Apprenticeship Levy, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

Building diverse and inclusive workplaces in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: insights from the Management 4.0 project

03 December 2019 by Isla Lightfoot

Society is becoming more diverse; the demands and expectations of employees and consumers are changing; and rapid technological advancement is disrupting business practices, transforming the workplace and creating new industries at an unprecedented pace. For businesses to be globally competitive, it has never been more important to utilise all of the talent available. The business benefits of a diverse workforce are well documented. Diversity and inclusion (D&I) leads to better employee engagement, faster decision making, greater creativity and innovation. This in turn leads to increased profits: in a McKinsey & Company study of 180 companies in UK, France, Germany and US, they found that those with more diverse top teams were also top financial performers. [1]

Progress has undoubtedly been made towards building a diverse workforce, with more women, Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals and older workers than ever before. This trend is set to continue. Technology is making it easier than ever to make the workplace more accessible to under-represented groups. From tools that make the recruitment process more accessible in the first place - for example, ‘talking technology’ - to video conferencing and online collaboration tools that facilitate flexible working, technology is changing the way businesses operate and opening up the doors to more and more people.

But there remain huge challenges in terms of harnessing the power of diversity. Women are still massively under-represented in senior roles and top management positions. And CMI’s Delivering Diversity [2] report shows that just 6% of top management positions are held by BAME men and women, despite BAME people making up 14% of the UK population. So what can managers and leaders do to address this disparity?

Our roundtable discussion, held by CMI and Corndel, was attended by a number of diversity and inclusion experts from members Planet Organic, Mercer, University of London, UBS Bank, Keeldeep Associates and Pivigo. It was agreed that there are a number of actions that company leaders and managers can take in creating and maintaining a diverse workforce in 2020 and beyond, including; how to address unconscious bias; adopting D&I technology and examples of D&I tools; avoiding over-reliance on technology; getting leadership buy in; reconsidering hiring practises; the end-to-end employee experience; establishing targeted career development initiatives; creating a ‘psychologically safe’ environment.

Download our Insight Report to read the discussions, conclusions and useful further reading sources.

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