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The nine ‘levers’ to pull if you’re serious about inclusion

The dynamics around inclusion are a crucial differentiator for companies

Source | | Angela Peacock

The dynamics around inclusion are a crucial differentiator for companies – and early signs suggest that the COVID-19 crisis could deepen those trends, according to a recent McKinsey report. The management consultancy says companies that already see inclusion and diversity as a strength are likely to leverage it to bounce back faster – and they will use the pandemic to seek new opportunities to boost representation and inclusion to strengthen performance and organizational health.

It was back in 2004 that we were first able to prove that, if you had more than 32% of women in the top three layers of your organization, you would have better financial results. Except those figures have made little difference. Although in some pockets we’ve moved forward – painfully slowly – it’s not nearly enough. At the current rate of progress with inclusion, it won’t be our daughters who stand the same chance as our sons of being the next CEOs. It won’t even be our granddaughters. It will be our great-granddaughters who finally stand the same chance as our great-grandsons.

There are many inclusion ‘levers’ that we talk about implementing, but unless we implement them all together, and at the same time, we scupper any effects that the work we’re doing might have. You can’t be a little bit pregnant – just like you can’t do a little bit of inclusion. You’re either doing this work and pulling the levers or you’re playing at it. Here are the 9 levers you need to pull if you’re serious about inclusion:

1. Watch your language

It’s important to be clear about what the terms diversity and inclusion actually mean and what they do – and look at the separate effects of each of them on your business. Diversity is something that, if it were possible to ask – and people were willing to share – could be measured. In other words, you could put a number to it. Inclusion is about creating an environment where everyone with the capability to excel can do so.

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