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CBI: the business case for an inclusive workforce

Inclusive workplaces and effective staff engagement will boost the country’s economy as well as creating better places for work according to the Confederation of British Business (CBI). In a new report, CBI backs diverse and inclusive workplaces

Time for Action: The Business Case for Inclusive Workplaces the CBI defines inclusion as: “an approach to running organisations which focuses on ensuring that every aspect of the business – from its leadership and management, to its workplace policies – contributes to helping employees perform at their best.”

The CBI’s report suggests that investment in training of staff and improved employee engagement would provide a boost to productivity and performance is an area of weakness in the UK economy. Research by McKinsey has found that firms with the highest levels of gender and ethnic diversity are 15% to 35% more likely to outperform their rivals.  The CBI also cites research by Deloitte which shows that inclusive and diverse workplaces are associated with higher individual performance because more engaged employees better able to innovate.

Inclusion for Performance

Maximising workforce potential needs action from both government and business according to the CBI. Government needs to address attainment gaps that exist as children are growing up, while businesses needed to ensure workplaces benefit from better employee relations so that every employee is supported to perform at their best and no group or individual is unfairly disadvantaged. “As businesses, we need to be at the forefront of developing solutions, because things which are rooted in workplace practice are likely to be more effective and more relevant than ideas imposed from outside”  the CBI said.

CBI President Paul Drechsler

CBI President Paul Drechsler

Speaking at the Engage for Success Conference in London CBI President Paul Drechsler said: “Inclusive workplaces give firms the chance to get ahead of their competitors by making better decisions, through diverse teams which draw on a wider range of ideas and experiences. Companies that place inclusion at their heart are better able to secure the skills that their competitors miss out on and better able to keep the people their competitors lose.

“Inclusion isn’t a minority issue, it’s a majority issue that can benefit all people and all firms. Ultimately, every employee can benefit from more flexible working and better decision-making. This is the real business case for inclusion and making progress means asking fundamental questions about how we work.

Business, Investors and Society

The CBI makes the point that businesses are connected to the wider society and improving inclusion is the right thing to do to support the success of society. At the same time when employees are able to engage and innovate they will contribute to better performing UK companies which is good for investors too which is increasingly recognised by investor groups such as the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association. PLSA has been at the forefront of demanding better reporting on human capital by investee firms. As reported in June 2016, the Valuing Your Talent partnership of UK accounting groups suggested that inadequate reporting by FTSE 100 companies is creating a clear risk to investors and other stakeholders.

What do you think?