Diversity and Inclusion: Why Both Matter

The working world has changed drastically ever since COVID began. It is important for individuals and organisations to understand the effect that diversity and inclusion has at their workplaces. It is evident that many workplace dynamics remain the same regardless of COVID’s impact, which has not translated well for most women, especially women of colour.

We have summarised 3 incredibly insightful reports from McKinsey & Company and Deloitte. We want to relay how diversity and inclusion can help avoid burnout and increase productivity and growth in any workplace.

To begin, McKinsey & Company released a report titled “Women in the Workplace 2021” that involved 423 participating organisations with more than 65,000 people surveyed on their workplace experiences. 

Study findings:

  • Compared with men at the same level, women are doing more to support their teams and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts during COVID
  • There are just as much microaggressions toward women of colour as there was before COVID 
  • White employees are no more likely than last year to speak out about discrimination or mentor or sponsor women of colour
  • For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are promoted

Although women overall have made advances in their careers, women of colour continue to be left behind at every step in the process. Between the entry level and the C-suite, representation of women of colour drops off by more than 75% (see Exhibit 1 below). As a result, women of colour account for only 4% of C-suite leaders, a number that has not changed significantly in the last 3 years.

Exhibit 1:

Approximately 70% of companies say the work employees do to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion practises is very or extremely critical, and even more say this is accurate of the work managers do to support employee well-being. However, less than a quarter of companies are recognising this work to a substantial extent in formal evaluations such as performance reviews.

A great statement from the report reads: “[Companies] They need to recognise and reward the women leaders who are driving progress. […] They need to do the deep cultural work required to create a workplace where all women feel valued”. In fact, employees with women managers are more likely to say their manager has supported or helped them over the past year (see Exhibit 2).

Exhibit 2:

Another report from McKinsey & Company titled “Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters” looks at data from 15 countries and more than 1,000 large companies. 

The 2019 analysis found that:

  • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the 4th quartile
  • Companies with +30% women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30
  • A significant differential likelihood of outperformance (48%) separates the most from the least gender-diverse companies

The final report conducted by Deloitte in 2019 surveyed more than 4,100 employees in the States about inclusive leadership. The following statistics give enough reason as to why inclusive leadership is so important.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Teams with inclusive leaders are 17% more likely to report that they are high performing
  • 20% more likely to say they make high-quality decisions
  • 29% more likely to report behaving collaboratively
  • A 10% improvement in perceptions of inclusion increases work attendance by almost 1 day a year per employee

From the research gathered, there were 6 distinguishing traits that an inclusive leader has, which include:

  • Visible commitment
  • Humility
  • Awareness of bias
  • Curiosity about others
  • Cultural intelligence
  • Effective collaboration

These reviews of women and inclusivity in the workplace are very insightful and provide the necessary statistics that are eye-opening for several organisations. For suggested actions to take and implement in order to become a more diverse, inclusive organisation, see Exhibit 3.

Exhibit 3:

It is up to individuals and their organisations to initiate changes within, such as promoting more women of colour throughout the pipeline, to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Giving women of colour more opportunities to lead and change the current dynamic post-COVID will allow for personal and professional growth for many. Women will not feel burnt out if they actually enjoy being in their work environment and are recognised for their managing efforts. 

Most importantly, remember to practice leading positive change every day!

Sources & Full Reports: