The importance of inclusivity was the first point of discussion for IQ-EQ’s most recent Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) steering committee.
The discussion was prompted by a talk we had with Andrew Keating, CFO at Musgrave and former CFO at the Bank of Ireland. Andrew played a key role in leading efforts to build a more inclusive, equal and diverse culture, but with a leading focus on inclusion.
In our recent employee engagement survey, one of the key findings was that our people want a unified internal culture, offering a sense of belonging in an environment that allows us to be authentically who we are. In line with this, we’ve taken the step to have ‘inclusion’ at the front and centre of everything we do as a Group in our DE&I campaigns.
But why? What difference can it make to our employees and our wider business when we focus on the ‘I’ in DE&I?
Inclusion is key to organisational growth
IQ-EQ now represents 85 nationalities with 41 languages spoken across 37 offices. We are growing – not just in client numbers and mandate values, but in employees too. Last year alone we jumped from a workforce of 4,000 to 4,750+. As we open offices in new locations, such as the UAE, it’s more important than ever that we prioritise inclusion above all else.
Not only does inclusion have the power to bring together a diverse and fast-growing global organisation, it’s critical to employee retention and satisfaction. For example, providing an inclusive workspace for employees can reduce stereotypes and mitigate against bias. What’s more, companies with an inclusive, diverse workforce earn a 47% higher rate of return on equity compared to companies who trail behind in this regard.
Khalil Smith wrote for Forbes: “diversity is counting heads and inclusion is making heads count.” Diversity in a growing organisation is undeniable and inevitable, but inclusivity is the key to breaking down barriers for internal success. By making inclusivity the focus of our campaign, we recognise that yes, we should be diverse, but we should also be ensuring our diversity is inclusive and equitable.
Providing clear objectives
Focusing on inclusion in our DE&I campaign reinvents our key business objectives both internally and externally. We need to ensure meaningful consistency to hold ourselves to account and provide clear objectives of how we can be and do better as an organisation.
The phrase “DE&I” might be a popular acronym when discussing inclusion and diversity, but we need to understand each meaning behind the phrase to understand the impact it has on our own unique business.
As a diverse company, we’re actively taking steps to ensure we’re inclusive and provide equal opportunities. We’re taking measures to ensure IQ-EQ has a credible, inclusive, equitable reputation among both prospective employees and clients. For example, our enhanced focus on community initiatives and sustainability is underpinned by a Group-wide ESG framework. We’re also developing innovative and robust employee learning and development programmes to help our people to see and achieve their full potential.
Listen to people, give them a voice
I mentioned earlier our employee engagement survey, where we proactively seek the views of our people and listen to what they have to say to guide our steps forward. The idea of listening is one that Kay Allen from Charlotte Sweeney Associates promoted in her ‘Diversity Matters’ webinar during our internal Sustainability Week last year. Kay challenged us to “hear the voice of our employees”. To listen, to share experiences, and to engage everyone. These are all key characteristics of being inclusive; a cornerstone of creating a unified culture with a sense of belonging.
Ultimately, we want to encourage a transformative culture at IQ-EQ that embraces change, encourages growth and includes everyone. By leading with inclusion, we keep our employees and their place in society at the front of our campaign. It might be a small step, but it’s one change that sends a powerful and clear message of what our brand represents.