Why D&I must link to purpose and growth to thrive
A diverse and inclusive workplace culture, where everyone, regardless of who they are or what they do for the business, feels equally involved and supported is more important now than ever.
Research from Great Place to Work found that employees who trust they will be treated fairly regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or age, are more than 6 x more likely to take pride in their work and 5 x more likely to want to stay a long time at their company. It also found that diverse and inclusive workplaces enjoy higher revenue growth and greater readiness to innovate.
As well as the clear business and retention benefits, a proactive approach to championing D&I can strengthen reputation and give companies a corporate edge over their peers. However, authenticity really matters; employees need to believe the business is doing the right thing for the right reasons.
After the killing of George Floyd in the US, a number of brands stepped forward with statements of support for the Black Lives Matter movement and other civil rights groups. Some were rightly applauded for their actions, while others have been questioned about whether they are genuinely involved in the anti-racism cause, or whether they are just trying to avoid criticism and / or raise their brand profile.
Ambition with substance
I think organisations need to show there is purpose and substance behind their ambition when announcing 5-year D&I goals; something a number of big brands such as Sky, Unilever, Nike, Amazon and Google have been doing this year.
The internal challenge for each business is, firstly, to show how their D&I work aligns with their purpose and growth strategy. Then they need to provide evidence there is a real plan of action to achieve goals. People expect to see real, tangible D&I work in action.
Because, while the business and engagement benefits are clear, employees will quickly become suspicious if they get a sense their employer is embarking on a D&I box-ticking or PR exercise.
Fortunately, there are a number of helpful resources at hand for those businesses looking for some D&I best practice guidance.
The Workplace Intelligence Report, Going Beyond the Benchmark features insight from HR and diversity leaders at organisations like M&S, Marriott International, CoOp, DHL and GM; who discuss some of the pioneering strategies they are implementing to embed D&I in their organisations.
Another useful resource is the CIPD’s Diversity & Inclusion knowledge hub which provides reports, guides, factsheets and podcasts that help employers navigate around how to successfully promote equal opportunities and manage inclusion and diversity in the workplace.
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