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Diversity is no longer a ‘soft’ issue

Iain Anderson, Executive Chairman, Cicero Group, was recently named as one of 2016’s Leading 100 LGBT Executives by OUTstanding, an award supported by the FT. To mark the occasion Iain writes for Influence on how diversity has moved up the corporate agenda.

The diversity and inclusion agenda has been around for a while and organisations have been publishing their ‘values’ towards this just nicely.

We’ve seen written diversity mission statements bandied around business in abundance. Morally we are all in agreement (or so the mission statements seem to suggest) it is the right thing to do. But the question now is how do we translate this into reality and actively drive these values harder.

More than ever before we are hearing and seeing first-hand how diversity makes real business sense; statistics are showing us the positive, measurable impacts a diverse workforce has on the bottom line.

People are wising up, put simply; they will not engage with organisations that are not taking responsibility seriously. This public empowerment is allowing boards to bring the discussion to the top of their table– finally!

Increasingly we are seeing clients asking us what we are doing to ensure our workplaces are diverse. We are seeing talented Gen Y’s coming to work for us attracted to a socially responsible and diverse organisation.

We are being asked, quite bluntly, where the diversity is on our speaker panels and on our executive boards. We are being asked where our role models are and where the diversity is in our future leadership talent pipelines. The agenda can no longer be pushed to one side as a ‘soft’ issue.

The rhetoric businesses are publishing on ‘values’ is simply no longer enough. The city is calling for far more observable nudges which challenge and stretch businesses diversity agenda hard.

At Cicero, we are flinging our doors wide open. We want people from all walks of life to join us in our journey; we want to allow everyone to flourish in a happy, welcoming and inclusive environment.

We want to celebrate the collaboration of individuality. But we know it isn’t just enough to say this. We are providing visible role models, setting ourselves difficult targets and uniting with others in the industry and government. Not just to create noise but because only big nudges are necessary now.

Image courtesy of wikimedia

Posted in Diversity, Editor's Picks, Public Relations

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