21 August, 2017

Diversity … we have a problem?

This year’s Leadership 10,000 has taken thousands of hours to prepare but will it make any difference?

For over a decade, Green Park has been helping organisations think differently about talent, succession planning and promoting the full human capital life cycle. Although there are successes, sometimes I wonder if we are actually dealing with organisations that have group-think so ingrained in their cultures that they will never recognise the need for sustainable change?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud to be a campaigner and follow in the footsteps of the inspirational REALmodels* who have taught me, inspired me and continue to do so. But I’m also a student of the modern era and the volume of fake diversity news being pushed to build fake brand promises from external head-hunters and poorly informed internal  HR / D&I  generalists into our leading organisations currently is unnerving.

Today’s changing market and social factors should be creating a profound impact on employers, forcing them to have to listen to and co-create solutions with their employees and customers to battle the danger of obsolescence and strengthen trust but still so many don’t recognise the urgent need to do so now.

Without the collective voices of employees and customers competing with the demands of fresh regulation and institutional investors, the need to diversify and maintain demographic relevance will at best continue to be superficially governed by Boards with little more impact than the short spikes of success this ‘one diversity box at a time’ approach is delivering.

We have already begun to see the first signs of these temporary successes in this year’s report with data showing that despite ethnic minority diversification is finally moving forward, gender diversity is actually now moving backwards. Inclusion cannot be delivered one cause at a time.

Does the UK currently lack the strategic and technical competence to tackle holistic diversity? Given the plethora of brilliant minds I’ve met over the years, no. But what does seem to be becoming increasingly apparent is that due to a lack of value seen in sustainably inviting equally capable diverse minds to the top table, our leading organisations still just don’t seem very eager to implement compound cultural change. Well, that’s what the numbers suggest anyway…

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