A recent survey by DNV reveals that a growing number of companies are beginning to put diversity and inclusion (D&I) on the corporate agenda, and that a D&I company performs better overall, however few companies see D&I as business critical.
“Research shows that organizations embracing inclusivity are eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes and companies with more diverse leadership teams report higher innovative revenue,” says Barbara Frencia, CEO of business assurance in DNV. “Our study revealed that few have yet to connect diversity and inclusion to business performance. Awareness is increasing, but D&I is not core to how they operate. Thus, most companies today are far from gaining business benefits, yet.”
- As many as 88% believe that a more diverse company is also a better performing company; however, only 32% see D&I as business critical. Company focus seems to be on improving culture, recruitment and company reputation. Only 29% see increased innovation as a main benefit of structured implementation. Even fewer have their eyes set on new business opportunities (28%).
- Most respondents indicate D&I to be important and part of the company agenda and business strategy. Digging deeper, only a few seem to deploy tangible actions in a structured way and less than one in three companies have set a company-wide policy. About half (51.9%) have instead limited their policy to a pilot or single initiative, indicating a focus on specific actions rather than a holistic company approach.
- Across all respondents, 41.8% have principles and objectives included in company policies, but only 36.8% have accountabilities and responsibilities spelled out. Even fewer measure impact of actions (20%).
“Clearly, there is a need to step up if business benefits are to be grasped. Making D&I core to how the company does business is essential. Applying a structured approach to implement, measure and scale actions makes it tangible. There is excellent guidance available in D&I standards such as ISO 30415. The way to advance on D&I, making sure it contributes to your business performance, it is not really different from how you incorporate and address issues such as quality or environmental management,” says Frencia.
ISO 30415 – Human Resource Management – Diversity and Inclusion – is a relatively new standard published in May 2021. The standard provides a framework that every organization can adopt to integrate D&I in their processes.