How diversity and inclusion are a positive force for business.

My business operates in areas where you get a lot of eye-rolling. Health and Safety. HR. There’s a tendency among audiences — not the people we work with, but the people they’re trying to reach — to heave a sigh and think ‘here we go again’.

Health and safety? Just box-ticking. HR policies? Just corporate political correctness. But here’s the thing: there’s no ‘just’ about it.

Box ticking has its place in business, in the sense that there are certain things we all should absolutely do to keep our people, premises and wider communities safe and well.

Political correctness isn’t a negative, provided policies are genuinely designed to create a clear, fair, equal, and respectful working environment.

Let’s take an example: diversity and inclusion. It’s one that tends to trigger the sceptics. The ones who think ‘why can’t we all just be people and leave it at that?’

A decent D&I policy and programme highlights the fact that we can’t leave it at that, because not all people are treated equally. Not all people are treated fairly. Not all people feel comfortable at work or have the opportunity to contribute in the way they’d like.

Let’s take two of the simplest examples of under-representation in the workplace. A 2018 McKinsey survey showed an average of 21% of women in staff or line executive roles — more than three times fewer women than men. In the US, only 12% of people on the executive team are from minority ethnic backgrounds. In the UK it’s just 7%.

And that’s before we even start to think about people with disabilities, people who are LGBTQ+, older people — and younger people, for that matter. The job of a good D&I policy and programme is to think about fair and equal representation for everyone in the workplace, and to create it. Not only because it’s politically correct. Not only because it’s the right thing to do. But also because it offers actual, measurable business benefits.

The McKinsey survey shows that companies with greater gender or ethnic and cultural diversity on their executive teams were 21% and 33% more likely to achieve above-average profitability respectively. PriceWaterhouseCooper, in the introduction to their global D&I survey, say:

“Organisations that invest in diversity report seeing a number of advantages, such as an increased ability to attract talent, greater innovation, and improved financial performance.”

For that to happen, the people working for the company have to feel like D&I is a real thing, not simply an exercise in political correctness for its own sake. PwC say that happens when the company’s leaders are actively engaged in the process.

In other words, when they understand it and are able to communicate it across the board. When they set reasonable targets and take responsibility for achieving them. When they know what the benefits are, and share them with others. When they actively encourage a culture of diversity and inclusion as a fundamental part of the business.

And that (at last) is where we come in. Because that kind of communication, understanding, education and goal-setting is what we do. We’re here to help you develop a communications programme and strategy that supports your D&I goals.

That means thinking beyond the basic brief. It means considering what changes you want to make, and how you want to make them. It means creating buy-in from the top down, engaging the leaders across the organisation so they can take an active role in communicating implementing your strategy.

Essentially, it’s about helping you to tell the story of why you want to be better at D&I. Why it's important to the company and its people. How you’re going to get there. What people need to do. Who’s going to be involved.

It’s about creating the relatable, inclusive, authentic language you need to get past the eye-rolls and into engagement. Making a space for D&I education and conversation. Positioning it as an automatic consideration in everything you do.

We’ll help you develop that language. Create the learning materials. Find and make use of the communication channels. Identify opportunities for conversation. Create change. And yes, on top of that, we’ll make you some communication materials look amazing. Diverse and inclusive? It’s what we are.

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