Actions to drive real D&I results in 2022

A growing number of employers are investing previously unseen amounts of time, effort, and money into achieving meaningful change when it comes to diversity and inclusion (D&I). Those efforts have reached new levels since 2020, and it is important now to consider whether the results represent a major cultural shift, or have been largely cosmetic.

In a recent webinar, PageGroup hosted a panel of experts to discuss the successes, failures, and lessons of businesses' D&I drives over the past 18 months. The session was hosted by PageGroup's UK Director of D&I Sheri Hughes, and featured contributions from:

  • Allison MacQuire, Head of Talent Acquisition and D&I, Eversheds Sutherland
  • Marcus Riddell, Director of Strategic Partnerships, NHS Professionals
  • Aggie Mutuma, Chief Executive Officer, Mahogany Inclusion Partners
  • Ollie Thorn, D&I Client Manager, PageGroup
  • Bolu Faseun, D&I Client Lead, PageGroup

To watch the full on-demand webinar, please register here.

Why does D&I matter?

Morality and fairness are fundamental driving forces behind D&I trends. But D&I isn’t just an ethical concern - there are also growing legal pressures making it a priority. For example, initiatives like gender pay gap reporting have made gender disparities a matter of public record. 

There are strong business cases to be made for D&I too, since it has been shown to improve business outcomes, innovation and performance. Through positive action, businesses can tackle perceived imbalances head-on and ensure that everyone is on a level playing field. 

Of course, it is also essential to ensure that this permeates the entire organisation, from hiring to development and progression. By adopting end-to-end D&I policies, you will also bring more original thinking into your workforce.

Giving D&I support to minority groups

Supporting diverse and minority groups and individuals within your workforce helps everyone to achieve their greatest potential, which in turn delivers the maximum value for your company.

D&I campaigns need to identify real-world underrepresentation, so that targeted measures can be taken to provide additional support to specific roles and management levels. D&I is an investment in your own internal workforce, either by supporting existing employees or by adjusting your recruitment policies, so that change can add up over time.

D&I should be driven by leadership. Likewise, leadership itself should be diverse, and diverse groups within your workforce should be given a role in governance. This will show that your organisation believes in change, and keep employees at all levels engaged with your efforts.

Q&A: Practical tips from experts on D&I

Webinar attendees on the day had the opportunity to raise questions with the expert panel. Here are some of the highlights from the discussion:

How advanced is our understanding of D&I?

Aggie: "It's not as advanced as we'd like it to be. There are many reasons why this matters. Most individuals value fairness and don’t want to cause harm. But as well as this, diverse leadership teams yield better results. Even without looking at the numbers, it’s clear that people with different perspectives and ways of thinking can get better results when they serve a wider population. Many organisations that we know and trust have been working on this for years - decades, actually - and the case is just getting stronger and stronger."

How does positive action address imbalances?

Allison: "There has been discrimination for many years when it comes to race, gender, socioeconomic background - many different dimensions. Positive action is about addressing that imbalance. It doesn't mean you don't want a white man, but that you want diversity of thought in the candidate pool. Those who have historically had the privilege often feel uncomfortable, but while you're trying to bring the unprivileged up to the same level, you're not taking anything away. You're just getting everyone to the same level."

What potential challenges are associated with D&I policies?

Marcus: "One problem is gaming the system by bringing diverse talent in in from outside, when there are plenty of diverse candidates internally who are now missing out on progression opportunities. This also matters because people then won’t feel a part of the organisation, which impacts the quality of the service provided."

At PageGroup, we regularly help our clients to hire top talent fast, with diversity and inclusion in mind. For an introductory conversation with one of our specialist consultants.

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