doors to the specially-abled employees and the minority group creating avenues for change, and to lead by example.