Nearly two years on from the BLM protests, companies of all sizes are failing to enact the cultural and operational changes that they promised at the time, according to a new Inclusive Growth report from business agility experts, Agility in Mind.
The playbook includes an audit of the FTSE100 which finds that despite almost all (99%) having an inclusive mission statement, nearly half (48%) have only one or fewer positive DEI initiatives. Only 4% of companies offer a substantial neurodiversity initiative.
This news comes as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has just announced requirements for listed companies to report against targets for female and ethnic minority representation on boards and in exec management. And with good reason; the audit exposes that the FTSE100 companies which are performing worst in terms of DEI are also the ones with the lowest Glassdoor scores – of the 16 companies with a score of 3.5 or less, 13 offer no DEI initiatives.
Companies with the most DEI initiatives include ITV, Admiral, Sainsbury’s, Autotrader Group, Centrica, BT Group, Coca Cola, Burberry, Aviva and Angle American.
Business leaders explore the roadblocks
To explore the disparity between intention and action in DEI further, Agility in Mind conducted a survey of 250 UK business leaders in partnership with global research house, Censuswide. The results suggest that one in three (30%) business leaders believe a lack of knowledge regarding diversity initiatives’ importance holds them back from having the desired impact. Over a quarter (26%) believe a lack of awareness regarding how companywide change can be implemented is the key reason behind the mixed success.
Michelle Meakin, Business Services Director at Agility in Mind said, ‘Building a truly diverse and inclusive culture is laden with challenges, but our audit reveals that many well-intentioned leaders have pledges and goals to reach it. What we are seeing is that most are struggling to enact the type of top-down organisational change that is required to be successful – and that the pace of real action even amongst public-facing companies is very slow. That’s why Agility in Mind is providing a framework for this transition so that business leaders can implement positive and meaningful changes with genuine impact.’
An agile framework for change
The Inclusive Growth playbook offers a six-step agile framework for managers struggling to implement this type of organisational change.
- Remember your organisation is unique, so merely copying others will not necessarily achieve the organisation you want to be.
- Begin with inclusivity in mind, bringing a diverse set of views into a multidisciplinary team managing change.
- Set out the characteristics of the organisation you want and share a clear vision for the future.
- Work incrementally, taking small steps that achieve real change, aligned always with the vision you have.
- Iterate, ensuring you learn at each step, and share the lessons across the organisation.
- Make change visible to all so everyone knows the progress you’re making.]
Business leaders appear to have an appetite for further change, with a third of those (33%) surveyed saying that more training for managers would help to improve the effectiveness of DEI policies. This rises to nearly two in five (38%) in larger organisations of over 500 employees.
Toby Mildon, Agility in Mind consultant and published DEI expert said, ‘As businesses around the UK largely move from survival mode to growth strategies, leaders must take the time to design an inclusivity infrastructure that can boost retention by keeping staff happy and aligned with organisational growth.
“Key to this is creating a positive culture which improves productivity and performance as it scales. The Inclusive Growth Playbook will arm managers with the keys to empower their workforce and help their organisation thrive commercially and ethically.’