Be yourself. Be different
24 January 2016
I was thrilled to hear that PwC has jumped to number 11 in Stonewall’s Top-100 places for LGBT people to work. This is a huge leap for us of 71 places from last year’s 82nd position. Stonewall is a leading charity whose mission is “to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people, in the UK and abroad”.
This news prompted me to put some thoughts down on diversity and inclusion more generally. Diversity is a topic that has been coming up with our clients more and more frequently. It’s not just a UK or US or Asia issue, it’s a global issue –and it’s not only about gender or sexual orientation – it’s much broader than that. We need to all be aware of what workplace diversity really means and understand where the opportunity lies for organisations.
Diversity in the workplace fosters increased creativity and innovation, which will be critical to ensure that organisations are future-proofed from disruption caused by technology and other factors. Diversity is also critical to remaining relevant to the evolving consumer base and markets that organisations serve and to attracting the non-traditional talent that will be critical for survival in a rapidly changing digital age. And this is not just wishful thinking – there have been a number of studies that have demonstrated conclusively that the more diversity companies have on their boards, the more successful they are.
Organisations need to access the right data and be equipped to analyse it effectively in order to capitalise on the business opportunities presented by a diverse workforce. It’s also essential to consistently monitor whether their current initiatives are really making a difference.
Developing the right environment is key - people perform better when they can bring their whole selves to work. Leaders who better understand the lives and experiences of their people, not only their gender and ethnicity but also their different working styles and approaches, are far more effective at creating an environment where everyone can be the best they can be. Those leaders are also better equipped to make decisions that consider a broader more inclusive perspective.
As organisations transform it’s a time for extraordinary leadership. HR has a crucial role to play, working alongside business leaders, to set and deliver the right people strategy for the future.
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