Diversity and Inclusion across Leadership
The world around us is rapidly changing – a fact that has never been so evident than in the first half of 2020. These past few months, COVID-19 has habitually been the first and last thing on everyone’s lips, on every media channel, and in every social media post. Humankind rushed to adapt to social distancing measures, working from home procedures and country flight bans, despite a world that until recently was progressively moving towards global interconnectivity. Yet, whilst COVID-19 threatened the wellbeing of every person around the globe, concurrently a stronger movement arose which saw large numbers of people ignoring social distancing protocol to protest for justice for George Floyd and for progression towards acceptance of diversity.
Whilst the calls for diversity and inclusion can not in the least bit be considered recent ones, they are now imminent. As many companies have been forced to do when faced with a global pandemic, organisations must now do their part too and adapt once again, this time to inclusivity. Doing so would not only take a stand against racial, as well as gender, sexual orientation and religious bias, but would, in turn, push forward productivity and stability to their business in an otherwise uncertain world to fortify itself against future crises.
But stability begins with leadership. A 2019 study by Russell Reynolds Associates examines four key characteristics an inclusive leader must foster in order to fulfil that role and achieve optimum performance from their staff. Put simply these qualities include Clarity, Accountability, Empowerment (to others) and Promoting Innovation. As the cultural and biometric makeup of their employees grows more and more diverse, leaders must be able to communicate with individuals from all walks of life if they are to optimise performance and enhance the growth of their business.
Diversity and inclusion across leadership would mean that, at management level, businesses would be able to manage and understand the varied perspectives their employees would bring to the company. Communication is key, and not being able to communicate with staff for whatever the reason would put at risk the job satisfaction of their team, and in turn, reduce productivity and loyalty towards the company. According to the Russell Reynolds Associates study, over 93% of employees who had a leader with inclusive behaviour said that the leader made them want to stay with the firm as opposed to 25% of employees whose leader did not exhibit such traits.
Putting this into perspective, a company that cannot communicate with its staff and win over their loyalty, will likewise not be able to create brand loyalty with its customers and the emotional bond necessary to remain relevant in this everchanging world. Keeping in mind that customers are more likely to gravitate towards brands with similar values as themselves, it is important for businesses to harmonise with the beliefs of their upcoming clients, a younger and more diverse generation with an open attitude towards diversity.
Yet, diversity is not just necessary at leadership level but across the firm, as a diverse team would contribute to a variety of opinions, choices and decisions and in turn propel innovation within a firm. A diverse team would help bring out any gaps in the system and identify and misgivings consequently strengthening operations and increasing expertise.
Diversity across leadership is key to obtaining quantifiable results, to committing to improving both working and customer relations, as well as to reinforcing the importance of empowering both its staff and clientele.
The world is not changing in a vacuum but the world we do business in is changing with it. With the present at heart and the future in mind, we move towards this new type of leadership. And whilst the past few months have been dominated with calls for self-isolation, John Donne was right to say way back in 1624 that ‘No man is an island’. This highlights the importance of inclusivity, which although has been brought to the surface now more than ever, has been with us longer than any of us each remember.
Leaders who are inclusive know that their employees are their most important asset, and making them feel included and protected is a key element in any business. Investing in an equal Employee Benefits Insurance Package for all of your team, no matter their ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation or religion, can help to reinforce the notion of inclusivity and appreciation of loyalty. Learn more about Laferla’s Group Health Insurance, Group Life Insurance, and Group Personal Accident Insurance options here.