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Equality: all mouth and no trousers

Our recent Diversity and Inclusion survey of over 200 executives, directors, senior managers and general managers across the public and private sectors showed that whilst almost 100% of respondents had a diversity and inclusion policy, only 12% strongly agreed that it was a priority of their organisation and just over 19% agreed that it was embedded in the company culture. 

The numbers get even more interesting as we split the public and private sector responses. When asked whether their Board or top tier managers were committed to diversity and inclusion, Public sector respondents agreed that more than 62% of top tier managers were committed whilst only 37% of the Board in the Private sector were. When it comes to actual action though both sectors scored similarly with 21% of Private sectors respondents stating their Boards were all talk and no action whilst 20% of Public sector respondents believed the same.  A case of all mouth and no trousers? 

These are scary statistics. The survey clearly shows that companies are abiding by the law when it comes to developing a diversity and inclusion policy but they have yet take on board the important message of the benefits of implementing such a policy throughout their organisations. This is despite a plethora of research detailing the benefits of diversity and none more so that the 2013 paper from BIS “The business Case for Diversity and Equality”

The key findings of this extensive piece of research clearly showed that organisations and companies reaped business benefits from developing and embedding diversity and inclusion into their business strategies. The problem was however that few companies considered this when developing their business and development strategies. 

It appears that the message still isn’t getting out there. In our research whilst 64% of Public sector respondents said that diversity and inclusion policies were linked to strategy, this reduced to 37% in the Private sector. 

We all agree that diversity and inclusion polices should no longer be seen as a HR issue but more of an important part of the strategic development and strength of companies. Employing a diverse workforce means the company can easily tap into this talent pool. Many companies in the past didn’t and they are no longer with us. They’re history. 

So, how do we as HR professionals encourage our companies and organisations to stop paying lip service to diversity and inclusion and get it taken seriously at Board level?

How do we move from less head nodding to a “rolling-up-of-the-sleeves” approach and action? 


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