ESG is here to stay, so diversity, equity and inclusion in the workforce is an issue that has gained plenty of prominence throughout the professional world these days.
This could not have been made clearer following our webinar in early September alongside The Danos Group in the UK, who offered us plenty of tips and advice on how to make your organisation more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
A huge thank you to both Isabel Anchebe, Senior Associate, EMEA Compliance, and Head of D&I Committee, and Maame Eshun, Senior Associate, EMEA Head of In-House Legal, and Head of D&I Committee, at The Danos Group for talking to us about these issues and providing us with plenty of practical tips and exercises on how to follow through with this.
The event’s transcript is now available to all of our members, so make sure to check it out below.
For now, enjoy some of the webinar’s main highlights!
What are the benefits if you look at diversity, equity, and inclusion?
Danos Group: There are various statistics which have, time and time again, proven that D, E & I is of essence within the workforce. Some of these studies, including a Harvard Business School survey that was put together, showed that companies with more diverse workforce were up to 69% more likely to be profitable as an organization and up to 91% of them also showed that they had greater customer satisfaction.
Another part of D, E & I is innovation, so actually when different groups of people come together, they come together with different sets of experiences, different perspective and views, which all help in developing new ideas and coming up with a business strategy that will ultimately benefit everyone.
Also with D, E & I, it’s always a case of when you have diverse individuals within your company, you attract more diverse individuals, it is just the order of things.
Equity vs Equality?
Danos Group: Equality is when two things are of the same value. So to treat two people or two groups of people equally, we make sure they have the same thing. For example, if I want to give my colleague some apples, I need to give my other colleague the same number of apples to treat them both equally.
However, this is not the same as equity. Equity can be defined as giving everyone what they need to be successful, so it’s not giving everyone the same thing. This is very key, and it’s important to remember that if we give everyone the exact same thing expecting that will make them equal, then it assumes that everyone actually started off in the same place, which unfortunately is just not the case… Over time, we think being fair means that everyone gets the same thing, and I think that’s just because growing up, that’s what we were taught, that if everyone gets the same thing, it’s all fair. But, in reality, fairness really works when we all actually start up at the same place. So I think it’s very important that you know this is a new idea, a new way that many of us need to start thinking about.
What are some of the main challenges that organizations face when they're trying to actually put together these D, E & I initiatives or programs?
Isabel Anchebe: I’ll be honest with you, one of the main challenges that you see and this is from just talking to some clients who’ve had this before, some people just don’t get the importance, so it’s hard to implement something and roll out initiatives when people don’t actually understand what D, E & I is and why we need to do it. So I think that’s been a challenge that a lot of firms have faced; it’s we want to do this but some of the senior managers just don’t see the point, and one of the things we say to clients if they’re ever in that situation is, education is key.
So one of the things we rolled out at Danos is we have this thing where every now and then we send an educational piece globally where we just talk about so many different matters, it could be specific to a particular unrepresented group, it could be something to do with well-being, but we send these emails out and we hold discussions where people have the opportunity to understand a bit more what D, E & I is because we truly believe that if you know what it means and you understand how it affects you, then you’ll want to roll out these initiatives without being forced to.
Have you got any tips on how to discuss the fact that as an organization we want to be focused on hiring more female and ethnic minorities, particularly if you're a predominantly white male leadership team?
Maame Eshun: I think one thing that keeps coming time and time again is inclusion because if you don’t have your inclusion piece done as an organization, what will happen is you will hire female talent and you hire also ethnic minorities and they won’t stay because the policies that you have are favouring the people you have internally, which is the white Cis males. So making sure that you have that down is so key. But also things like the job ads that I mentioned earlier having inclusive language. There are actually studies which have shown that when you put an ad up and you have certain language versus another one which is more favourable to women or diverse ethnicities, you do get a high response rate from certain groups. So it’s addressing all those things hopefully.