Despite nearly 500 LGBT+ events being cancelled or postponed this year due to Covid-19, Pride Month remains as important as ever with its message of acceptance ringing no truer than now. At the same time, the Black Lives Matter movement has challenged the world on its mistreatment of the black community, highlighting that we still have a long way to go in achieving a fair and equal society. The movement has forced businesses around the world to look at their own history, behaviours and actions to reassess whether they truly implement diversity and inclusivity practices throughout their companies. One thing is for certain, this is not the time for D&I to take a back seat.
Fast Company, NBC and The Drum, to name just a few publications, have reported throughout the pandemic on companies cutting diversity and inclusion budgets, staff and support as they enter crisis mode.
Reports from the National Women’s Law Centre and Barnett Waddingham have highlighted that those who D&I measures are meant to protect and support have been the worst effected by furloughs and redundancies. So how and why has D&I been deemed ‘non-essential’ and the first to be cut from business plans?
Some have claimed that government measures have made it hard for companies to be held to account with the Government Equalities Office (GEO) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) suspending gender pay gap regulations this year for the first time since its introduction in 2017. Or perhaps companies are failing to see how crucial people are to their resilience?
Something businesses in the B Corp community already know to be true and is now becoming clearer for the wider corporate sector: thosewho make short term objectives and fail to place people at the heart of the decision, will suffer the consequences. Recent reports from McKinsey revealed that companies with the most gender-diverse executive teams were 21% more likely to have industry lead profitability, and companies with ethnically and culturally diverse executive teams were 33% more likely to outperform on profitability. The most telling statistic is that companies in the bottom quartile for both gender as well as ethnic and cultural diversity were 29% less likely to achieve above-average profitability.
In times of crisis, companies that endorse workplace diversity and inclusion not only survive but can even thrive. Research from Great Place to Work has shown that companies with consistently inclusive workplaces thrived before, during, and after the Great Recession, earning a four times annualised return.
The business case for diversity and inclusion could not be any clearer, it has been proven time and time again that a diverse workforce leads to greater innovation, creativity and profitability.
For Gong Communications, encouraging truly diverse and inclusive workforces and cultures has been important to us throughout our 15 year history. A certified B-Corp since 2017, our core business is targeted at supporting clients who are focussed on positive impact for planet, people as well as profit.
We have had the pleasure of playing a part in the diversity and inclusion journey of the insurance sector, through our work with Lloyd’s of London and the Dive In Festival – the festival of diversity and inclusion within the insurance sector, now in its 6th year. When Inclusion@Lloyd’s came to us in 2015, asking us to help in bringing to life the first sector-wide diversity and inclusion festival, we saw the opportunity to be part of something special.
Since that first year, the festival has grown exponentially from its origin in London and now takes place in over 60 cities and 30 countries world-wide, attracting more than 10,000 people. But it is not all about the numbers. Powerful personal stories at the Dive In festival have also made it easier to normalise discussions about issues such as gender equality, family care responsibilities and mental wellbeing at work.
It has prompted organisations to implement initiatives and policies designed to create a more inclusive workplace culture. Last year Lloyd’s issued its trans and non-binary inclusion guide, a 29-page document offering advice to people working within the insurance sector about how to foster a “stable emotional working environment” for trans and non-binary colleagues. Aviva revised its policy for trans people to become more inclusive, now allowing the parents of trans children time off to support the transition.
As a leading diversity communications PR agency in the UK, we’ve long understood that fostering diversity and inclusivity is not only the right thing to do, but should be at the heart of a company’s strategy and is the key to continued corporate resilience.