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How can we create more diverse and inclusive working environments?

Over the recent months, we’ve heard a lot of organisations say they are committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace, but the question is how can companies impact their workforce and use their platforms to create a more diverse and inclusive environment?

The latest data from our Global survey and our key findings for Europe indicate that 76% of respondents say D&I is a stated value or priority, but 36% still feel that there are greater barriers to progression for diverse employees in their organisations. Our analysis suggests that leaders and employees lack a shared understanding of what programmes are already in place and where there are opportunities for improvement. We see this across several critical areas:

D&I Programme

While 61% of European organisations surveyed leveraged their D&I programme goals to attract talent, comply with legal requirements or enhance external reputation, only 21% are connecting them to achieving business results. And only 15% of organisations have adopted a programme structure with a C-Suite D&I leader, which has significant impact in programme success.

Organisation Accountability

Our survey shows that only 26% of European Organisations' Leaders have specific D&I goals. This means that organisations are not making their leaders accountable for tracking progress or meeting D&I goals.

Training programmes

Only 39% of European organisations are still focussing their training on overcoming unconscious bias. Others are moving on to providing training on managing diverse populations, embedding inclusive behaviours and embracing difference.

Affinity networks

The role of affinity networks and resource groups has been a key driver of D&I programmes. But while the majority (66%) of European organisations surveyed have affinity groups, they are missing an opportunity to tap into them as a business resource to inform decision-making, gain customer insights and drive business priorities.

So what next?

Many companies make the mistake of going straight into solutions and initiatives, they create D&I programmes and training, but what they need to consider is the root cause of challenges for their own organisation. This also leads to frustration when they aren't having the desired impact and results in a poor ROI. We have highlighted 2 tips to focus on to accelerate D&I initiatives:


Use data to diagnose and drive change

Most organisations track at least some employee demographics (e.g. gender), but significantly fewer measure discrepancies in compensation, performance, or promotions based on these attributes. Few also collect and analyse data on other aspects of diversity, such as ethnicity. Fewer still take active steps to measure experiences of inclusion within their organisations. Without this data, we simply cannot tell which interventions and investments will actually move the dial in supporting diversity and reinforcing the inclusive behaviours and culture that will drive real change. It is encouraging to see more UK companies choose to voluntarily report data in relation to ethnicity andd ethnicity pay gaps. Reporting will demonstrate organisations ongoing commitment to meeting their diversity and inclusion goals and driving gender/ethnic balance in their workforces.


Putting change in the context of your wider business strategy

Our “Are you missing millions?” report highlights the starting point for strategic inclusivity as treating it in the same way as any other business imperative, such as sales or customer experience. If you don't think about the diversity of your customers, you're missing out on a whole segment you could potentially sell to. Organisations should identify any gaps in services they provide and use data to help create key performance indicators (KPIs) to inform decision making, track performance and drive continuous innovation. This will in turn ensure accountability for commercial and societal inclusion and build this into leadership objectives, appraisals and incentives.  

Contact us

Brenda Trenowden CBE

Brenda Trenowden CBE

Partner, Diversity & Inclusion Consulting, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7483 329718

Katy Bennett

Katy Bennett

Diversity and Inclusion Consulting Director, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7715 211210

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