Not only is diversity and inclusion just the right thing to do, the research is clear that a truly diverse and inclusive workforce is more productive, creative and innovative. A strong policy combined with a values culture can result in all colleagues feeling more included and valued and ultimately results in better staff retention. This in turn impacts how much money a business makes.
The bottom line is that diversity and inclusion impacts, and can be used to improve a business's bottom line.
At DWF we have clear diversity and inclusion targets. We want to recruit, build, retain and promote a truly diverse and inclusive workforce. To do this everyone at DWF has a part to play.
I encountered a wonderful example of why diversity and inclusion matters on a recent trip to my local Waitrose to collect a parcel. Whilst I was waiting I was flicking through the pages of the Observer and chatting to the customer services partner, Brian, (at a social distance, of course!). When my parcel was ready, Brian, handed me a copy of the Sunday Times and proudly said: "This is on us! It has a cracking read in it." Brian proceeded to proudly point to the front page cover of the magazine which heralded a photo of Sharon White, Britain's most high profile black business woman and the new chairman of John Lewis, bearing the headline "Can this woman save John Lewis?"
Brian grinned and said: "It has been a long time coming! This woman is just what we need. She ticks all my boxes – I just don't know what her politics are yet but I bet I can guess!" he finished this statement with a chuckle.
I was, of course, delighted both by my customer experience and by the conversation that followed. It made my day and the pride with which Brian spoke about his place of work was palpable. It was clear that this shift in culture at board level and the potential impact on the business was tangible for Brian and he was delivering that message to customers with great enthusiasm.
The article itself was interesting with Sharon White stating that John Lewis "must shout about their values without being woke", she has no time for 'virtue signalling' and declaring that she does not feel that labels like BAME are meaningful.
This sums up, for me, why diversity and inclusion is so important to our business. It has the ability to take everyone on that journey of change. You need to see what you want to be.
We are striving to build a business that everyone feels proud to be a part of. I hope that as we continue to take steps to meet our first set of diversity and inclusion targets (and then push on further) that we can all be as proud as Brian.