For so long, DE&I has been considered peripheral to the main activity of an organisation. Recent research from S&P 500 showed that only 27% of the top companies have a chief Diversity Officer on the board, and the topic appeared at the bottom of the board agenda, behind issues such as: Increasing Market Share; Product/Service Innovation; Finding and Retaining the Right Talent; M&A; Penetrating New Markets, Joint Ventures & Managing Geopolitical Uncertainty.
And yet, there is ample research to show the impact to the organisation of DE&I on some of the key business metrics https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/why-diversity-matters, such as up to:
+56% better Operating Results
+41% increase in Return on Equity
+37% improvement on performance
+15% gain in profitability
+40% rise in staff retention
+30% advance in innovation
All of this shows that implementing a well defined DE&I strategy is not only of vital importance to improvements across different aspects of an organisation, but clearly justifying the #businesscase for action, requiring serious and proper attention from ALL members of the board.
DE&I should not be considered the sole responsibility of someone in HR, but rather ownership from all board members to realise both the social and financial benefit to the organisation.
What have been your challenges of getting board-level accountability and ownership?