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Promoting Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) for Business Success

January 11, 2023

The CIPD, as ever a useful point of reference, clearly articulates the case for EDI.

To be competitive, organisations need everyone who works for them to make their best contribution

Simple.  Obvious even, so why are we seeing that their survey results tell a different story with under half of employers surveyed reporting they have an Inclusion and Diversity strategy.  Of these, not all are evaluated for effectiveness, only 76%.  All business owners and CEOs want their businesses to be as effective and profitable as possible so what are the reasons behind this disconnect.  

It would seem even if there is a will the way isn’t always clear and more often than not this comes down to culture and organisations not knowing what they don’t know, doing what they have always done.  Our friends at Diversity and Ability are experts in helping organisations make the shifts that matter.

December featured a very depressing article in a right-wing newspaper, where after a number of FOI requests the paper was demanding to know why public money and in particular NHS money was being spent on EDI staff and practice.  If our public institutions are to benefit from the widest possible talent pool this investment is so necessary to accelerate the journey towards full diversity and inclusion.

Why diversity makes sense

Working towards diversity and making it possible is not only the right thing to do it makes good business sense.  The 2018 study by the Boston Consulting Group featured in the Harvard Business Review revealed that of the 1,700 companies surveyed those with above average total diversity (the study looked at gender, age, nationality as well as career path, industry background and education) had significantly higher innovation revenues, i.e. income from new products and ideas. 19% in fact, which makes complete sense.

Deloitte too has done interesting research into this space and demonstrates in its research the values of diverse thinking. A stark, 20% increase in innovation and a 30% reduction in risk.  Engaging a diverse group in problem solving or decision making is going to give you more options, ideas and perspectives, again it makes clear logical sense.

Inclusion is the key

Someone recently told me that diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance. I love this analogy and think we should all have the chance to dance, to contribute, to really be part of the team.

December also saw an interesting piece in HR Grapevine highlighting the need for inclusivity as well as diversity, and it is a point well made. Diversity is perhaps easier to measure but inclusivity, embedding within culture is the key to success ensuring everyone is engaged and no one is excluded.

The same Deloitte research also created a useful model for a successful journey to full inclusion based on four key stages:

  1. Fairness and Respect
  2. Valued and Belonging
  3. Safe and Open
  4. Empowered and Growing

We recognise these principles in the work we do at Employee Feedback, the language varies but the fundamentals remain true, culture is critical to achieving effective EDI policies that translate into action, accountability, and results.  

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