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How the hospitality industry can drive diversity and inclusion

The hospitality industry is making waves when it comes to diversity and inclusion. But it’s not enough. Women and BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) remain vastly underrepresented in areas, which is bad news for a sector that thrives on multiculturalism. In celebration of this month’s National Inclusion Week, we’re taking a deeper look at how the hospitality industry can not only keep up with diversity but lead it. 

The importance of an inclusive workforce in hospitality

Diversity and inclusion isn’t just an ethical and moral exercise. Big brands such as IHG, Hilton Hotels and Merlin Entertainment have demonstrated the powerful benefits that diversity brings the sector, including:


Diversity creates a workforce full of different skills, talents and customs. This enables you to create a multi-functional team of outstanding employees who can supercharge company performance. Even better, when you attract a diverse range of talent, you make the workplace more interesting, engaging and fun to be in – increasing employee engagement and retention. 

Competitive advantage

A workforce brimming with diverse cultures, insights and experiences is a workforce generating new ideas, different thinking and innovative solutions. Accessing this untapped workforce gives you a competitive advantage as well as a better understanding of your customers. 


According to ACAS, diverse teams perform better and faster – making decisions 60% quicker and fueling productivity. And we can all do with extra time in our business. 


Businesses embracing diversity and inclusion gain immediate access to a larger pool of talent, which makes recruiting easier and quicker. Plus, with candidates increasingly attracted to companies whose values mirror their own, inclusive employers are winning top talent without entering into salary wars. 

How to drive diversity and inclusion in hospitality

The hospitality industry certainly isn’t shy of diversity and inclusion – with significant progress already being made. But, more can certainly be done and it starts at the top:

1. Exec enthusiasm

Your senior leadership team sets the direction for the business – making it crucial that they’re on board. Use big brand case studies to demonstrate the value that diversity and inclusion brings to the sector and ensure that business strategies and priorities are appropriately aligned. It’s also important to make someone accountable for making this happen and working with the board to set realistic and defined goals. 

2. Culture not campaigns

Short-term initiatives can help to improve diversity now, but to drive it for the long-term you need embody it into your culture. Achieve this by:

  • Re-writing your vision, mission and values – just like Hilton Hotels has done; 
  • Implementing policies that promote inclusion such as parental leave for same-sex couples;
  • Implementing policies that attract a diverse workforce, for example, flexible working or, as IHG has done, an aspiring females coaching program;
  • Encouraging employees to take part in outreach activities and celebrating national recognition days; and
  • Running regular diversity and inclusion training.

3. Recruitment

To have a diverse workforce, you need to recruit a diverse workforce. This requires adopting an equal opportunities recruitment policy and training managers on unconscious bias. Unconscious bias can occur anywhere in the recruitment process – from the words used in advertisements and the flexibility of the process to the questions asked at interview and the job offer made. 

Many companies use a recruitment agency to help minimise the risk of unconscious bias occurring and maximising the range of candidates applying for the position and being invited to the interview stage. 

4. Celebrate

Diversity and inclusion should be about fun, happiness and celebration. Be proud of what you’re achieving and who is helping you to achieve it by shouting about it on your website, social media accounts and at relevant conferences and events. 

And, this month is the perfect month to shout, with National Inclusion Week taking place between 23 – 29 Sep 2019. We’d love to know how you’re taking part. 

About Profile Resourcing

Profile Resourcing is a Milton Keynes hospitality recruitment consultant – helping you to recruit the best hospitality candidates in Milton Keynes. We offer a variety of recruitment packages and have access to a diverse and talented pool of employees. Contact us today to find out more.  


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