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Why inclusion and diversity are good for business

8 March is International Women’s Day. This year we look at the reasons why having an inclusive workplace contributes to businesses’ innovation and profitability.  

The FCA has said, “Firms’ culture and governance is pivotal to building public trust and confidence in the UK’s financial services industry, both domestically and internationally.”

But how does one build a good culture in the workplace?  What separates a merely “good” place to work, with somewhere great?

One way to facilitate good culture is by having a diverse and inclusive workforce. 

There is a saying, “You can’t be it if you can’t see it”, meaning that role models are necessary for others to see what is achievable.  Senior colleagues who are members of communities that are underrepresented in financial services – such as women, people from cultural or ethnic minorities, disabled people, openly LGBTQ+ and other minorities – often act as role models for current and prospective employees.

Greater senior leadership diversity is correlated with better financial performance. Research by McKinsey has shown that there is a significant correlation between having diverse leadership and financial outperformance.  For instance, companies in the upper quartile for gender diversity in their executive teams were 25% more likely to have profitability that was above average, when compared to companies in the bottom quartile. For ethnic and cultural diversity, this figure was even higher, at 36%.

A study by the Boston Consulting Group found that companies with above-average diversity in their leadership teams also reported greater innovation, along with improved financial performance. The study considered six different types of diversity, with the biggest gains being where the leadership team had diversity of national origin, range of industry backgrounds, gender, and career experiences.

If equality, diversity, and inclusion is to have any traction, it cannot be seen as a “add on” or a tick box exercise for Human Resources.  It must be a priority which is embedded throughout the organisation. And at Gore Street it is.  

Gore Street’s Head of Compliance and ESG commented: “Equality, diversity, and inclusion are part of our DNA, not because it is a regulatory expectation, but because it is who we are. Our senior management team is composed of individuals from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and around half of our colleagues are women. Firms, not only in the finance sector but across industries, should normalise an inclusive and diverse workplace.  This will benefit us all.”