Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) has been at the forefront of board agendas for several years, and rightly so. Companies who lead the way on EDI are 25%–36% more likely to outperform on profitability. They also have a 20% higher rate of innovation, according to a Boston Consulting Group study.
However, in order to see tangible change, EDI needs to have a targeted strategy. Managers need to know what works, and what does not.
Measuring and monitoring EDI can help leaders effectively create the sustainable change that is crucially needed. McKinsey & Company reported that in 2020 the global market for EDI-related efforts was estimated at $7.5bn, yet at the current rate, it will take another 151 years to close the global economic gender gap.
Leaders need to ensure that long-term plans are put in place to make EDI efforts more sustainable – putting EDI into the day-to-day processes and culture of their organisations is one solution. In order to make those long-term plans, metrics are needed to demonstrate the business case, says Saida Bello CMgr FCMI, director of EDI for the City of London Corporation.
You have to represent people to understand what they need
That is exactly what she did in 2017 when working at Bristol City Council (BCC). “We needed the metrics because we wanted to start the Stepping Up programme (a social enterprise that trains and develops diverse leaders from all protected groups in the Equality Act 2010), but it was going to be at a cost to the Council. So we had to demonstrate the benefits in a business case,” she explains.
Saida, like CMI’s CEO Ann Francke MBE and former home secretary Jacqui Smith, believes that “what gets measured gets done”. This belief underpinned her use of EDI as a business metric to push the strategy forward at the city council. This proved to be successful; the organisation won a transparency award for its 2018 EDI strategy. “As part of the Strategy, representation definitely matters. You have to represent people to understand what they need,” she says.
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