Taking the issue of Diversity & Inclusion (DIC) seriously will lead to more productive businesses in the long-run.
This was the opinion voiced by Patrice Palmer, director, Social and Cultural Inclusion at Colorado State University College of Business, at the Navex Global Risk & Compliance 2020 global conference.
Speaking as part of the panel session Beyond the Moment: Creating Sustainable Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Programs, Palmer said that “when folks feel a sense of belonging their productivity goes up because their morale goes up”.
Discussing the issue of self-identification surveys, Chai Feldblum, partner at law firm Morgan Lewis, said that “more clients are asking about LGBQT and disability because both are not manifest. People say ‘why am I being asked?’ but that is because the employer cares”.
“You may see folks fill in a plethora of things that were not being asked,” said Palmer, adding that “inclusion is part of setting the stage… if you only look at how many different people you have, you are missing the sense of belonging”.
Palmer addressed the issue of race and ethnicity by suggesting that “black is more global than being a black American”, noting that “folks of colour have always been able to survive the infrastructures that they are in; now is the time to thrive”.
The panellists noted that increasing attention is now being paid by business to diversity and inclusion issues thanks to social justice protests; while businesses’ ethical practices now receive comparatively more scrutiny from Millennial and Generation Z employees.
Indeed, these generations constitute half of the current labour force; by 2030, they will comprise 75%.
Earlier this month UK Insurers launched a concerted campaign to drive diversity in the workplace as the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and 32 of its members become part of the first wave of insurance and long-term savings firms signed up to Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter.
The charter is designed to drive better outcomes for Black, Asian and minority ethnic employees in the workplace. It consists of five principles to ensure organisations address the barriers to recruitment and progression. Organisations that sign up to the charter commit to:
- Appointing an Executive Sponsor for race
- Capturing data and publicising progress
- Ensuring zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
- Making equality in the workplace the responsibility of all leaders and managers
- Taking action that supports ethnic minority career progression
At the time of the launch Huw Evans, ABI director-general, said: “Making our industry more representative of the customers we serve is vital, but we also need to focus on how we retain and develop talent and create the kind of inclusive environment that people want to be part of.”
“Whilst we’ve made progress as an industry on issues like gender equality, we know overall that progress is too slow. It’s time to step up our efforts and it’s fantastic to see how many of our members have committed to taking action.”