Lisa Smith

D&I Leaders Global Summit: Survey & Key Takeaways


This week saw a wonderful grouping of the world’s leading diversity & inclusion and HR professionals come together in central London, all hoping to gain actionable insight, inspiration and accelerate their workplace d&i strategy. Read on to find out some of the day's most pressing takeaways.


D&I Leaders Global Summit logo with Texthelper standing at the side

This week saw a wonderful grouping of the world’s leading diversity & inclusion and HR professionals come together in central London, all hoping to gain actionable insight, inspiration and accelerate their workplace D&I strategy.

With 40+ global D&I experts speaking from companies such as Mars, Ikea, HSBC, Rolls Royce and many more, there was a wealth of incredible insights and best practice advice shared. Luckily, our Texthelpers were on hand to report back on some of the overriding themes, guidance and revelations that made an impact on us at D&I Leaders Global Forum 2020.

Our Survey

On the day you may have seen us milling about the networking areas, asking as many D&I / HR leaders as we could to complete our short survey. We were keen to hear from the best and brightest on what their current D&I priorities are, what challenges they were experiencing and to hear more about their plans for the future. Some of the most interesting results were:
  • 50% of respondents say attracting new staff is one of the main goals of their D&I program

  • 64% of respondents say supporting existing staff is one of the main goals of their D&I program

  • Only 17% of respondents mentioned compliance and legislative obligations as one of their main goals/ drivers.

  • Only 12% mentioned disability when asked about their top three D&I priorities. 35% mentioned gender

The three main challenges faced were getting real senior buy-in or commitment from board / management, time and resource restrictions, and difficulties caused by a widespread / global workforce.

Key Takeaways

Diversity and Inclusion has never been so important

It seems that D&I is gaining traction and everyone is pushing for companies to put and keep D&I at the top of their corporate agendas. 

Jennifer Pyne, Brand Director for Radley Yeldar insisted that D&I has shifted from being a ‘nice to have’ to becoming a ‘business essential.’ She revealed that 57% of people think their company should be doing more to increase diversity and discussed the fact that Goldman Sachs recently announced that the investment bank will no longer take a company public unless said company has at least one “diverse” board member.

Birgit Neu, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at HSBC commented that government bodies, regulators and investors are scrutinizing company data for evidence of D&I progression and as a result, Sarah Churchman OBE Chief Inclusion, Community & Wellbeing Officer at PwC UK is feeling optimistic about the future and remarked that ‘the stars are finally aligning...and cultures are really changing.”

Inclusion Nudges

Lisa Kepinski, founder of the Inclusion Institute, talked about using the concept of Inclusion Nudges as a way to achieve real behavioral change. Think of every person as having two brain systems. System one is the “fast brain” and system two  is the “slow brain”. The fast brain roughly equates to the unconscious mind and drives 95 per cent of behavior. The Slow Brain is very different and takes care of the conscious, painful, time-consuming processes. As clever as the slow brain can be, research shows that the fast brain easily dominates it. 

In order to really make a difference in our organizations we need to nudge the unconscious ‘fast’ brain where the majority of our thinking happens. We need to appeal to people’s emotional side and present the human face of the issues.

Maria Kokkinou Global Head of Talent for Rolls Royce explains how she achieves this, by steering away from D&I cliches and polished presentations, assets and plans. Instead she has found that she generates more engagement both internally and externally by using authentic user generated videos and stories from real life employees. The 'People Like Me’ initiative has been particularly successful and sees the company posting monthly stories from team members, covering topics such as adoption, being a single parent and coming out at work.

Birgit Neu told a similar story and revealed that a video HSBC produced for World Autism Week has been the highest performing video of all time across their channels, wracking up more than 20,000 views to date.

Make the most of data

Birgit Neu also spoke about HSBC’s 'Global Approach to Disability Inclusion' and remarked that, for her team, "data and reporting are key." The company uses data on their teams, employees, systems and policies to guide their work and identify problems and potential challenges. 

Graham Sparks, former chief D&I officer at Shell, used the data at his fingertips to make the business case for D&I to senior teams and to obtain real commitment and buy-in. He said: "We took good analytical data and made the case that teams that were more inclusive had better engagement and were more safe."

Sarah Churchman OBE, HR Director at PWC and UK Lead on Diversity & Inclusion, revealed that her team are keen to make maximum impact in all their activities and so fully utilize the data within the company to prioritize their areas of focus.

Small changes can make a big impact

You can’t change the world overnight and a company can’t launch a D&I strategy and expect to create the perfectly inclusive organization quickly. But Rosanna Durruthy, Vice President, Global Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging LinkedIn, was keen to point out that small steps can take us a long way, which is why Linkedin has launched its Plus One Pledge Campaign. It’s well known that the right referral and industry contacts can have a huge impact on an employee’s career trajectory. Because of that, Linkedin’s D&I team are urging members to share their time, talent, or connections with just one person outside their normal network, in the hope that they help to create more diverse workforces with a better mix of experience and skills.

During his session on micro incivilities, leading Business Psychologist Binna Kandola spoke about how subtle behaviors in the workplace can have a significant impact on the workforce. His three recommendations may seem simple but research suggests that they can make all the difference. They are: Look at someone when you speak, listen with respect using eye contact and validate who had the idea.

If you’d like to learn more about how our technology solutions can help make that happen, or how they can fit into your organization’s reasonable adjustments planning, simply get in touch for a free trial!

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