‘That doesn’t seem to be a good reason to have a D&I strategy?’
This is what I told Tom when he explained to me his rationale of why he wants to establish a D&I strategy.
I asked him, ‘How does it connect to their business strategy?’
Tom said, ‘what does D&I strategy need to do with the business strategy?’
Then I asked him, ‘What does he want to achieve with the D&I strategy?’
Tom said, ‘We want to be a progressive firm, and I see all our competitors have a D&I strategy?’
‘If you establish a D&I strategy, where will you focus your efforts on? What strands of D&I will be your top priority?’ when I said that, Tom was quiet for a bit, and he was curious to dwell deeper into this discussion.
We had a great discussion, and in the end, Tom got a sense of what was missing.
I often see such examples where organisations are looking at D&I as the badge that will help them position well, without having a clear linkage to the business strategy and clarifying where and how to focus their D&I efforts.
In particular, I have observed that in Asian companies, the focus on D&I is very new, and HR heads are looking at ways to design and embed it. So the major challenge is how do you move away from making it a tick box exercise on D&I efforts instead of embedding D&I in the culture of the organisations.
I wouldn’t say it is easy, or I know of a magic wand to do that; however, a structured approach to building your D&I strategy is required, and the work just gets started as you do that.
2018 research from McKinsey shows, greater diversity in the workforce results in greater profitability and value creation. So the ‘alignment’ to your companies purpose & business strategy and the ‘value’ it can generate and two critical considerations for you to keep in mind when you need to influence your leaders to design a D&I strategy. I hope that sets you at the right start of your D&I journey.
So, where are you on your D&I strategy and priorities today? What are the challenges you are facing? And what successes have you achieved?
Please share experiences on these questions and what resonates with you the most from the article.
Here are my other useful reads on D&I: