VisitScotland is a values-based employer and we are working to put diversity at the heart of everything we do. Whether it’s the warmth of the welcome extended to all our visitors, making better decisions as an organisation, or adding to our reputation, diversity is essential.

Tourism is everyone’s business. This is a well-used adage when describing the visitor economy, but is even more true when used in connection with people. Tourism is, after all, an industry all about people; delivering experiences, connections and long-lasting relationships.

So, by promoting diversity in VisitScotland, we can help make sure that diversity is embraced across the tourism sector and is a key element of each visitor’s experience of Scotland.

In the last 18 months VisitScotland has taken major steps forward in tapping into workplace diversity. Our 600 employees are our greatest asset, all offering a variety of different perspectives, skills and experiences, which is of great value in planning and delivering our business goals.

VisitScotland’s Leadership Group was expanded to include all Heads of Departments, bringing together a much wider group of individuals. The results of doing this have been clear, with increased creativity, higher levels of innovation and faster problem solving.

To accelerate this we also created a Future Leaders Group made up of younger colleagues.

The Future Leaders Group includes members from all directorates in VisitScotland and gives a voice to younger staff member, who don’t normally feed into or influence organisational initiatives and decisions.

This group is proving invaluable in looking at VisitScotland’s work through the prism of youth, bringing fresh ideas and helpful to our internal decision making. Which amongst other things includes getting our promotion strategy to younger visitors and visitors of the future right.

Ultimately it’s all about creating the conditions for better decision making. Researchers consistently find that diverse teams making business decisions outperform individual decision-makers. This gives organisations embracing diversity a competitive advantage.

Businesses and organisations with a diverse workforce are generally more inclusive of different individual characteristics and perspectives. Last year we published our Equality Strategy. Entitled ‘Our People’, it shines a spotlight on what we have achieved in engaging with the whole staff base. By using film, photos, case studies and animation we tell our story which puts diversity and equality at the centre of all we do.

We also recognise the value of higher rates of employee engagement in our Strategic Framework, as we work to move VisitScotland as an organisation through good to great to world-class.

The link between workplace diversity and employee engagement is straightforward; when employees feel included they are more engaged and, as well as achieving better results, this helps us retain our talent.

By committing to building and promoting diversity here at VisitScotland we are increasingly seen as a responsible organisation. Which is good for our reputation as an employer, which in turn, I believe, makes us look more interesting place to work, boosting our recruitment results amongst top talent and our diversity.

Increased diversity in our workplace will help us on our path of success. Our diverse workforce also mirrors the diversity of the millions of visitors who come to Scotland each year. They come to find and enjoy the very best destinations and experiences delivered by passionate and diverse people.