To adapt to the dynamic business ecosystem, organisations are increasingly recognising the significance and urgency of fostering inclusion and diversity (I&D) in the workplace. According to McKinsey & Company, global spending on I&D initiatives is projected to reach approximately £13 billion by 2026, doubling within a five-year span.
The social imperative is a key driver for I&D’s prominence on the business leaders’ agenda. The Edelman Trust Barometer 2023 revealed that people perceive business institutions as the leading voice on ethics and trust to address global challenges, including employment equality, pay gaps, and people’s experiences across various representation groups.
Moreover, there is a compelling business case for I&D, as research consistently demonstrates that inclusive and diverse workplaces drive better decision-making, innovation, business growth, and profitability.
HSM Advisory’s Inclusion & Diversity Framework outlines three key stages to drive I&D progress within organisations. Let’s explore each stage with a few brief case studies:
(1) Identify Outcomes – Break down I&D into a number of tangible outcomes. Accenture prioritised I&D and pursued gender parity as a key outcome. They aimed for a 50/50 gender balance by 2025 as part of their bold goals to accelerate gender equality, implementing strategies like bias training, flexible work arrangements, and diverse candidate slates. Accenture’s efforts resulted in significant progress in increasing women’s representation in the workforce and leadership roles.
(2) Understand Challenges – Explore why I&D is difficult to get right in your organisation. Netflix assessed their I&D gaps through data analysis and employee surveys. They identified challenges such as systemic issues that excluded certain groups from the industry. To address this, they partnered with universities to examine the inclusion metrics and organised bootcamps to create more pathways for underrepresented talent to step into the tech world. Netflix also implemented targeted solutions like employee resource groups (ERG), mentorship programmes and leadership development initiatives to close these gaps and enhance the sense of belonging in their people.
(3) Take Action – Coordinate action across all levels to drive sustainable change. Salesforce took action at multiple levels. At the individual level, they leveraged ERGs for to help people connect with each other and share knowledge across a diverse range of experiences. At the team level, they developed an internal learning portal and provided online training on diversity and inclusion for their people. At the leadership level, CEO Marc Benioff advocated for diversity and inclusion publicly, prioritising it within the company culture. Lastly, at the organisational level, Salesforce implemented a comprehensive diversity hiring programme with a strong emphasis on representation across groups and tied their executive compensation to ESG (environment, social and governance) goals.