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Understanding the Diversity Dividend

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In a packed auditorium at Henley Business School, business leaders heard from Shaun Scantlebury, Director of the Diversity and Inclusivity advisory practice at EY relate his own journey towards leadership, and the issues he faced around the lack of relevant role models.

"No-one I saw in leadership was like me," he recalled, "and this inhibits the belief that you can contribute and thrive."

Increasingly, Shaun came to realise that whilst diversity can yield greater revenue, higher levels of creativity and collaboration, increased market share, improved retention and enhanced margins, multicultural teams are also more likely to experience miscommunication. So it was clear to him that representation was, in itself, not enough to stimulate meaningful change.

"It comes down to the experience gained, and the nub of this experience is a sense of belonging", Shaun concluded. "This runs through the whole process, from recruitment to performance management. People need to feel a part of something."

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Focusing on quantifying ‘the diversity dividend’, Shaun cited research that indicated how more diverse organisations had benefitted from improved performance:

  • 6-point higher gross margin
  • 10-point higher revenue growth
  • 7-point higher employee retention

(sources: The Corporate Leadership Council; HBR ‘The neuroscience of trust’; The Centre for Talent & Innovation)

Shaun also shared his experience of helping businesses to accelerate change, and the premiums enjoyed by companies with diverse and inclusive leadership, including greater innovation, and ideas being far more likely to be realised.

Published 10 July 2019
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