How has diversity evolved over the past decade?
Stephen Frost, head of diversity and inclusion, KPMG (SF): Diversity thinking and practice hasn’t evolved enough over the past decade and that’s part of the current challenge. Diversity is a reality, inclusion is a choice. There are three main paradigms before us today: Diversity 101 (compliance-based change), Diversity 2.0 (marketing-led change) and real inclusion (Inclusion 3.0, a systems approach). Whereas a few organisations have moved on from Diversity 101 and a few from Diversity 2.0, many are still stuck in a compliance or marketing-led paradigm that is ill-equipped to deal with current commercial realities.
It’s important for businesses to be diverse and inclusive for five main reasons – customer relevance, employee recruitment, productivity, decision-making and ethics. Different reasons will resonate with different people and different organisations depending on their purpose.
Charles Thompson, founder, BP’s Positively Ethnic Network and 2014 Race for Opportunity Champion (CT): There has certainly been a significant shift in BP in the past decade on diversity issues. Most people are now aware of what diversity means to them on a personal level and how it contributes to the richness of the company. It’s important for businesses to be diverse if they want to recruit from the very best of talent available to them. Diversity allows business to incentivise their existing workforce to strive to do better and it helps to drive performance when employees can see someone like themselves at senior levels within the organisation.